GoFundMe CEO Wants You To Ask: ‘How Can I Help?’
Do you have any conflicts about GoFundMe being a for-profit corporation?
In fact, I think that being for profit is what enables us to do what we do and make such a great platform, because we have to run a global, world class platform service. We have to keep on developing. We have to keep on offering new features. We really need to think about the trust and safety side of our business. We have to manage all the payments. So having a for-profit gives us the ability to hire great people and compete with other tech companies for those people and compensate them, but it also has a purpose in being able to say, I’m in a company like that. I am doing work that is doing really important work in this world.
What are you doing to reduce the incidents of fraud and abuse on the platform?
We live in a society of human beings, and most people are good and have no ill intentions. There are some people who do not have good intentions, but this applies to all those who run a large consumer business or even a small business. You may have someone try to pick something up from your shop. So it just tells me that we see human nature, nothing more.
How we deal with it is a mix of technology, looking for certain signals and flags. And we’ve been doing it for 11 years, so we haven’t seen everything under the sun. And then there’s a trust and safety team that is very well trained and has a really good playbook for what to look for.
How do you make sure the money is actually used effectively? And how do you judge it?
Our job is to ensure that the money reaches the right beneficiary. We’ve put a lot of work into verification that this is the person it was intended to be at the end of the day. Once they have that money, it’s their money, and they can choose. So we have no way to use debit card or credit card to spend money. It’s very rare that we hear someone doing something completely out of reservation. But at the end of the day, it’s their money.
Would the world be a better place if GoFundMe didn’t need to exist in the first place?
No, life happens and it has good and bad parts. A fundamental part of being human is wanting to have it all together. that never goes. And we are a place where people come together and help each other. None of us can go through life on our own.
How has the way people used the site changed during the pandemic?
In the first phase there were things like PPE, people did not have face masks. The medical workers did not have gloves etc. Everything was running out. Then you started seeing lockdowns and therefore countless campaigns for small businesses, for their employees. This wasn’t new for GoFundMe, but the scale was completely different. And then since people were out of work for a long time, they demanded more rent relief and things like that. With the killing of George Floyd, we saw a lot of activity related to the social justice movement.
But since the middle of last year, all of that seems to be diminishing and a more normal life is coming. We have seen weddings, we have seen animals, we have seen honeymoon. We saw a one-of-a-kind campaign for the U.S. men’s bobsled team to raise $100,000 to help them, you know, get ready and go to the Winter Olympics. All the things you can imagine, humans are moving on with their lives.