15+ GoFundMe Statistics to Restore Your Faith in Humanity
Updated · Mar 04, 2023
Billions of people around the globe use the internet, and a portion of them actively help the world to become a better place.
Over 100 million use GoFundMe, donating to causes they believe in and supporting people to realize their projects and dreams.
Still, not everyone receives the help they need. Although residents of almost any country on the planet can donate to the fundraiser of their choosing, people from only 19 countries can set up campaigns on the platform.
If you’re interested in some more curious GoFundMe statistics, make sure to read on.
Key Info on GoFundMe Users and Campaigns (Editor’s Choice):
- GoFundMe campaigns have raised a collective $15 billion since 2010.
- Only about 12% of health-related fundraisers reach their goals on GoFundMe.
- Medical campaigns raised just $2 billion in five years (2016-2020), falling $6.45 billion short of their goal.
- The most generous person on the site made 434 donations in 2021 alone.
- GoFundMe saw an average of one donation per second throughout 2021.
- Baby Azaylia received 100,000+ donations in a single day.
- In 2017, a fake GoFundMe campaign scammed people out of $400,000.
- Fewer than 0.1% of GoFundMe campaigns are scams.
- People in the US donated $25 million to build the wall at the border with Mexico.
The History of GoFundMe
Throughout its 14-year-long journey, GoFundMe has undergone several transformations but, most importantly, it has achieved much—both in the way of turning a profit and helping people.
We’ll let the numbers speak for themselves.
1. Two first-time entrepreneurs launched GoFundMe in 2008.
When GoFundMe was founded in 2008, it was called CreateAFund. Brad Damphousse and Andy Ballester worked on it together, the ambitious platform being their first foray into entrepreneurship.
They didn’t have too easy of a time at first since they chose to use PayPal as a payment processor—but PayPal didn’t support splitting transactions back then, which meant they couldn’t extract fees.
The good news is that they didn’t have to worry about repaying a business loan, as the startup was self-funded. The bad news, of course, was that GoFundMe’s revenue was zero, and they were keeping the company running completely out of pocket.
After a couple of years, though, they rebranded the website as GoFundMe and switched over to WePay.
Fun fact: GoFundMe succeeded against the odds. Statistically speaking, the startups of first-time entrepreneurs only have an 18% chance of survival.
2. GoFundMe campaigns have raised a total of $17 billion.
When GoFundMe first started operating, it was nowhere nearly as large as it is today. In fact, the platform’s first cumulative billion dollars in donations happened in 2015.
Since then, though, GoFundMe users have grown in number—and perhaps in generosity, too. By 2021, it’d raised a combined $15 billion since its inception. As of mid-2022, this figure’s gone up to an estimated $17 billion.
In other words, it took GoFundMe seven years to raise $1 billion dollars, but then it went on to raise $16 billion over the next seven years. That’s what we call growth.
3. The most generous person on GoFundMe made 434 donations in 2021.
Who is the most generous person in the world?
Bill Gates, probably, if we were to quantify generosity in terms of annual donations to charitable causes. But you know what they say: not all heroes wear capes.
As far as GoFundMe is concerned, the most generous person is the one who made 1,200 donations over the last decade (2011-2020). If you do the math, that’s an average of 10 donations per month.
But they—whoever that person is—are certainly not the only generous soul who are competing for the title. There’s someone who made 434 donations in 2021 alone—that’s more than one donation for every day of the year!
Unfortunately, the report GoFundMe published didn’t go into any details, so we can’t say how much each donation was worth or which causes they supported. Regardless, we at Web Tribunal can only admire them for their dedication and hope they’ll break their own record this year.
Fun fact: Overall, the US was the most generous country in the world in 2020, as people raised over $73 billion on a variety of crowdfunding platforms. However, if we focus only on GoFundMe, then the title of the most-giving nation goes to Ireland, which has taken the first spot on the list for three years in a row.
4. In 2021, GoFundMe recorded an average of one donation per second.
2021 was the year of pandemic donations. Despite the hardships that we all experienced, people didn’t lose their kind hearts and flocked to help millions of fellow humans at a (collective) rate of one donation per second.
GoFundMe wrapped up 2021 with a total of 31.5 million donations which equated to at least $150 million. But that’s just the minimum, the actual amount is likely over $1 billion, as most people donate more than just the lowest allowed ($5). In fact, 30% of donations surpass $50.
Fun fact: GoFundMe users sent and received over 15 million thank you messages in 2021.
5. GoFundMe boasts a community of 100 million users.
Raising billions of dollars through donations that happen every second is no easy feat, and it would be nigh impossible without an extensive community.
Luckily, GoFundMe has one—as of 2022, it boasts over 100 million users. Most of them, of course, are donors, supporting hundreds of thousands of people who need it.
Fun fact: Approximately one-third of the users are repeat donors—that is, they make more than one donation.
Best GoFundMe Campaigns
Even if you’ve never been on GoFundMe, you’ve probably heard of it.
Every now and then, a fundraiser will skyrocket in popularity and attract thousands upon thousands of donations, generating millions of dollars. All the mainstream media will then remark on it, garnering further attention.
Here are some of GoFundMe’s success stories.
6. The baby Azaylia campaign raised over 100,000 donations in a day.
One of the top GoFundMe campaigns of 2021 was run on behalf of a baby who suffered from a particularly vicious form of acute myeloid leukemia.
After undergoing multiple rounds of chemotherapy, the then-seven-month-old’s only chance of survival was an extremely expensive procedure that could only be performed in Singapore.
On March 28, more than 100,000 people donated a cumulative £1.65 million ($1.9 million), making it the most generous day of 2021 by far, according to GoFundMe statistics.
Sadly, money alone was insufficient to save the baby’s life. Azaylia passed away less than a month later.
7. The “We Build the Wall” campaign raised $25 million.
(Source: Vanity Fair)
You may remember former President Donald Trump talking about building a wall during his election campaign and thereafter. This idea of his prompted the creation of one of the highest-earning GoFundMe pages to date.
Steve Bannon, President Trump’s former counselor, launched the crowdfunding campaign in 2018 in a bid to collect $1 billion. That never happened, but the campaign did reach $25 million, which makes it the second most successful in the history of GoFundMe. The amount was enough to build a three-mile-long stretch of the wall.
Fun fact: This particular campaign garnered a lot of media attention—not just because of its purpose or how much money people contributed to it, but because the masterminds behind it were accused of committing fraud. In 2022, they finally admitted to diverting around $1 million for personal use.
8. Leonardo DiCaprio’s food fund raised over $45.1 million.
Leonardo DiCaprio—together with Laurene Powell Jobs, Apple, and the Ford Foundation—started what would become the biggest GoFundMe ever in April 2020.
Its aim was to ensure that every person in the US had access to food during the pandemic. The campaign ran for two years, raising a total of $41,155,500. Doesn’t that warm your heart and restore your faith in humanity at least a little bit?
The fundraiser worked with several nonprofit organizations, such as World Central Kitchen and Feeding America, which provided food donations during COVID for those in need.
Alarming fact: 12 million children in the US don’t have access to enough good, healthy food. Black and Native American children, specifically, have a higher risk of food insecurity, as they have higher poverty rates than other races (28% and 25%, respectively).
Use and Misuse of GoFundMe
GoFundMe is a platform meant for good—a place where charitable people convene to aid those seeking help.
Unfortunately, as is often the case in such instances, there are unscrupulous scoundrels who don’t hesitate to cheat everyone else. There have been such occurrences on GoFundMe, though, luckily, relatively few.
We’ll look at the good and bad below.
9. In 2017, a fake GoFundMe campaign scammed people out of $400,000.
Here’s a good example of a GoFundMe fundraiser gone very wrong.
In 2017, Katelyn McClure and her boyfriend made a GoFundMe page on behalf of a homeless man that had allegedly given them his last $20 for gas when they were stranded on a highway. So, they wanted to reward him for his good deed and asked for donations.
However, it turned out that the homeless man in question was actually their partner in crime. When the campaign raised over $400,000 ($376,000 net after fees), they gave him $75,000 and then bought a BMW, Louis Vuitton handbags, and went to various casinos to gamble the remainder of the money.
Eventually, they were caught and sentenced to a few years in prison. They also had to pay back all the 14,000 GoFundMe users they mulcted.
10. Luckily, fewer than 0.1% of GoFundMe campaigns are scams.
If the previous stat made you rethink whether you should donate, then allow us to assuage your fears in this one.
While it’s true that there’s the occasional scam on the platform, this is not a common occurrence. GoFundMe statistics indicate that just 0.1% of campaigns are fake—i.e., there’s a one-in-one-thousand chance of falling for a scam.
In other words, you could help 999 people who are genuinely in need before meeting a swindler—and even then, fraudsters often get busted and (are forced to) return the money, so you’re unlikely to lose anything.
11. About 12% of health-related GoFundMe campaigns reach their goals.
Using GoFundMe for medical bills has become something of a norm in the US. Due to the lack of universal healthcare and often exorbitant medical expenses, few people can afford to pay the costs outright.
In an effort to avoid both death and debt, people turn to fundraising. Unfortunately, 88% of campaigns of this nature fail to meet their goal. Worse yet, 16% end up entirely empty-handed—they don’t attract even one single donation.
12. Medical campaigns on GoFundMe raised $2 billion.
GoFundMe statistics show that over the last five years, 21.7 million Good Samaritans donated a total of $2 billion to medical campaigns—which is awesome.
It would be more awesome if those $2 billion were enough, though.
The medical campaigns in question had intended to collect a combined $8.45 billion. In other words, the overwhelming majority of those in need of medical care (equivalent to $6.45 billion) likely failed to get it funded.
13. The amount medical campaigns raise has gone down 15 times in five years.
As medical fundraisers have started trending on GoFundMe, the amount each of them raises has gone down significantly.
In 2016, the median amount of money they’d raise was $4,150; in 2020, it was just $265. That’s 15 times lower. Moreover, success rates tumbled, too, falling from 16.8% to just 7.8%.
The reasons for this change have to do mostly with the sheer number of medical campaigns on the platform nowadays. Donors haven’t become less generous—there are simply far too many people asking for help.
Specifically, there were 37,824 health-related campaigns in 2016 and 196,955 in 2020. That’s five times as many.
The crowdfunding industry is hardly an adequate replacement for a fair healthcare system, after all.
Whereas all medical campaigns on GoFundMe received at least some donations in 2016 and 2017, only 66.2% did in 2020—a third of them raised exactly $0, leaving the people who launched them right where they started.
How Does GoFundMe Make Money?
Charitable deeds don’t come free—certainly not in the case of a for-profit company like GoFundMe, of course, but not in the case of proper charities, either.
There’s something called “charitable commitment,” which is the percentage of resources that goes to the actual cause. Watchdogs consider anything above 65% fair, leaving the remaining percentage available to cover various costs.
So, yeah, all organizations (even charitable ones) need money to keep on operating—so they take it. Now, let’s see how much GoFundMe gets.
14. GoFundMe dropped its 5% fee in 2017.
Does GoFundMe take a cut from donations?
Yes. Despite GoFundMe’s particularly charitable inclinations, it itself is hardly a charity. It’s very much a for-profit business, and it operates as one.
That said, things are actually better now. From its inception and up until 2017, the platform charged a mandatory 5% fee whenever somebody launched a fundraiser. Now, there’s a voluntary tipping system instead, which means users can allocate an additional 0%-25% if they want to support the platform directly.
That said, the percentage GoFundMe takes for payment processing hasn’t changed—it’s 2.9% of any donation plus $0.30. Kickstarter, for comparison, takes a fixed 5% cut of any donation plus a 3%-5% payment processing fee.
15. Charities are subject to a reduced 2.2% processing fee.
There are two kinds of fundraisers one can create on GoFundMe: an individual fundraiser or a charity fundraiser. The latter refers to a campaign that’s intended to raise money to support an official charity (such as DiCaprio’s food fund).
As a small bonus, GoFundMe charity fees are lower than standard fees. Instead of charging 2.9% for payment processing, the website only takes a 2.2% cut plus the usual $0.30.
The static $0.30 charge means that it’s more effective to send a single large donation rather than several smaller ones.
As you now know, GoFundMe’s fees are much lower than that, so the platform it’s charitable enough in our book.
Finally, there are two things we hope our list of GoFundMe statistics will accomplish—appease your fears about scammers and urge you to donate some more to those who are in need.
A wayfarer by heart, Jordan fancies journeying into foreign lands with a camera in hand almost as much as he enjoys roving the online world. He spends his time poking at letters and pixels, trying to transmogrify them into something cool.