A Catalyst for Kindness: Turning to GoFundMe After Tragedy

What do you do after a tragedy? How do you process the confusion, the grief, the feelings of powerlessness?

Even a short amount of time on the GoFundMe platform helps you understand one of the most primal urges after disaster or violence strikes: the impulse to help as quickly as possible. And because we know just how strong that need to help is, we at GoFundMe strive every day to be the catalyst of extraordinary kindness and selflessness in the face of loss and pain.

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Sparked by tragedies with international reach, two GoFundMe campaigns in the last few weeks have become the largest in the platform’s history: Equality Florida’s campaign for the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, and the campaign set up in honor of the slain British MP Jo Cox.

More than 100,000 people from 120 countries around the world stood with the Orlando victims by giving to the campaign set up just hours after the shooting. Nearly 50,000 honored the memory of Jo Cox by donating to the campaign for the causes closest to her heart. In both cases, people helped in record time, in record amounts.

It’s a powerful reminder that, when there’s a tragedy, people need a place they can always turn to give help, comfort, and community. We all need something to do, some way to take action when feelings of helplessness threaten to take over. This is exactly what country superstar Brad Paisley did when devastating floods hit his home state of West Virginia, and so far his flood relief campaign has raised over half a million dollars from more than 5,000 people across the country.

We’re proud to be the platform that people turn to help after an unspeakable tragedy. But we’re just as proud to be there for the everyday hardships, the day-to-day obstacles that people are struggling to overcome. For every large campaign, there are thousands and thousand of smaller ones that have no less of an impact. Help for families who have lost their homes in a fire. Help for cancer patients. Help for coping with an unexpected death.

A GoFundMe campaign started by a man he met in a grocery store has changed Chauncy’s life.

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Remarkable things can happen when there’s a way to ask for and receive help with immediacy. When a sixteen-year-old boy named Chauncy in Tennessee offered to carry a man’s groceries in exchange for some donuts, never did he expect that more than 10,000 people around the country would donate money so that he and his disabled mother could finally get the clothing, healthcare, and housing they’ve badly needed.

There is uncertainty and violence and tragedy in this world, but there is also a stunning amount of generosity and empathy. With the right tools, we can make sure our collective need to help never goes untapped.