The GoFundMe C.E.O. Wants You to Ask: ‘How Can I Help?’

Do you think the gaps have always been there or are they becoming more common now?

The situations that are coming up now seem like they are more frequent. But it’s really important to understand that we don’t think of ourselves as a substitute for social safety nets. What we are is a complement to whatever you’re getting from the government or the institutions in the society that you live in. The thing that we do as well, which is very, very different, is the emotional support that a GoFundMe campaign offers. It’s the fact that your family, your friends, some people in your community that you don’t know, some strangers who aren’t even in your community, would rally around and say: “I’m really sorry this happened. We just want to help you.” We provide a place to convey that.

I’ve had just recently a few friends go through some really difficult things in their lives, and in each case, people have put together a GoFundMe. And this exact conversation: How can I help? So that’s how we something we provide is quite distinctive.

Is there any inherent contradiction in your mind in GoFundMe being a for-profit corporation?

Actually, I think being for profit is what enables us to do what we do and create such a good platform, because we have to run a global, world-class platform service. We have to keep evolving. We have to keep offering new features. We have to really think about the trust and safety side of our business. We have to manage all of the payments. So being for-profit gives us the ability to hire great people and compete with other tech companies for those people and compensate them, but also have that purpose of being able to say, I’m working at a company that’s doing a truly important thing in the world.

What are you doing to minimize instances of fraud and abuse on the platform?

We live in a society of humans, and the vast majority of people are good and have no ill intent. There are some people that don’t have good intent, but that applies to anyone who runs a big consumer business or even a small business. You can have someone who can try and take something from your shop. So it just tells me that we see human nature, nothing more than that.

In terms of how we deal with that, it’s a blend of technology, which is looking for certain signals and flags. And we’ve been doing this for 11 years now, so we’ve seen not quite everything under the sun. And then there’s a trust and safety team that are very well trained and have a really good playbook for what to look for.

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