The most popular GoFundMe page for the Orlando shooting (“The Pulse Victims Fund”) has collected over $6,836,754 in donations for the victims and families of the June 12 tragedy. Since GoFundMe typically takes five percent of the funds donated through its platform, the crowdfunding site stands to make anywhere from $341,837 off of the Orlando shooting.
The updates on the page say that the campaign’s organizers will “ensure that every penny donated will be correctly and quickly dispersed to the victims and families,“ but it does not explicitly state whether GoFundMe plans on waiving its usual fee — we have written GoFundMe and the campaign’s organizers, but they have yet to respond to our inquiry.
A June 14 story from The Washington Post states that the crowdfunding site donated $100,000 to the Pulse Victims Fund to offset their standard five to eight percent fee, but with the millions collected since June 14, GoFundMe still stands to make at least $241,837 off of the shooting unless they’ve donated more since then or have revised their policy for this specific fundraiser.
The projected amount of GoFundMe’s profits off the shooting increase even more when you consider that lots of other GoFundMe pages have also been set up to assist with the funeral, medical and travel costs for those affected by the shooting. While GoFundMe needs to make money in order to operate itself as a business, making a quarter of a million off of a national tragedy seems questionable.
While GoFundMe is a business and their site will still help victims’ families receive millions, this occasion raises an eyebrow, a very important question about the ethics of their business model in times of domestic terrorism and the importance of alternative community fundraising methods, such as the One Orlando fund, a campaign that pledges to give 100 percent of all donations directly to the families with no middleman taking a cut.