The CEO of GoFundMe wants you to ask, “How can I help?”

Is there an inherent contradiction in your mind that GoFundMe is a for-profit company?

Actually, I think making a profit allows us to do what we do and create such a good platform because we have to run a world-class global platform service. We have to keep evolving. We have to keep offering new features. We really need to think about the trust and security side of our business. We have to manage all payments. So making a profit gives us the opportunity to hire great people and compete with other tech companies for those people and compensate them, but we also have the goal of being able to say, I work at a company that really does something important in the world.

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

We live in a society of people, and the vast majority of people are good and have no evil intentions. Some people don’t have good intentions, but so does anyone who runs a large consumer or even small business. You can have someone who can try to get something from your store. 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 mix of technology looking for certain signals and flags. And we’ve been doing this for 11 years now, so we haven’t seen everything under the sun yet. And then there’s a trust and safety team that is very well trained and has a really good playbook to watch out for.

How do you ensure that the money is actually used effectively? And how do you actually rate that?

It’s our job to make sure the money gets to the right beneficiary. We put a lot of work into verifying that this is the person it was intended for at the end of the day. Once they have that money, it’s their money and they can make choices. So we don’t have a way to go all the way into what they’re using, the debit card or the credit card to spend the money. It’s quite rare that we hear of someone doing something completely off the reservation. But in the end it’s their money.

Would the world be a better place if GoFundMe didn’t have to exist in the first place?

New. Life happens and it has good and bad sides. A fundamental part of being human is wanting to get through it together. That never goes away. And we are a place where people come together and help each other. None of us can go through life alone.

How has the way people use the site changed during the pandemic?

The first phase was things like PPE People didn’t have face masks. Medical workers had no gloves and so on. All that stuff ran out. Then you started to see lockdowns and therefore countless campaigns for small businesses, for their employees. That wasn’t new to GoFundMe, but its scale was completely different. And when people were out of work for longer, they looked for more housing allowance and things like that. With the murder of George Floyd, we saw a lot of activity associated with the social justice movement.

But since the middle of last year, that is all coming down and a more normal life is coming. We’ve seen weddings, we’ve seen animals, we’ve seen honeymoons. We just saw a campaign of sorts for the US men’s bobsleigh team to raise the $100,000 to help them, you know, get ready and get to the Winter Olympics. All the things you can imagine, with people moving on with their lives.

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