More than $120 million has been raised on the platform through March 31 for people, organizations and causes affected by coronavirus, GoFundMe says

By Rachel DeSantis
April 09, 2020 02:51 PM
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Credit: Go Fund Me

As the coronavirus and subsequent shutdowns continue to rock the world, more and more people are leaning on GoFundMe campaigns as a way of keeping themselves, loved ones, businesses and philanthropic efforts afloat.

More than $120 million had been raised on the platform through March 31, for people, organizations and causes affected by the pandemic, the company tells PEOPLE.

Popular trends that comprise many of the platform’s fundraisers as of late include small businesses looking to help former employees who are now out of work, individuals focused on food and resources, and medical supplies, says Lili Strasser, an engagement specialist on GoFundMe’s customer experience team.

“Pretty much everyone is impacted in some way, or they know someone that’s impacted,” she says. “So just because of that, the number of fundraisers has grown, the number of donations has grown.”

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With hundreds of campaigns launching each day, it can be difficult to make sure your fundraiser isn’t lost in the shuffle.

While Strasser acknowledges that success is different for each and every campaign, there are several pointers that can help make a GoFundMe campaign effective.

1. Make sure your story is authentic and genuine

“This is an emotional time, and a lot of people are in really scary situations,” says Strasser, who adds that it’s important not to be afraid to take a “leap” in asking for help.

She stresses that it’s important to share the who, what, when, where and why of the campaign so that donors can easily connect with your story, whether it’s raising money to fund a loved one’s medical bills, or funding supplies to create protective masks.

2. Be clear about where the money is going

Strasser says another big factor is making sure you’re transparent about just how the money raised will be put to use.

“The more a potential donor can connect their dollar to something that’s happening, the better,” she says. “So if you can be really transparent, you know, ‘I’m raising money for this food bank. $10 will provide three meals.’ Those kinds of stats… can really help elevate a story, because the donor can really see their contribution.”

3. Share, share, share

Last, but certainly not least, is making sure you push your fundraiser out on as many channels as possible, because the more eyes on the campaign, the better.

Strasser advises starting with local friends and family and co-workers, then counting on the ripple effect to take hold from there.

“Your friends know people, your mom knows someone,” she says. “Make those connections, whether it’s sending text messages or emails or posting on social media.”

Meanwhile, other recommendations to make a big splash on GoFundMe are to make sure you keep your post updated with goals you’ve hit and how many people you’ve been able to reach so that donors know just how their dollars have been put to good use.

“I know it’s an intimidating time, and it can be scary, but everyone out there really does want to help each other,” says Strasser. “I hope that people can find that support and community that they’re looking for during this time through this action.”

GoFundMe.org, the company’s non-profit and advocacy arm, has launched a fundraiser that offers support for organizations and individuals affected by coronavirus, the platform said in a statement provided to PEOPLE.

“By donating to the GoFundMe.org general relief fund, the donation supports many individuals who have started fundraisers on GoFundMe related to this pandemic, and organizations dedicated to serving the people,” the company said. “Donations to the general relief fundraiser of GoFundMe.org, a United States charity, are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law, and will broadly support communities impacted by coronavirus.”

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. To help provide doctors and nurses on the front lines with life-saving medical resources, donate to Direct Relief here.