As millions of Americans lost their jobs throughout the pandemic, hundreds of thousands have turned to the crowdfunding site GoFundMe as they look to keep their businesses afloat and cover everyday expenses. “The situation is nothing short of a national emergency,” GoFundMe CEO Tim Cadogan wrote in a USA Today op-ed published Friday, and “Congress should treat it as such by quickly passing a large relief bill.”
“From March 1 to Aug. 31 alone, people started more than 150,000 fundraisers for COVID-related assistance on our site,” and more arise every day, Cadogan wrote. One in three fundraisers started on the site have requested COVID-19 assistance, Cadogan detailed, amounting to a new COVID-related fundraiser starting every two minutes.
Cadogan went on to relay stories from people who had started fundraisers throughout the pandemic to suggest to Congress “where the relief could be most helpful.” For example, GoFundMe saw such a surge in monthly bill fundraisers that it created a whole category to accommodate them. Meanwhile three of every five COVID-19 fundraisers sought to support small businesses and local restaurants. Fundraisers seeking money simply so people could buy food have also shot up 45 percent since the pandemic began.
GoFundMe has also seen “high-profile appeals for support for renters facing eviction, front-line workers who need personal protective equipment and a never-ending stream of fundraisers aimed at supporting students, classrooms, charities and more,” Cadogan lists. “The surge in these types of fundraisers is a direct result of government programs coming up short,” and GoFundMe “can never be a replacement for robust federal COVID-19 relief that is generous and targeted to help the millions of Americans who are struggling,” Cadogan finished. Read his op-ed at USA Today.