As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, civic-minded users of GoFundMe have opened their wallets time and again to those experiencing hardship stemming from the public health disaster. They’ve given so much money they’ve broken a record — the fundraiser platform announced Thursday that it’s seen the most money raised over the last six months for any specific crisis in the history of the decade-old site.
On Thursday, GoFundMe published a Medium post detailing the numbers: From March 1 to Aug. 31, donors raised more than $625 million for pandemic relief through over 9 million donations from around the world. Over the same time period, people started over 150,000 fundraisers for pandemic-related relief. Donors gave to wide-ranging causes, from raising money for frontline workers and struggling small businesses to students in need of school supplies and those who have been unable to pay monthly bills.
“Overall, the amount of activity (between fundraiser creation and donations) for COVID is significant compared to other crises GoFundMe has seen,” a GoFundMe spokesperson wrote in an email to Mashable. “We have never seen such an immediate and ongoing response.”
On March 24, GoFundMe and its partners launched a Small Business Relief Initiative to assist small businesses negatively impacted by the pandemic in starting their own fundraisers on the site. The next day, people started more GoFundMe fundraisers than any other day in the six-month period. More than half of those fundraisers supported small businesses, such as restaurants forced to let go of their workers during the pandemic.
In general on the site, the highest number of donations in the six-month period occurred on March 26, with over $7.9 million raised. That was a little over two weeks after the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic.
New York City, which was hit especially hard by the pandemic in its initial months compared with other U.S. cities, had the highest number of fundraisers per capita. In its report, GoFundMe highlighted the work of Ben Wei, who started a fundraiser in March to raise money for personal protective equipment for frontline workers in the city. In its first four days alone, Wei says, his fundraiser brought in $200,000. In total, it raised $641,713 to buy over 193,000 protective masks.
Like Wei, individuals across the nation have stepped up to help those in their communities battling the pandemic’s consequences. Four nurses in Arizona started a GoFundMe to raise money for Navajo and Hopi families and personal protective equipment for frontline healthcare workers helping these communities during the pandemic. Ultimately, they raised $287,099.
The chart below illustrates the sustained and large outpouring of donations for COVID-19 relief. It compares GoFundMe’s pandemic-related donations with donations for urgent needs stemming from Hurricane Harvey in 2017 and the Australian bushfires from Nov. 1, 2019 to Jan. 31, 2020 on GoFundMe.
Unlike other crises, such as natural disasters, there is no predictable end date for the pandemic; the need is ongoing. If you are able to help those who are suffering from it, you can donate to GoFundMe’s COVID-19 Relief Fund to raise money for everything from hot meals for students to personal protective equipment for frontline workers around the globe. Some of the money raised has gone to unemployed ride share workers, community groups making and delivering lunch to healthcare workers, and a distillery that is now making hand sanitizer for essential workers. GoFundMe distributes money from this relief fund to campaigns it has verified.
You can also chip in to GoFundMe’s Small Business Relief Fund to help American small businesses fighting to survive during the pandemic. Family-owned restaurants, community bookshops, and music venues are among some of the small businesses that have benefited from this fund. GoFundMe says its donated over $2 million to 4,000 small businesses in the U.S. thus far.
There are many more ways to help people struggling during the coronavirus pandemic, if you’re able. You can help domestic workers so they don’t risk catching coronavirus while working, donate to organizations getting food to the hungry, and feed frontline worker while supporting restaurants.