August 31st, 2017

GoFundMe has been the source of donations by tens of thousands of people in the past week who are giving to relief efforts related to Hurricane Harvey. At this point, nearly a week for many GoFundMe campaigns, the company has helped raise some $4.5 billion dollars for people and organizations affected by the storm.
GoFundMe is making a hefty profit on those donations.
According to GoFundMe’s website, it keeps 5% of every donated amount to campaigns plus 2.9% for processing fees. On top of that GoFundMe profits $.30 from every donation. That’s a hefty profit for a company that’s completed $4.5 billion dollars in contributions.
I did some math on one of GoFundMe’s trending campaigns that benefits a non-profit organization, 4paws, which needs money to care for an influx of pets that have been displaced from their homes and owners. The campaign has been verified by GoFundMe and is a reputable agency that clearly needs donations.  As I write this the “Harvey Disaster Animal Fund” has raised $224,435 dollars of a $25 thousand dollar goal. That money has been raised by 5,691 people in the past 5 days.
Using those numbers and even rounding down on the total amount of donations, GoFundMe has kept over $17,000 of the $224,000 raised. On top of that is the 30-cent take on each donation. As of right now GoFundMe has profited over $21,000 from this one campaign.
In total of the $4.5 million dollars in total Harvey donations, GoFundMe has made $355,500 plus the 30-cent/per donation. GoFundMe did not respond to my question asking for a total number of donations for Harvey related campaigns.
I’ve contacted GoFundMe twice this week with questions but have not received a response from a member of its team.
I mention this not to throw water on GoFundMe’s role in raising money for individuals and organizations that need help. It has helped many people raise money since the website launched in 2010. I mention it because I think donors would like to know how much of their donations make it to where they want it to go.
Nowhere on GoFundMe’s website does it mention anything about waiving fees for contributions toward relief efforts for Hurricane Harvey.

I have the opportunity to review a lot of gadgets, but I’m not saying you should run out and buy them!


For most of us, money is tight. Just the standard ‘price of admission’ to all-things-tech is a astronomical. Satellite tv, Netflix subscription, internet subscription and the huge cost of owning a cellphone; it all adds up.

Think of what our parents paid for ‘tech’, maybe 30 dollars a month for a landline phone.

No cable or satellite (we had free tv coming through the air, through an antenna and into our living rooms. No $200 family wireless bills and no Internet.

A family’s total monthly expense for basic technology necessities can easily top $500.ticklme elmo two

So when I review a new product, I want to make sure you understand that it is not intended to get you to buy them.

When companies send me gadgets to review I try them out and if I like them, I’ll tell you about them. If I don’t, you won’t hear me say anything. Unless I’m reviewing a smartphone or popular app or gadget, I save you the trouble of me saying ‘this product stinks’.

But when I do like a product I sometimes feel someone out there is going to run out and buy it the next day just because they heard it was good.

I do not take products from companies with any understanding that I’ll give it a good review in exchange for letting me keep it.

I have looked at gadgets (many smart home devices) that are incredibly cool but are not worth the money. A smartphone connected alarm clock that lets you set an alarm from another room in the house? I’ll take the $7 clock radio I got in college.

Be smart, take a breath and think about it. Sleep on it! If you hadn’t thought you needed something (like a drone or GoPro) before you saw it here, you probably don’t have to have it.

Besides, it’ll be cheaper next week.