Central West families raised $1.5m on GoFundMe and didn't pay a thing

NEED SUPPORT: Orange resident Kelly Schofield is raising funds to buy a wheelchair-enabled vehicle for her 12-year-old daughter Alyssa, who has cerebral palsy and global developmental delay. Photo: SUPPLIED.

NEED SUPPORT: Orange resident Kelly Schofield is raising funds to buy a wheelchair-enabled vehicle for her 12-year-old daughter Alyssa, who has cerebral palsy and global developmental delay. Photo: SUPPLIED.

THE tragic death of Orange resident Chris Rothnie last week led to an outpouring of donations on the social fundraising platform GoFundMe.

His family received $16,831 from 272 donors towards his funeral costs.

Mr Rothnie's family is just one of 655 GoFundMe beneficiaries in the Central West, who have received $1.5 million in donations in the past three years.

Read more: 

Orange resident Kelly Schofield, who started a GoFundMe appeal to raise $30,000 three weeks ago, says she is overwhelmed by the support she has been receiving. 

Ms Schofield wants to buy a wheelchair-enabled vehicle so she can take her 12-year-old daughter Alyssa for medical appointments in Sydney without anyone's support. 

HELP SOUGHT: Alyssa, 12, can't walk, is non-verbal and cannot feed herself. Photo: SUPPLIED.

HELP SOUGHT: Alyssa, 12, can't walk, is non-verbal and cannot feed herself. Photo: SUPPLIED.

Alyssa, who has cerebral palsy and global developmental delay, can't walk, is non-verbal, cannot feed herself, has epilepsy and limited communication.

Read more:

Ms Schofield, who is the sole breadwinner, said her husband encouraged her to start the GoFundMe page and post it on their Facebook pages.

Ms Schofield has raised a little over $5000 so far and is grateful to all her donors.

BROTHERS IN ARMS: Chris (left) and Michael Rothnie after their 2018 premiership win with the Orange Tigers.

BROTHERS IN ARMS: Chris (left) and Michael Rothnie after their 2018 premiership win with the Orange Tigers.

Read more:

What is GoFundMe?

Brad Damphousse and Andrew Ballester started the social fundraising platform in California, USA in 2010 and in Australia in 2016. 

It is now in 18 countries, including Canada and the UK, and the platform claims more than 50 million donors have used GoFundMe to donate $5 billion.

"About two million Australians have donated to campaigns and more than $200 million has been raised for truly inspiring and worthwhile Australian causes," a GoFundMe spokesperson said. 

"In NSW, more than $60 million has been raised from over 20,000 GoFundMe campaigns, including 655 across Central NSW."

In NSW, more than $60 million has been raised from over 20,000 GoFundMe campaigns, including 655 across the Central NSW.

GoFundMe spokesperson

Who funds GoFundMe?

Residents have been using the platform for various purposes, including supporting an ill family member or communities affected by natural disasters and for feelgood, children-led initiatives.

Fundraisers, however, are not charged a cent.

It is the donors who are paying for the GoFundMe operations.

"The platform is free for organisers. Transaction fee is 2.9 per cent plus $0.30 per donation," the website read.

Read more:

The spokesperson said GoFundMe relies on voluntary tips from donors to help with the costs associated with providing its customer service and technology.

"Standard processing fees are charged by payment processors to cover credit card processing and safe transfer of funds," the spokesperson said.

"When someone chooses to give to a GoFundMe, they are given the option to add a voluntary tip.

"This tipping model allows us to offer a free platform to people wanting to start a fundraising initiative and make a difference to either their or someone else’s life.” 

GoFundMe doesn't have any staff in Australia.

This story More Central West families are relying on GoFundMe to raise funds first appeared on Western Advocate.