BATON ROUGE – Assistance for the Southeastern Louisiana flooding victims is pouring in with more than 6,400 campaigns set up on GoFundMe for the state.
Raising approximately $10 million in assistance through the GoFundMe site from donors from 102 different countries, Louisiana may be on its way to getting the help it needs for those affected. The more than 20 inches of rains that fell in Southeastern Louisiana in early August created massive flooding in the region that killed 13 and damaged more than 60,000 homes.
“As of today, the GoFundMe community has started over 6,400 campaigns and raised more than $10 million to support the victims of the Louisiana floods,” Bartlett Jackson, spokesperson for GoFundMe, told the Louisiana Record. “The GoFundMe community has raised more money on the platform for the Louisiana floods than for any previous natural disaster in the six-year history of the company.”
Setting up a GoFundMe campaign is common after a natural disaster of any kind. In its history, GoFundMe has raised $7.4 million for the Nepal earthquake disaster and $2.5 million for 2015 California wildfire victims.
According to GoFundMe, donating to the site is safe as less than one-tenth of a percent are actually fraudulent campaigns and users will also directly see the impact of a donation.
“The benefit of donating on GoFundMe during a time of widespread emergency is that you can see exactly where your funds are going,” said Jackson. “Families can get help quickly and directly, and donors can follow along with their progress and recovery.”
The company operates the site using tools that are as secure as the financial industry and it takes fraudulent claims seriously.
“We deploy proprietary fraud prevention technical tools and have multiple processes to verify the identity of campaign organizers,” said Jackson. “We also have a dedicated team that works around the clock to monitor fraudulent behavior. In addition to technical tools and a dedicated team, we have a community of 25 million users – when they see something they think might not be right, they tell us, and our team looks into it. It's important to note that if a campaign is flagged as fraudulent by a user, the funds cannot be withdrawn until the issue is resolved.”
Attorney General Jeff Landry has teamed up with GoFundMe to provide additional fraud protection by setting up a Consumer Protection Hotline at 800-351-4889 for campaigns that raise red flags or don’t seem legit. Donors can also report these campaigns directly on the GoFundMe site by clicking on “report campaign” link within the campaign.
It is also important to note that some GoFundMe campaigns associated with the Louisiana flooding do not have beneficiaries named as the organizers could be in the process of getting this secured. Those that do not want a campaign set up on their behalf can contact GoFundMe directly and have the campaign closed. It is suggested that givers only donate to campaigns for people they know and trust.