By Karen Kelly
The company GoFundMe is probably best known for personal campaigns to raise money for medical and funeral expenses. But recently, it’s in the news for a much bigger campaign: a fund to support the “Freedom Convoy 2022” protest that raised $10 million dollars (USD) on behalf of anti-mandate protests in Ottawa and elsewhere.
When GoFundMe shut down their account due to “evidence from law enforcement that the previously peaceful demonstration had become an occupation,” the protest group turned to another for-profit American company, GiveSendGo, and raised millions more before that account was frozen by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.
For Canadians who grew up pledging to the Terry Fox Run or collecting UNICEF donations on Halloween, these companies represent a completely different approach to giving.
“These are businesses, not charities, that are relying on the good work that nonprofits do while not being held to the same standards,” explains Paloma Raggo, a professor in the Master of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership program in the School of Public Policy and Administration (SPPA). “I’m not saying that they’re all bad, but they just haven’t been held accountable.”