Online donations growing in popularity especially for victims of tragedy

Crowdfunding sites are now a $2.7 billion industry

WINTER PARK, Fla. – Central Florida has seen signs of compassion, not only in stuffed animals and flowers at the crash site, but also in the money being raised for the families of the children affected by the crash at a Winter Park Kindercare this month.


A quick search of gofundme.com, the crowdfunding website, shows six different fundraisers for the victims of last week's crash.

The total raised so far? Well, over $100,000 and growing.

The same week, Kalen Infante was recovering in his hospital room singing one of his favorite songs from the band Florida Georgia Line.

It's sweet sounds from little Infante and certainly music to his mother's ears.

On Wednesday, the pre-schooler got to go home. But his road to recovery is far from over.

"I know he's going to have to have specialist visits for about 18 months and the wheel chair and the walker.  They told us a little bit about how much it would be," said Megan Bish, his mother.

Concerns over mounting medical bills are enough for anyone, but for Bish, a student and working mom, she decided she would turn to the internet and crowdfunding in hopes of easing the burden.        

"We set up a fund on gofundme.com," said Bish.

Her goal was $10,000. She's since raised well over $11,000. And she's not alone.

The fund for Lily Quintus who was killed in the crash has raised nearly $80,000.

The fund for June Lynn Decalzada is close to $13,000.  

Friends of families in need used to set up bank accounts and trust funds, but the internet now makes online donation the most efficient way to give.

The simple "click, donate and share" philosophy has turned go fund me and other crowdfunding sites into a two point seven billion dollar industry.

But does all of your money go to Kaleb, Lily, or any person you want to donate to?

The answer is for the most part is yes, but there are fees.

Gofundme takes nearly 8 percent of the donation for overhead and processing fees.

So if you donate $100, that's $92 to the cause and $8 to the company.

Fundly, another popular site, charges the same fee.

Both sites point out that's a much lower cut than many large non profits which can take between 10 and 40 percent off the top.

Paypal offers a donation option which doesn't take a cut, but does charge the nearly 3 percent processing fee.

Keep in mind donations made to families or individuals are not tax deductible.

The Internal Revenue Service considers that contribution a personal gift.

As for the families of these victims of tragedy, it's all too personal.       

"Even if you can't donate that's fine just pray for him," said Bish.

The crowdfunding sites say they do their best to police the funds and even reveal the e-mail account associated with the fund so you can check in on that person.

If you want to know if a larger charity is legitimate you can investigate them by going to charitynavigator.org.