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GoFundMe website allows you to use power of social media to raise money for your cause
Jenn Strathman, newsnet5.com
7:48 PM, Feb 25, 2013
10:45 AM, Feb 26, 2013
CLEVELAND - Social media is changing the way we give back to others.
In the days and weeks after the Sandy Hook tragedy, the families created websites and online platforms for people to donate money. No matter where you live or what you need money for, it's easier than ever to raise money through the power of social media.
Ryan Fischer's heart and soul belongs to music.
"I use that music as a ministry to go out and touch people to let them know there is hope in the world," Fischer said.
His lyrics share that message of hope. A recent song about tough times and getting knocked down took on new meaning a few months later when Fischer was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma.
"As my wife and I were walking out of a treatment I said 'You know what? That song was written for myself and I didn't know it at the time,'" Fischer said.
Fischer's time is now spent battling chemotherapy. The road is rocky and uncertain.
"During the course of this I had to resign from my job because I was unable to do my job," Fischer said.
"Social media has opened the door for bad behavior and I am skeptical," Harding said.
Do your homework. Give to causes you know are legitimate, and will use your money for the stated mission.
"I recommend you pick a few causes you are passionate about and stay loyal. Otherwise you will find yourself in a sea of charity," Harding said.
The charitable effort in Shaw's classroom is just beginning. Students are excited for the new technology, and Shaw hopes to raise enough money to buy iPad Minis for the entire school next year.
Next year, Fischer hopes he can get back to sharing his music and message.
"I guess you can get up and get living or just fall down and start to die. I chose to live," Fischer said.
When you're giving, you also need to consider how much of your money will go toward the bottom line. GoFundMe charges fees for using its platform.
In most cases, there is a 5 percent transaction fee from the site, plus there are PayPal fees of 2.9 percent plus 30 cents per transaction.
So, on the average $100 donation, the person in need gets $91.80.
If the GoFundMe page is for a certified charity, the fees are slightly different.
Potential tax liabilities
Certified public accountant Howard Kass is a Partner with Zinner & Co.. He said if you are raising money for a personal need there is no recognition of income, but the money would be deemed a gift. If the gift exceeds $14,000, then you may have to file a gift tax return.
If you raise the money for a business venture, there are other questions that need to be answered to determine the potential tax liability. Check with a CPA if you have questions.