Crowdfunding gets personal with GoFundMe

GoFundMeBrenda Lynn says her autistic son Kaleo, 3, hardly speaks, and his inability to express himself frustrates him – except when he’s using his speech therapist’s iPad.

“The iPad really controlled the tantrums and helped him communicate,” said Lynn, 39, of Orlando, Fla. “I tried to get him one, but I couldn’t afford it on my own. I applied for grants, but I wasn’t lucky enough.”

So Lynn, who is unemployed, turned to Facebook and GoFundMe.com, a crowdfunding website that allows people to solicit cash for personal causes. She asked for $500 and raised $620 in 17 hours.

Crowdfunding sites such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo and RocketHub have for years helped entrepreneurs start or expand businesses. Now, people increasingly are using similar sites and social media to raise money for personal wants and needs.

Examples of campaigns on GoFundMe include a $350 birthday trip to New York, a $2,800 religious mission to Malawi, and a $10,000 fertility treatment.

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