GoFundMe is an excellent platform that allows people to raise money for all sorts of needs and is often used to fund medical procedures.
Unfortunately, not everyone uses the money raised for their stated need.
Reddit user cmatsfts recently ran into this first-hand, when a family member decided to start a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for in vitro fertilization so she and her husband could have a child.
"A family member of mine is struggling with infertility. I'm very close with her and her husband and I wanted so badly for them to have their dream of becoming parents."
Things seemed to be going well, with cmatsfts even donating $500 to the cause, but the couple were unable to reach their $10,000 goal.
"When they started a Go Fund Me to pay for in vitro fertilization I donated $500 and through the GFM they raised an admirable >$3k. Unfortunately, for those who are familiar, $3k is no where near the $10k they need."
This is where things hit a bit of a snag.
Instead of returning the money raised, or setting it aside for later IVF treatments once they could raise the rest of the money, the family member decided to keep it.
"Since then, she's told me that she's going to accept 'God's plan' and that they aren't going to have kids. She isn't looking into adoption because she really just wanted her own (biological) kid. I expressed my sympathy and asked what she was going to do with the GFM money. She said that she isn't intending to return the $ because if she had gotten to $10k she WOULD have done in vitro."
Interesting leap of logic, there.
When cmatsfts expressed their concern to another family member, things did not go well.
"To another family member, I expressed that this didn't sit well with me and they freaked out calling me insensitive. Am I wrong here?"
Cmatsfts further clarified that, as far as they know, there was no clause in the GoFundMe campaign stating that the couple would have to return the money if their goal was not met.
Redditors nearly unanimously responded that cmatsfts was not in the wrong, and that their family member was probably a little confused as to how GoFundMe works.
"[Not The A**hole] (NTA). File a complaint with GFM. Their terms of service state: 'all Donations contributed to your Campaign will be used solely as described in the materials that you post or otherwise provide;'" -RandallFlagg74
"This is probably the best way to ensure that all the money is return while staying anonymous. Because if she's knows you reported her, she's definitely going to think you're the a**hole even if the internet doesn't." -jeffsang
Some kept it simple.
"NTA. That's fraud." -shrampmaster
"Right?! I told the other family member that I couldn't help but feel like this was non-malicius fraud. I know they started with the best of intentions but if you dont use the $ for what's its intended for, that's a problem. The family members response was "it's her $ she can spend it how she wants" - cmatsfts
"NTA. They just scammed almost $3K from friends and family. They are TAs." -WarpedCorg
"NTA. You gave her money for IVF, she didn't do IVF therefore she doesn't get to reallocate those funds to something else. I think you can report her to GFM." -stunning-stasis
Others shared similar situations where everyone behaved like a resposible adult when things didn't go to plan.
"NTA. A friend of mine had a GFM for the same reason. She became pregnant naturally, while raising the money. She emailed everyone who donated that she would refunding the money. Myself & others told her to keep the money for her new baby, which she did & put it in a college fund. If she isn't using the money for IVF/adoption/surrogacy the money should be returned to you and any other donor." -dmarie416
"NTA. I know of a GFM set up for a friend's husband who required a specific type of treatment for his very aggressive leukemia. They raised a huge amount of money. Unfortunately he didn't survive and the first thing that the family posted was to message them if people wanted their money back, otherwise they would donate it to the cancer society. Your relative is now just profiting off of people's generosity. You have every right to ask for it back." -KathAlMyPal
GoFundMe's policies are pretty clear in this instance. Public opinion definitely backs up cmatsfts' take on the situation.
You don't get to use funds raised for a specific goal for whatever you feel like just because you didn't meet your donation goals.