At Hypepotamus, we believe the ultimate heroes are the men and women who dedicate their time and talents to serve and protect our country. In honor of Veterans Day, we are highlighting GoFundVeterans, a crowdfunding platform for Active Duty Military and Veterans of the US Armed Forces who need financial support. Learn from GoFundVeterans’ leadership Brett Dahlin, Aaron Enser and Brigan Enser on how you can make a positive impact on the brave soldiers who have risked their lives to protect our own.
GoFundVeterans is a crowdfunding platform that enable Active Duty Members and Veterans of the US Armed Forces to obtain financial support for various needs. Examples of current projects on our site include education that the G.I. Bill does not cover; dental procedures; PTSD support; and capital for growing a wounded veteran’s business where other financial institutions don’t offer assistance. We use a third party site to verify that project creators are Active Duty Members, or Veteran members of the United States Armed Forces, or military dependents. This is a way the nation can directly support specific projects that are unique as the individual who has committed to giving their life for us and our freedom.
What problem are you solving?
Currently, the biggest issue facing members of the military community is receiving financial help in a quick and efficient manner. Many of these men and women face financial obstacles, and we wanted to create a platform exclusively for the military community to get the help they deserve and need. We allow any Veteran, Active Military Member, or Family Dependent to create a project and raise money for various needs and dreams. We have seen how citizens rally and support members of the military, and we believe this trend will continue. We acknowledge the many organizations helping our veterans, but we wanted to create a platform to give American citizens direct access. We also believe the use of technology can keep administration fees low, which is often where charities struggle.
Below are some key stats of the military community:
- There are currently over 30 million active military, veterans and military dependants in the United States.
- 1.4 million Veterans are currently living in poverty in the US, of which 800,000 are living on the streets at any given time.
- In addition to poverty and homelessness, 1 in 10 Veterans are disabled, oftentimes from injuries sustained in battle, deeming them unfit to work a proper job.
- There are 22 military veteran suicides a day.
- More than 307,000 veterans died while awaiting medical care from the VA.
We believe that no veteran, active military member, or military dependent should lack the resources necessary to survive. Rather, we believe they should thrive during and after serving our great country. Our goal is to create a resource where veterans and the military community can go to for their financial needs.
Some believe this is the government’s responsibility, but our heroes should not have to wait for slow and inadequate assistance. We want to make a difference and we are dedicated to serving the needs of our veterans and military communities. In our eyes “no soldier left behind” does not end at the battlefield, it must continue on when our soldiers return home and back to civilian life.
GoFundVeterans charges a fee of 5%. Our payment platform charges a 2.9% fee, something we cannot control. When all fees are calculated, the project creator is able to keep 93% of the funds. The 5% fee is very similar to other platforms, however, other sites have a payment processing fee between 2.9% and 8%
How’d you get the idea?
We came from a family with numerous service members who have served and are still serving this great country. Seeing countless news articles about our veterans and military community who needed help, we could not stand by as these heroes are not getting the care and respect they need or deserve. We realized there had to be a better way to help individuals contribute directly to our heroes without the high administration fees that other charitable organizations charge.
When donating to causes, individuals are conscious of administration charges; we were shocked to see the administration fees and independent ratings for some veterans and military charities. This prompted us to conceptualize of how we could make a difference in these heroes lives. Crowdfunding is very popular, and is growing every year. Why not harness this power and make it relevant to a specific cause or group of individuals?
The one concern that many people have is not knowing the identity of the creator of the project and they want to certain they are protected from fraud. We verify each project creator is affiliated with the military to ensure legitimacy and trust with the public, which makes individuals more willing to give to and trust the organization. We use SheerID as our third party verification service, which is also used by many Fortune 50 companies.
Who are your competitors and how do you stand out?
Our closest competitor is GoFundMe. Although GoFundMe is a large platform, we do not consider them a big competitor because they allow anyone to create a project on their site, and they do not verify the identity of the project creator. Our platform verifies every project creator to ensure that they are in fact part of the military community. We go to great lengths to assure donors that they are giving to a legitimate member of the military community. We are also dedicated to having only military affiliated projects on our site, rather than just allowing anyone to create a project. Our focus on veterans, active military, and their family dependents make us different than any other crowdfunding site.
What do you need to scale this?
At GoFundVeterans, we believe we can have a profound societal and individual impact for military men and women. However, to scale this project we need business mentorship from those who are knowledgeable in marketing, growing a crowdfunding platform, and are as passionate to serve our national heroes as we are.