GoFundMe Launches Studio to Produce Content Based on Site’s Fundraising Campaigns

GoFundMe is looking to turn heart-warming stories of people raising money on its crowdfunding platform for good into original content — designed to inspire others to pay it forward.

The company has established GoFundMe Studios, a video-production unit that will generate short-form documentaries, feature-length films, podcasts, and other content. GoFundMe has hired former GoPro exec Wil Tidman (pictured above) as executive producer and head of GoFundMe Studios, and filmmaker and commercial director Chris Neil as an executive producer.

“It’s not entertainment or branded content,” said GoFundMe chief marketing officer Raquel Rozas. “Our core hypothesis is that people will be inspired by these stories to turn compassion into action.” Naturally, the hope is they’ll launch fundraising campaigns on the site — so the GoFundMe Studios productions will, in fact, function as branded content.

Tidman worked at GoPro for more than five years, most recently as VP of creative, strategy and original productions; the action-camera maker announced last year it was shutting down its entertainment division. Over the course of his two-decade-plus career, Tidman has produced video content, films, and shows for networks and brands including NBC, ESPN, IMG Media, Real Madrid, Red Bull and Nike.

“GoFundMe Studios will showcase the extraordinary stories of humans changing the world through the simple act of giving,” Tidman said in a statement.

Popular on Variety

Neil made his film directing debut with “Goats,” starring David Duchovny, Vera Farmiga, and Dakota Johnson, which premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. As a commercial director, he’s worked with agencies including DigitasLBi, Publicis, and Commonwealth//McCann. Tidman and Neil are based out of GoFundMe’s headquarters in Redwood City, Calif.

GoFundMe Studios’ first release is “Jim Ford, Repo Man.” The 9-minute documentary, produced by Tidman, is about a repo man in St. Louis who launched a fundraising campaign for an elderly couple — whose 1998 Buick he had repossessed — to pay off the amount they owed on their car and get it back.

Additional projects currently in production, to be released later this year, include: “This Ends With Me,” about Shane Johnson, raised as a Ku Klux Klan member, who renounces his upbringing and starts a new future by removing his racist tattoos; and “The St. Louis 6,” about six young bulls who escape from a St. Louis slaughterhouse and begin a journey to the safety of the Gentle Barn animal sanctuary.

Starting in 2018, the goal is for GoFundMe Studios to release at least one documentary short per month, with weekly shorter-form stories, Rozas said. The company will distribute the content on YouTube and social-media channels as well as through media and brand partnerships. Rozas said the company is in early discussions with TV networks and digital-video players on potential distribution deals.

Launched in 2010, GoFundMe has raised more than $4 billion for numerous causes from more than 40 million individual donors. Earlier this year, it acquired CrowdRise, an online fundraising platform for charities and non-profits. Other companies in the crowdfunding space include Kickstarter, Indiegogo and JustGiving.

In the U.S. and Canada, GoFundMe takes a 5% cut of all donations, and charges an additional 2.9% payment-processing fee (plus 30 cents per donation). To curb fraud on the platform, the company says it uses fraud-detection technologies and employs a dedicated team of specialists to track down scams.

Watch the first GoFundMe Studios production, “Jim Ford, Repo Man”:

More Digital

  • HQ Trivia

    HQ Trivia Lives? CEO Claims He's Found Potential Buyer for Live Game-Show App

    Hold the phone, HQties — there might be a second act for HQ Trivia. The once-buzzy live game-show app, whose audience had declined after peaking two years ago, shut down last week after the company ran out of money and a deal to sell it fell through. Now Rus Yusupov, CEO of parent company Intermedia [...]

  • Dolan Twins

    Dolan Twins to Launch Their First Podcast (EXCLUSIVE)

    The Dolan Twins, sibling digital influencers who have a combined following of more than 50 million across internet platforms, are set to launch their first podcast: “Deeper With The Dolan Twins.” The new weekly podcast from 20-year-old Ethan and Grayson Dolan is being produced under an exclusive pact with Cadence13, a division of Entercom Communications’ [...]

  • Justin Bieber Changes album cover

    Following Lil Nas X, Justin Bieber Track Is Latest to Highlight Online Marketplace

    A shout-out on social media from Justin Bieber has brought some additional shine to Splice Sounds, the popular platform for rights-cleared sounds and beats. The track “Running Over,” from Bieber’s album “Changes” and featuring Lil Dicky, was produced by The Audibles and is based on a loop created by British artist Laxcity and uploaded to Splice. [...]

  • LadBaby at Abbey Road Studio, London,

    Facebook Leans on Local Creators to Grow Watch and Hit New Target Areas

    As Facebook leans into sports, non-scripted and select scripted properties, it’s increasingly looking to an army of creators rather than A-list celebrities to tap into all three target areas as they grow businesses on the Watch platform. Facebook’s newly appointed head of entertainment media partnerships for Northern Europe Anna Higgs tells Variety, “The Watch strategy [...]

  • Apple-Coronavirus

    Apple Warns of Sales Shortfall for March 2020 Quarter, Blaming Coronavirus Outbreak

    Apple said the spread of the coronavirus in China has disrupted iPhone manufacturing and driven down sales in the country. As a result, the tech giant said it now expects to undershoot the revenue guidance it previously provided, of between $63.0 billion and $67.0 billion its fiscal 2020 second quarter (which ends March 28). “Work [...]

  • Jeff Bezos

    Jeff Bezos Forms $10 Billion Fund to Fight Climate Change

    Multi-billionaire Jeff Bezos, the world’s wealthiest person, announced a $10 billion fund to invest in projects that will combat the alarming trend of climate change. The Amazon founder and CEO announced the formation of the Bezos Earth Fund in an Instagram post Monday (Feb. 17).⁣⁣⁣ According to Bezos, the fund will begin issuing grants this [...]

  • Jake Paul

    YouTuber Jake Paul Launches Entrepreneur How-To Platform, Financial Freedom Movement

    YouTuber Jake Paul wants you to be financially free, for $19.99 a month.  At a rally on Saturday, the content creator — along with influencer friends and around 50 teenage and tween-age fans, some chaperoned by parents — launched the Financial Freedom Movement (FFM) in partnership with GenZ Holdings Inc., a Los Angeles-based brand development [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content