Funding dreams
Corinne Barber getting a blessing from Pope Francis on a trip to the Vatican paid for by a fundraising campaign (Image: PA)

December 19, 2016


Launched in 2010, GoFundMe is the world’s largest social fundraising platform, with over $10 billion raised so far. With a community of more than 70 million donors, GoFundMe is changing the way the world gives.

The challenge

Relatively new to the UK market at the time, GoFundMe needed help to manage its crowdfunding press activity and identify and amplify human-interest stories for maximum media coverage raising awareness of its crowdfunding offering.

The strategy

  • Set up and ran a pro-active and re-active press office
  • Scouring the site for media-worthy fundraising stories
  • Interviewing case studies and helping share their stories with relevant national and regional media outlets
  • Being sensitive to potentially sensational stories and prioritising the protection of case studies at all times

The results

Under Melissa’s leadership, the GoFundMe team at Rooster PR helped raise awareness of countless crowdfunding campaigns including:

  • A dying Scottish woman called Corinne Barber whose last wish was to visit the Vatican. As a result of the front page cover generated on the Edinburgh Evening News, the office of the Archbishop of St Andrews & Edinburgh offered to support her pilgrimage. Not only did Corinne successfully make the special pilgrimage to Rome but she was also treated to a papal audience where she was blessed by Pope Francis himself! Over the duration of the campaign, the team generated over 100 pieces of coverage including the Mirror and BBC as well as blanket coverage in the and Catholic press.
  • A campaign set up in memory of Labour MP Jo Cox by her family and friends, following her death in June 2016, which became the largest and fastest growing UK GoFundMe campaign when it raised over £150,000 in seven hours and surpassed £1 million within three days
  • The urgent ‘Donate4Mike’ campaign created by Kate Brandon to save her husband mike from terminal cancer, which raised £400,000. It became the second-largest GoFundMe campaign in the UK and allowed Mike to undergo ‘last-hope’ treatment through a clinical trial in the United States.
  • Mother of four Louise’s #CancerIsPants campaign to raise the thousands of pounds needed to fund her cancer therapy, which encouraged them to share a photo of themselves wearing pants on their head. The press coverage, which included four radio interviews on BBC Radio Sussex (twice), Juice Brighton and Heart South West, as well as coverage in the Daily Mirror, the Sun and The Argus (Brighton) and a magazine deal in Take a Break, helped the family surpass their initial £50,000 target and raise a staggering £64,000!

Melissa led Rooster's GoFundMe press office team from 2015 to 2017. She worked for the agency from 2014 to 2018.

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“Melissa is like PR gold dust. A very gifted and talented all-round communicator who genuinely cares about the causes and campaigns she works on. Hopefully, our paths will cross again very soon…”

Jane Eggleton
Former Rooster PR account manager (GoFundMe team)

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