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Helping local businesses raise money with up to $1 million in matching donations

This is a time of extreme hardship for virtually all small businesses, and many loyal customers want to do what they can to help their go-to local spots cope with the effects of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Businesses are getting creative in finding new sources of revenue after closing their brick-and-mortar locations or switching to delivery, takeout, or virtual services. Their customers are also getting creative in seeking ways to support their favorites, including turning to social fundraising platforms to give cash directly to local businesses so they can continue to pay their staff, cover rent, and provide some modified level of service when possible.

After recently unveiling more than $25 million in relief for local businesses, Yelp announced a partnership with GoFundMe on March 24 to get cash to small businesses. The goal is to provide a fast and simple way for independent businesses to get donations through their Yelp Pages, along with up to $1 million in total matching grants from the Yelp Foundation and GoFundMe.


Donations directly from your Yelp Page

With this new partnership, businesses can use their Yelp Pages to help raise funds. See the frequently asked questions below for eligibility details.

Starting March 24, an initial set of eligible businesses in the metropolitan areas of Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego began seeing a “Donate” button (linking to a GoFundMe fundraiser for the business) on their Yelp Pages. Now eligible businesses nationwide can set up a GoFundMe fundraiser on their Yelp Pages if they choose to do so.  


Up to $1 million in matching funds available

To help make these donations to beloved local businesses go further, the Yelp Foundation and GoFundMe have pledged to match up to $1 million in total donations from matching grants made possible by the Small Business Relief Fund. The Fund is managed by GoFundme.org and will make a $500 matching grant for the first 2,000 eligible businesses that claim or otherwise start their fundraising page on GoFundMe and raise $500.

We hope that the funds raised through this partnership will help your small business support your employees and cover immediate expenses. The goal is to help put your business in a better position to continue serving your community through this crisis and to get back to normal operations once we overcome it. 


Frequently asked questions


Which businesses are eligible?

To be eligible to join the matching initiative, businesses must: (a) be in the United States, (b) have claimed their business on Yelp by March 22, 2020, and (c) have five or fewer locations. Additionally, businesses must (d) be listed in at least one of the following categories: Restaurants, Food, Nightlife, Beauty/Spas/Salons, or Active, though some exceptions apply; (d) have been negatively impacted by a government mandate due to the COVID-19 pandemic, (e) be independently owned and operated and not nationally dominant in their field, and (f) intend to use funds to either to help care for their employees / workers or pay ongoing business expenses.


How can I tell if my business is in an eligible category?

Log in to your Yelp for Business account, click the Business Information tab, and scroll down to Categories to see your business category or categories on Yelp. Most businesses in the following categories are eligible (some exceptions apply): Restaurants, Food, Nightlife, Beauty/Spas/Salons, or Active. See the full Yelp Category List.


How do I start my fundraiser with Yelp and GoFundMe?

Log in to your Yelp for Business account, and if you’re eligible, beginning April 8 you will see a pop-up window allowing you to create a fundraiser on GoFundMe. After you complete the process on GoFundMe, the fundraiser will appear on your Yelp Business Page. Your fundraiser could be eligible for matching funds.


My business is not in the Yelp categories listed. Am I eligible?

No, only businesses in the categories listed are eligible for this matching initiative through Yelp. However, even if the business is not in the Yelp categories listed, if the business still meets the other criteria, they may get more information about the Fund by creating a GoFundMe fundraiser and adding hashtag #SmallBusinessRelief.


My business isn’t claimed on Yelp. Can I claim it now and get a “Donate” link on my page?

Only businesses claimed on Yelp as of March 22, 2020, can get a “Donate” link on their page.


What are the terms for matching funds?

The Yelp Foundation and GoFundMe have pledged to match up to $1 million in total donations, with $500 in matching funds to each of the first 2,000 businesses that raise $500 through this campaign and have claimed their fundraising page. 


What if I raise less than $500?

The $500 matching grants are only available to the first 2,000 eligible businesses that raise $500 through this campaign. If you raise less than $500, you can still claim the donations made by consumers, but you are not eligible for a matching grant.


What happens if my business gets more than $500 donated: Do I get to keep the donations over $500, and how much will I get in matching funds?

If you are one of the first 2,000 eligible businesses to claim or start your fundraising page on GoFundMe and raise $500 or more, you will get $500 in matching funds from the Yelp Foundation and GoFundMe. Donations from consumers are uncapped, and you will be able to claim all the donations made by consumers. For example, if you raise $1,000 in your GoFundMe fundraiser, you will get $1,000 in donations (minus any payment processing fees) and $500 in matching funds (if you meet the criteria for matching).


How will I know if I’m one of the 2,000 businesses that gets the matching funds?

If your business gets $500 in matching funds, you will see a $500 grant listed in your fundraiser with the donor name GoFundMe.org. If your notification settings on GoFundMe allow it, you will get an email notification when the $500 matching fund donation is made.


When and how will the donations and matching funds be paid to me?

To withdraw donated funds, follow these steps on GoFundMe. It can take 1-7 business days to verify your account. Once the funds become available, all verified donations held within the account will be automatically sent at the frequency that you choose (daily, weekly, monthly) and will be delivered to your bank account in 2-5 business days.


Does Yelp or GoFundMe take a cut of the donations?

Yelp does not get any portion of the donations. Donations through the GoFundMe platform may be subject to payment processing fees in some instances per the terms of the GoFundMe platform.


I’m on the Yelp website on my mobile phone. Why do I not see my fundraiser?

This feature is only currently available on the Yelp desktop site and the Yelp mobile app on iOS and Android.


What if I already have a GoFundMe for my business? Will the donations I already received be matched? Can I merge my two GoFundMe pages together?

GoFundMe cannot merge fundraisers. If you have already set up a GoFundMe for your business, you may keep that one running in addition to the fundraiser you’re eligible to create through this partnership. Remember, only fundraisers created through this partnership are eligible for matching funds from the Yelp Foundation and GoFundMe.