Update as of April 13: After pausing the rollout of the GoFundMe partnership, we have worked with GoFundMe to provide a seamless way for businesses to opt into the feature, as we received a great deal of interest and support for the program from both consumers and businesses alike.
The impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has been incredibly challenging for small businesses, but it has been particularly devastating for “main street” local businesses that normally do the majority of their business in person. Our data shows that U.S. consumer interest for restaurants has fallen 67% since March 10, and businesses like yoga studios and breweries have seen large decreases of 78% and 85%, respectively, due to social distancing measures.* Many businesses have been required to temporarily close, making it seemingly impossible to continue to pay their staff and cover rent. Fortunately, loyal customers want to help them weather this unprecedented crisis and are looking for ways to make an immediate impact.
On the heels of our announcement of $25 million relief for local businesses, today, Yelp is announcing a partnership with GoFundMe, the world’s largest social fundraising platform, to provide a fast and simple way for independent businesses to start fundraisers and accept donations through their Yelp pages. Together, Yelp and GoFundMe are making it easy for people to donate directly to the businesses they love, and support their communities, during this challenging time.
We are working with GoFundMe to provide a seamless way for businesses hit hardest by the pandemic to start fundraisers that can be displayed on their Yelp pages. Users will see a “Donate” icon on participating businesses’ Yelp page, inspiring them to take action. This gives the community a simple and easy way to show support for their favorite local businesses.
To kickstart this effort and help communities support the businesses that they love, the Yelp Foundation and GoFundMe have pledged to match up to $1 million in donations, with a $500 matching grant to eligible businesses that raise at least $500 on their GoFundMe.** Additional companies are expected to contribute to the matching fund over the next week, in order to help provide much-needed aid to even more businesses around the country.
Restaurants, nightlife, beauty and fitness and active life businesses are eligible for the GoFundMe feature on Yelp. Businesses must have a claimed Yelp page to participate, and five or fewer locations.
Businesses that are able to remain open are adapting in an effort to stay afloat while supporting their customers: Restaurants are offering delivery and takeout, and fitness studios have turned to virtual classes. It’s our hope that with the funds raised through this partnership, businesses will be able to support their employees and cover immediate expenses so that they’re in a better position to continue operating through this crisis, or able to reopen their doors once we overcome it.
More details on our partnership with GoFundMe and eligibility for participation can be found here. In addition to our recently announced relief for local businesses, this is another piece of our larger effort to respond to the widespread impact of this pandemic, and we’re continuing to explore different ways to address the challenges faced by our community.
*For more data please refer to the Yelp: Coronavirus Economic Impact Report.
**GoFundMe.org, the company’s nonprofit and charitable arm, has launched the Small Business Relief Fund where people can donate to support the overall initiative. Until the fund is depleted, donations to the relief fund will be paid out as one-time $500 matching grants to qualifying small businesses that created a fundraiser through the Small Business Relief Initiative or already had an existing GoFundMe. For fundraisers started prior to this announcement or outside of this partnership, the organizer can update their fundraiser description with the hashtag #SmallBusinessRelief to receive an email explaining how they can apply for a grant from the Small Business Relief Fund.