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A conversation about the new GiveForward

Earlier this month, we officially launched the new GiveForward. After we learned from our users that crowdfunding isn’t enough, we decided to build features that empower communities to give in other ways.

For the past eight months, our product and coaching teams worked closely to develop a new GiveForward that is more useful to people facing challenges. Caiti, Product Manager, and Adrienne, Fundraising Coach, sat down to reflect on how the new GiveForward came about.


Adrienne and Caiti discuss the new GiveForward.

Caiti: The new GiveForward is finally here! I thought it’d be interesting to look back on this process and give people a behind-the-scenes look at our new direction.

Adrienne: Sounds good to me — I’m so excited about the new features. Where should we start?

Caiti: How about from the beginning? When we first started talking about expanding GiveForward, what did you think?

Adrienne: As a coach who talks to our users daily, I knew about the limitations of a fundraising focus. Building new ways to give, like coordinating meals and sending Thinking of You notes, felt like a logical next step. People were already doing these things to show they care, but they had to piece together different sites and services.

Caiti: The biggest thing that stuck with me was when we first started talking about it in an company-wide meeting. We realized fundraising is only a small component of much larger journeys. On average, a fundraiser lasts for 90 days, but people cope with life-changing events like a diagnosis or death in the family for much longer. Creating a place where people can connect and give in many ways without a closing date is important.

Adrienne: And it really clicked for us when we noticed that the things our users experience extend way beyond the scope of fundraising. I felt this personally after working closely with our users, following their stories, and then losing touch after their fundraisers closed.


The new GiveForward has many ways to support someone you care about.

Caiti: That’s so true — at each stage of a challenge, people can use different kinds of support. When we started opening our minds up that fact, other ideas began popping up, like the importance of keeping your community updated immediately after something difficult happens or giving meals or rides when a family’s routine is disrupted by treatments. 

Adrienne: Along those lines, communities want to help when someone they love is facing a major life event, but they don’t always know how. It’s also sometimes awkward for someone experiencing a difficult situation to express what kinds of support are most helpful. By creating different channels of support, we hope to transform that confusion and awkwardness into actions. Like, when you hear a friend of yours has cancer, your instinct isn’t to ask “How can I help?” — instead, you know something helpful you can do today, like schedule a house cleaning or share a favorite memory to make her feel less alone.

Caiti: That shift is really exciting for me. This year, we’ve built a base of some really great tools from our experiences working with communities since 2008. And there’s still so much we can do, from continuing to listen to feedback from our users to partnering with other companies. For example, even though people who live far away can’t deliver a home-cooked meal, they could easily order one to be delivered. Like you mentioned, adding an option for people to give a house cleaning is an awesome idea, too.

Adrienne: There’s also a lot of potential for families recovering from emergencies, like a house fire or a hurricane. In the wake of a disaster, families are seeking immediate housing options and replacing all the items they’ve lost like toiletries and clothing.

Caiti: All these new ways to give will really change the way people can show they care. I’ve been so inspired by our research, focus groups, and the past two months of beta testing. Since July, we’ve had over 1,600 new pages created and learned so much from these communities. We’ve witnessed a 322% increase in users returning within the first seven days, which proves people are finding more meaningful ways to connect beyond fundraising.

Adrienne: It’s been really cool to see. For example, the new Thinking of You feature has been one of our most popular. I really like that because I always hear how much kind words and emotional support mean during difficult times — great things will happen when you make it easy for a lot of people to show they’re thinking about someone.  

Caiti: Definitely! The Thinking of You feature is a nice example of moving beyond fundraising, too. In most cases, crowdfunding is a “one and done” action; you donate once and that’s it. When you can come back the next day and click on a heart to show you’re thinking of someone, you realize there are lots of meaningful ways you can show you care.

With Thinking of You, communities can show emotional support by clicking a button.

With Thinking of You, communities can show emotional support by clicking a button.

Adrienne: I’m not only looking forward to watching people continue to use all the current ways to give like Thinking of You, but eager to continue listening to our users so we can keep building new features that foster real support.

Caiti: We’ve worked very hard to expand GiveForward to be a central rallying place for giving and receiving all kinds of support. I’m proud that the launch came from listening closely to our users and thinking about their perspectives. When something happens that changes your life in an instant, you don’t have time to navigate around a lot of different sites, apps, and resources. Concentrating all these ways to give on one site will give families more time to focus on healing, grieving, or recovering from whatever they’re going through.

To read more about the new GiveForward, please visit

Whose world will you change?