Pete and Bev Williams are raising money they need to start up their church in Red Bluff, Calif., through YouCaring.com.
They posted their cause on Sept. 15 and received donations from as far away as New Zealand.
YouCaring.com is a new web-based fundraising site. It is free. The only charge is the PayPal transaction fee.
The site was started, in part, by Luke Miner who graduated from East Linn Christian Academy in 2008. Miner recently completed a three-year course of Biblical studies at the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry in Redding, Calif.
During his time at Bethel, Miner met Daniel Volger and Brock Ketcher. Together they developed YouCaring.com.
“One of the biggest things is that we saw a need,” Miner said. “There wasn’t really a clear way to fundraise or help people out online.”
YouCaring.com lends itself to a range of causes.
Currently in its beta phase, YouCaring.com has 13 fundraisers established and 12 more individuals in the process of creating fundraisers, Miner said.
The site was created with the intention of giving users privacy. Causes are not publicly searchable by default.
Each user receives an individual URL to distribute as they choose.
Miner said they want to respect the privacy of those who may be raising money for more personal causes such as adoption or medical issues, but there is an option to make a cause public.
“People can see your pictures and videos. They see your progress. They can follow your deadlines,” Miner said. “It’s really a community thing.”
The Williams’ were the first to sign up at YouCaring and using the fundraising site in combination with other methods to raise the amount needed for their project.
“For us it was pretty simple. I’m not especially computer literate; it really is just sharing your heart,” Bev Williams said.
Others who have posted publicly on the site are raising money for tuition and missions trips.
Miner’s brother Joseph is raising money to travel to Haiti.
His cause description states they already have money to build 40 homes there, but he needs to raise money to get there to help build.
“More important than the simple production of homes, however, is the hope that these homes will provide for many Haitian families,” Joseph Miner posted.
While most of the causes so far are religious-based, that is not a requirement.
The methods people choose to raise money can be as varied as the causes.
One publicly posted cause seeks to raise money for school technology by having a community member spend the weekend on the roof of a local restaurant. They hope to raise $30,000.
“Our goal is to be very user-driven,” Miner said.