Detoxifying Taxes: Lessons from GoFundMe

Presenter: Lukas Illion

Research Category:
College: College of Social Sciences and Humanities
Major(s): Political Science
Graduation Date: 2021

More than $10 billion has been donated on GoFundMe since the website’s inception in 2010. In the United States especially, GoFundMe has attempted to fill gaps in the social safety net. This project seeks to figure out why some of the most successful campaigns on GoFundMe succeeded and how these fundraising tactics be applied to marketing increased taxes to fund social welfare programs in America. I will examine the most succesful campaigns on GoFundMe to date and analyze the rhetoric on the fundraiser itself and in the media covering the fundraiser. I will examine the most common fears and misconceptions about taxes in America and formulate methods to assuage these fears based on the tactics used in succssful fundraisers. Politicians can reframe the discussion on taxes using the rhetorical and psychological tactics employed by the fundraisers to ultimately rebuild the social safety net in America.