Here’s How GoFundMe, Venmo & Other Platforms Have Amplified Mutual Aid Efforts

Volunteers from a London-based mutual aid group prepare food for community members who are in self-isolation and experiencing financial difficulties during COVID-19. Credit: Kate Green/Getty Images

Throughout 2020, folks faced what The Cut aptly described as "compounding crises." In addition to the devastating COVID-19 pandemic — which has disproportionately impacted Black, Indigenous and Latinx folks and resulted in the deaths of over 587,000 Americans as of May 19, 2021 — people have been grappling with high unemployment rates.

As a result, many folks have been unable to afford their rent, mortgage payments, medicine or food, among other essentials. And, in the wake of the police murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade and other Black Americans, people became more involved in organizing and activism, making the resurgence in Black Lives Matter protests the largest social movement in U.S. history.

As we discussed in our article about ways individuals can support the #StopAAPIHate movement, the community support we’ve seen over the last year hasn't been confined to protests and marches. "Against this backdrop, where large swathes of the country feel abandoned by the government, the concept of mutual aid is quickly gaining mainstream recognition," The Cut notes.

So, what is mutual aid? And how are fundraising platforms, like GoFundMe, and payment platforms, like Venmo, PayPal and Cash App, making funds more accessible — and visible?