By Shannon Pettypiece
NEW YORK — Cameron Lownie went online just before midnight April 22 to check the fundraising page he'd started for a colleague seriously hurt in the Boston bombings.
The latest donation: $15,000 from an anonymous donor.
"I was just absolutely floored that someone would do that without even putting their name next to it," said Lownie, whose page on GoFundMe.com had raised more than $194,000 from about 2,500 different donors, mostly strangers.
Personal fundraising campaigns set up online for victims of the April 15 Boston bombings have raised more than $2.5 million as of Thursday, surpassing collections by at least one site after recent national tragedies. While the immediacy of the responses show the generosity of thousands, it also suggests that so- called crowd funding has carved a role in charitable giving because it yields faster results that go right to the recipient.
"It is easier for you to understand the impact of your dollar if you give it directly to the source as opposed to giving to a charity that has a lot of other funds," said Kevin Berg Kartaszewicz-Grell, research director for Crowdsourcing Inc. "With traditional sources, your money goes into a pot with a lot of other people's money. You're impact is larger when you go directly to the people in need."
On GoFundMe.com, more than $2.2 million has been raised from 36,000 donors, according to the website. The site has about 20 pages set up by friends or family members of those injured in the marathon attacks.
Donation pages set up on Fundly.com have raised more than $250,000 for a range of Boston related charities, from buying coffee for first responders to helping victims with medical bills, said Dave Boyce, Fundly Inc.'s chief executive officer. Indiegogo, a similar site, has raised $150,000 from 2,400 contributors for 77 Boston-related campaigns as of today.