Yelp, GoFundMe Join Forces to Help Local Businesses During the Coronavirus Pandemic

GoFundMe fundraisers will appear on Yelp business pages, and the two companies will match up to $1 million in donations

The process will begin in some of the hardest-hit areas Tuesday Yelp/GoFundMe
Headshot of David Cohen

Yelp is teaming up with GoFundMe on an initiative to help raise money for local businesses that have been forced to close or otherwise impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

The partnership follows Yelp’s move last week to provide $25 million in relief for independent local restaurant and nightlife businesses by waiving advertising fees and providing free ads, products and services.

GoFundMe fundraisers will begin automatically appearing on the Yelp pages for restaurants, nightlife, beauty and fitness/active life businesses, and Yelp users will see a Donate icon on those business’ profiles, enabling them to donate directly within Yelp.

The process will begin in some of the hardest-hit areas Tuesday, and it will be rolled out to all eligible businesses across the U.S. within the next two days.

In order to quality, a business must have a claimed Yelp page and fewer than five locations.

The Yelp Foundation, GoFundMe and fellow partner QuickBooks said they will match up to $1 million in donations, adding that they expect additional companies to join in over the next week.

Eligible businesses that raise at least $500 via GoFundMe will receive $500 matching grants from nonprofit charitable arm until the Small Business Relief Fund it created is depleted.

Yelp senior vice president of business and corporate development Chad Richard said in a blog post Tuesday that the company’s data shows that U.S. consumer interest in restaurants is down 67% since March 10, and other businesses have taken larger hits, with yoga studios seeing a 78% drop in interest and breweries down 85%.

He wrote, “Many businesses have been required to temporarily close, making it seemingly impossible to continue to pay their staff and cover rent. Fortunately, loyal customers want to help them weather this unprecedented crisis and are looking for ways to make an immediate impact. Businesses that are able to remain open are adapting in an effort to stay afloat while supporting their customers: Restaurants are offering delivery and takeout, and fitness studios have turned to virtual classes. It’s our hope that with the funds raised through this partnership, businesses will be able to support their employees and cover immediate expenses so that they’re in a better position to continue operating through this crisis, or be able to reopen their doors once we overcome it.” David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.