Ireland has been ranked as the most generous country in the world for the fourth year in a row by crowdfunding platform GoFundMe.
Irish people have made five million donations on the site in six years, totaling a quarter of €1 billion, GoFundMe CEO Tim Cadogan revealed on Thursday, October 5 while in Dublin.
He said Galway is the most generous county in Ireland based on the number of donations per capita, closely followed by Limerick and Cork.
The top five Irish charities to benefit from GoFundMe campaigns are the Irish Cancer Society, Pieta, The Irish Red Cross, Women's Aid, and The Alzheimer Society of Ireland.
Meanwhile, the most commonly used words in Irish GoFundMe campaigns are help, family, cancer, home, fundraiser, fight, fund, life, support, and treatment.
"Ireland is the only one of the 19 countries that we operate in, in which community-oriented fundraising is the leader," Cadogan said.
Dr. Gemma Donnelly-Cox, Co-Director of the Centre for Social Innovation at Trinity College Business School, told RTÉ News she believed Irish people were so generous because a sense of community is central to the Irish identity.
"The quality of being 'first off the blocks' to give time and money, to respond to need, is reflected in how GoFundMe is used here," she
"This spirit of community and rapid response underscores the unique generosity of Ireland on the GoFundMe platform."
Cadogan, who was in Dublin on Thursday to celebrate GoFundMe reaching five million donations in Ireland, said the crowdfunding platform has a team of experts working to ensure that GoFundMe campaigns are legitimate, stating that trust is "incredibly important" when it comes to donations.
"We have a very expert team who have been doing this for over a decade so they are using their knowledge and judgment and technology to look for any anomalies," Cadogan said.
"Every euro, every dollar, every pound goes through our third-party financial partners to verify a second time that the money is going to the right place, and only then is the money released to the beneficiaries.
"And then finally, we have the GoFundMe Giving Guarantee and that means if there is any problem, you will get your donation refunded.
He claimed that GoFundMe's fundraising tools have improved the effectiveness of crowd-funders by 20% and added that GoFundMe has follow-up verifications to ensure that any money raised is being spent appropriately.
However, he also said it is up to the organizations and individuals organizing the fundraising campaigns to "do with the money what they said they were going to do".
Cadogan alos told the Irish Examiner that GoFundMe has shut pages down in extreme cases.
"It actually doesn’t happen very much, the vast majority of the time, everything is super clear, it works well.
"But every now and then, things can get complicated. So, what we encourage the organiser to do is, be very clear with their updates as to what is going on," he said.
"Communication is key. Let people know what is going on all the way through.
"Sometimes people’s situations are complex. It is all emotional, none of us give for any reason other than for something emotional."