WKYT Reality Check: Online crowd funding

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Brandy Mellow watched in horror as a kitten was thrown from the car in front of her in Georgetown earlier this month. She stopped her car, got out and took the kitten to a veterinarian in Lexington. "I was looking at her on the table and I told her I'd take care of her. I wouldn't leave her," Mellow recalls.

Care for the kitten, named "Lilo," quickly became costly. She had a shattered right hind leg. Mellow found www.gofundme.com, a website where she could ask people for help. "We raised $1600," she said.

"People's heart strings can be tugged very strongly by some of these causes and some can be good," explained Heather Clary with the Better Business Bureau. She said no complaints have been filed concerning online crowd funding sites like www.gofundme.com, but someone donating through such sites should have their guard up. "Be comfortable and know who you're giving to because this is simply a gift."

Five percent of every donation for www.gofundme.com goes to the website. Another 2.9 percent, according to the site, goes to the online pay service.

CPA David Prewitt says donations made through sites like www.gofundme.com are not a tax write off, or a tax event in general. "If a person gives money to another person or family to help them out in a hard time, that's not a tax-deductible contribution."

Even though there's no tax incentive for the giver, and there are fees for both sides, Mellow said she was able to reach people she couldn't without the crowd funding site. "I wouldn't have been able to raise the money without them so that's understandable that they would take that percentage."

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