Giving Compass' Take:

• Internet platforms have long made it possible to reward a stranger's act of kindness, or help them in a time of need. This was taken to a new level in 2018 as people started to make immediate impact using viral crowdfunding campaigns and raised record breaking amounts to help their communities. 

• What inspires people to donate to some more than others? How can people use these platforms more effectively? 

• Learn how crowdfunding impacts philanthropy.

When James Shaw Jr. decided to launch a GoFundMe in honor of victims of a deadly shooting at a Waffle House in Nashville earlier this year, he set a modest goal of $15,000.

Shaw, however, had just become famous as the "Waffle House hero" after tackling and disarming the alleged gunman. The GoFundMe he launched with a few of his friends quickly went viral, and it ultimately raised $241,000.

"I was doing it just to help out, 'cause I know losing a child in that kind of way, and you have to plan that funeral, as young as they were, they probably didn’t have insurance," says Shaw. "It was just my way of trying to ease the pain."

There’s kind people still out there. Honest people still out there.

As he watched money pour in from donors around the world, Shaw suddenly became the recipient of a separate viral GoFundMe campaign launched on his behalf by a journalist in New York. It was entitled "Help The Waffle House Hero."

Read the full article about the power of crowdfunding by Rebecca Ruiz at Mashable.