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Yelp is adding donate buttons for local businesses, promises to match first $1M

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Via a partnership with GoFundMe

Tapping the donate button will open up a businesses GoFundMe page.
Image: Yelp

You’ll soon be able to donate to local businesses struggling with coronavirus-related closures via their Yelp pages, the company announced today. As well as asking the public for donations, Yelp and GoFundMe are promising to match up to $1 million placed in donations through the service, and they’re working with other companies to contribute to the matching fund over time.

“COVID-19 has made it tough for local businesses and their employees. Share your support in these difficult times by donating,” the message placed on business pages will read, before assuring users that “All proceeds go directly to the business.”

The donation buttons will automatically be added to Yelp pages for a variety of businesses including restaurants, nightlife spots, beauty parlors, and fitness centers. Tapping the donate button will redirect users to the location’s GoFundMe page. However, Yelp is keen to emphasize that the fund is meant for local businesses, which will need to have fewer than five locations to be eligible.

GoFundMe campaigns have become an increasingly common occurrence as local businesses are forced to close as a result of the global pandemic. Our friends over at Eater have compiled lists of campaigns, which include GoFundMe fundraisers, across Chicago, Austin, and Philadelphia. The advantage of Yelp’s initiative is that it’s placing the donation links in a location where customers are likely to see it.

Eligible businesses will be automatically opted into having a GoFundMe fundraiser, a Yelp spokesperson confirmed. If a business wants to opt-out, Yelp says they’ll need to claim their fundraiser page before they can delete it. The donation button will then disappear from their Yelp listing, and any donations will be returned to their original donors.

The $1 million fund will be distributed in grants of $500 for businesses that raise at least $500 through the platform, Yelp says.

This is just the latest new feature that Yelp has promised for businesses hit by the pandemic. Last week it announced a range of new features to help businesses adapt, such as enabling “contact-free” delivery or helping businesses like tax offices or yoga studios make the switch to new online services. It also launched a $25 million relief fund for businesses in the form of waived advertising fees and free Yelp products and services.

The new donation buttons are rolling out across the US over the next two days, starting with the hardest hit areas today.

Update March 24th, 8:15AM ET: Updated with additional details from Yelp.