Convoy Finance: Digging in and diversifying away from GoFundMe
Part 1a of the convoy finance series
As most of you probably know, I usually publish my newsletters on Tuesdays and sometimes on Thursdays. But given the “fluid” situation with the convoy protest in Ottawa, I’m releasing this special, supplemental analysis on a Friday afternoon. There are still lots of outstanding questions in my mind about the funding, but I’ve managed to gather a lot more information that is worth sharing sooner rather than later. Take good care this weekend if you’re in Ottawa (as I am). And again – a huge thank you to all of you for supporting this work!
Updated 13 February 2022
The money flows – and so do supplies
There are a lot of information gaps in terms of the convoy finances at this stage, but there’s one thing that’s clear: money is flowing to the protesters. The protesters appear to have established a logistics base near St Laurent Mall in Ottawa’s East. The size of the base, and the activities that appear to be conducted there, suggest that there are significant funds at play. They appear to have ample supplies, have established logistics bases in the downtown core (some of which seem to be dismantled, and perhaps re-established), have no shortage of fuel to keep the trucks running, and are paying hotel and food bills. While GoFundMe said that the funds were released to bulk fuel purchasers, this remains unverified. Clearly, the protesters are getting funding from somewhere: this could be from their other campaigns (detailed below), or from personal funds (self-financing).
Current GoFundMe status
The GoFundMe fundraiser, which has currently raised over $10 million, remains paused and under review by GoFundMe. According to some reporting (and social media posts), some donors have started to receive refunds. If GoFundMe cancels the fundraiser, I would expect to see widespread social media reporting of refunds. But the convoy organizers appear to have diversified their fundraising activities significantly — the pause and potential closure or cancellation of the campaign will not stop the protest, as I describe below.