PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — One of the latest trends in fundraising allows people to create a website and pair it with social media to raise money for just about anything.

It’s called “crowdfunding,” and it’s exactly what the name suggests. You collect money from a crowd of people for various causes.

Facebook and Twitter both play a huge role. And it’s really catching on here in Pittsburgh.

For Nicole Matich, getting ready for the Pittsburgh Marathon is more than just the hours she spends training.

“My father had heart arrhythmia, which means his heart fluttered, which means he was more susceptible than the typical adult to get a heart attack,” Matich said.

His heart attack came while exercising on a treadmill. He was 54.

“My sister and I were very close to him and he was the best father on this planet,” said Matich. “He just loved us so much.”

So in honor of her dad, Matich decided to run the marathon and raise money for the American Heart Association. For help with that, she turned to the crowdfunding website, GoFundMe.com.

“When I found GoFundMe, I explored the site and I tested it out and it was so simple,” said Matich.

She says it only took 10 minutes to create her website. She uploaded a picture, wrote a brief story about her dad and put the link on her Facebook and Twitter pages.

That was in December. Since then, donations have come in from friends, family and strangers. She surpassed her goal of $1,000 within a just few weeks.

“Crowdfunding” is becoming more and more popular. It’s being used to help people raise money for medical bills, school field trips and for an 84-year-old woman who’s trying to relocate to a Pittsburgh nursing home after being forced from New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy.

KDKA’s Kimberly Gill spoke to GoFundMe’s CEO Brad Damphousse via Skype.

“’Crowdfunding’ really empowers individuals to affect positive change in their lives and in the lives of people they care about,” Damphousse. “It’s really empowering to the donors because they know exactly where their money is going in a very targeted way, and that’s not something you always get when you give to a big non-profit or charity.”

GoFundMe will automatically deduct a five percent fee from each donation.

If you don’t receive any donations, you don’t pay anything. But it’s up to the donor to decide if the campaign is legit.

“For our personal donation campaigns, our advice is to donate to people you know and trust,” Damphousse said.

But there’s no question of trust when you use the site’s certified charity feature as Matich did. This way, donations never come in contact with the user. Instead, it goes directly to the non-profit or charity selected.

There are other websites that offer similar services, such as Kickstarter.

If you’d like to donate to Matich’s fundraising efforts or to find other causes to donate to in the Pittsburgh area, you can type in your zip code in the search feature:

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