A GoFundMe page to raise funds for President Donald Trump's border wall project, created December 16 Raised more than $ 19.7 million in just over three weeks with an ultimate goal of $ 1 billionand inspired at least one competing ladder payment page to allow visitors to cross the wall (this page has up to now raised over $ 160,805 with a target of $ 100 million after being established on December 19).

The pages dedicated to the duel are the latest example of how crowdfunding sites have become political battlegrounds in an increasingly divided America, with money quickly collected, a weapon used to support causes at both ends of the political spectrum.

But who has the upper hand? Donations to the fundraising site GoFundMe in 2018 and larger campaigns can reveal the political tendencies of many donors.

Do not miss: Trump calls "crisis" illegal immigration, but does not declare urgency

Two of the six most popular funds created last year: the # Time Fund, a legal defense fund inspired by Metoo (No. 1 with $ 24.2 million) and the gun control campaign. for our lives (No. 4 with $ 15.1 million). President Trump's GoFundMe page, a cause largely backed by the Conservatives, remains at No. 2.

Many people using GoFundMe in 2018 also made a donation for the first time. In fact, 61% of those who donated money in 2018 were first-time donors. (The most dynamic gift areas are events, family and animals.)

It is unclear whether progressive causes are traditionally more popular at crowdfunding sites like GoFundMe or if there is simply a backlash or, at the very least, a strong emotional reaction to some of the president's most controversial policies Trump in social and political matters. In addition to the president's commitment to build a wall on the southern border with Mexico, for example, Trump has pledged to limit the number of immigrants and refugees entering the United States.

"People can vote for Donald Trump and hate the separation of children. They can vote Democrat and keep thinking that the wall is a good idea. "

-David L. Thompson, Vice President of Public Policy, National Council of Nonprofit Organizations.

"It's not surprising that political causes are popular this year, as left-wing members are really angry at right-wing politics," said David Callahan, author of "Generators: Wealth, Power and Philanthropy at Work." New Golden Age "and founder of In philanthropy, who, like all commentators in this story, spoke to MarketWatch before the Trump Border Wall's GoFundMe page was created. "But in a few years, if we have a Democratic president, we may have a lot of successful crowdfunding from the right."

The latest figures from GoFundMe, released earlier this month, are corroborated by other recent data on charities, which show a clear increase in the number of progressive social and scientific causes. The number of gender conversion campaigns on YouCaring, a crowdfunding platform purchased by GoFundMe in 2018, has increased by 78% over one year, fertility treatments have increased by 36.5% and causes of social justice of 34%.

People seem to have found a way to make a difference with their smartphones instead of "liking" the posts on Facebook and Twitter.

TWTR, + 2.60%

"It is striking that the number of fundraisers whose main theme is" immigration "has increased 117% over the last year and 112% for" climate change ", although the two represent a relatively small proportion of all YouCaring fundraisers, "according to the organization's annual report released earlier this year.

Do not miss: Dueling GoFundMe pages raise $ 500,000 each for Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford

"It is not surprising that political causes are popular this year, because leftist people are really angry at right-wing politics."

-David Callahan, author of "Donors: Wealth, Power and Philanthropy to a New Golden Era"

"It's all about timing," said David L. Thompson, vice president of public policy for the National Council of Nonprofit Organizations, the largest network of nonprofit organizations in the country. "Younger donors ask," What are the hot issues? "You donate to the help of your phone.It is one of the critical points that affect people who do not have a habit of having a philanthropic budget and those who are not, participate in long-standing movements. "

Each administration brings its own set of policies and each generation its causes, he said. "Was it the Obama administration? Maybe it would have been more conservative, "he added. "This administration has caused people to react. It may sound liberal now, but it's a question of timing. When you participate in crowdfunding, you do not think about tax deductions for charities, you act according to your emotions of the day. "

The 24/7 news cycle triggers the mobilization of people and helps to generate donations, he added. "Unless they give to a political party, people react to politics and the news," said Thompson. "People can vote for Donald Trump and hate the separation of children. They can vote Democrat and keep thinking that the wall is a good idea. Policies are what people respond to. When people react to immigration, they respond to a public policy problem. "

Look also: How to avoid GoFundMe scams on #GivingTuesday

Politics means different things to different people, he said. "For that reason, I do not use the word politics," Thompson says. "You can talk to five people and come up with seven definitions of what politics means. Young people are more agitated. These problems arouse a strong reaction and they want to do something about it. Most people are just a click away from giving to a cause that is important to them. "It's very easy to do something about it now," he added.

There is, however, another reason why Thompson avoids talking about "conservative" and "liberal" when he talks about giving. Charities do not tend to get involved in Capitol Hill's machinations and avoid supporting or denouncing political figures. "To maintain their tax-exempt status, nonprofit charities can not be politically partisan, but they may have strong public notice on issues such as immigration, abortion, or marriage, "he said. "The majority of nonprofit charities like that."

In addition, Alaska – a "red" state that voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election with 51.2% of the vote – was named as the most generous state in 2018. However, Alaska was followed by a multitude of "blue" states. who voted for Hillary Clinton: Massachusetts, Colorado, Washington and Vermont, California, New Hampshire, Connecticut, New Jersey and Oregon. (The results were calculated as per capita donations.)

"The number of fundraisers for which immigration is a key issue has increased 117% over the last year and 112% in the face of climate change."

-Your 2018 report

Another dynamic: the 2018 YouCaring report found that women are on average twice as likely to donate money online as men, younger generations with lower gender differences in gifting. However, when men donate online, they tend to donate more money than women. This could be because they tend to earn more. (Government data suggests that women earn about 83 cents for every dollar earned by a man, a problem influenced in part by the occupation.)

Look also: The middle classes in difficulty give less to charity, but the gifts of the rich

Global donations are on the rise: "Giving Tuesday", which fell November 27 this year and is expected to revive the charitable holiday season, reached a record $ 1 billion in donations in 2018, up 27% compared to the previous year. previously, with over 380 million dollars donated by the Americans. Other platforms have set up Facebook's own donation platforms and social networks.

FB, -0.02%

fundraising features have raised more than one billion dollars since their introduction in 2015.

Here are the top 6 fundraising campaigns on GoFundMe in 2018, including President Trump's Border Wall campaign:

1. Time's Up Legal Defense: $ 24.2 Million

Leaf raise funds for legal defense funds The fight against sexual discrimination in the workplace has raised more than $ 24.2 million since its creation on December 20. This page was created in response to the growing #MeToo movement, in which women shared their experiences of harassment and sexual assault.

The move has raised a huge amount since it took off in October 2017, according to Larry Lieberman, Charity Navigator's Director of Operations, with:several tens of millions"Go to the women's cause as a result of issues raised. GoFundMe Time's Up funds will be managed by the National Center for Women's Rights, a national association for the defense of women's legal rights. He is still active and will continue to receive donations in 2019.

2. We, the people, will finance the wall: $ 19.7 million

Brian Kolfagewho is a veteran and Purple Heart Recipient, wrote: "Like the majority of those American citizens who voted for the election of President Donald J. Trump, we voted for him: Make America Great Again. The main election promise of President Trump was to BUILD THE WALL. And as he has respected just about all the promises so far, this wall project has yet to be completed. "

"As a veteran who has given so much, 3 members, I feel deeply invested in this country so that future generations will have everything we have today. Too many Americans have been murdered by illegal and too illegal aliens are taking advantage of American taxpayers without any way to contribute to our society.

3. Humbolt Broncos Fund: $ 15.1 million

Tragic accidents can hit people hard and help them dig into their pockets. One of the most successful fundraisers in GoFundMe's history was the "Humbolt Broncos Fund" page, which raised more than C $ 15.1 million (US $ 11.4) for families of the Canadian hockey team killed in a bus accident in April 2018.

The page was viewed 1.9 million people within 24 hours of being posted and more than 90,000 donations from 65 countries in just a few days. According to Rob Solomon, President and CEO of GoFundMe, fundraisers after reading tragic articles or watching television reports have been a trend throughout 2018. "This year we saw the social fundraising become an integral part of the larger movements that inspire others, "he said in a statement.

4. March for our lives: $ 3.6 million

After mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on February 14, which killed 17 people, more than 60 fundraisers were launched. "Walk for our livesThe anti-armed violence movement launched by teenagers affected by the tragedy. Fundraisers have been created for similar movements across the country to support more stringent regulation of firearms ownership, the GoFundMe report said.

Social activism and donations among young people are on the rise, Solomon said. "It is clear that with the youth of today, we are witnessing the next generation of change makers," he said. "They borrow techniques from their predecessors, such as marches and demonstrations, but they also exploit the most powerful new tools at their disposal: social networks."

5. Houses for Rohingya refugees: $ 2.1 million

Of course, many campaigns are non-partisan. Nearly 700,000 refugees have arrived in Bangladesh in recent months, "after being violently expelled from their homes by Buddhist extremists in Myanmar". the Rohingya Refugee Homes page indicates. "They have lived and witnessed many atrocities. Most of these refugees settled in two sprawling camps just on the border: Kutupalong and Balukhali. While aid agencies such as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees are doing their best to cope with the humanitarian crisis, most refugees have only the basic elements they need to survive. "

6. Tree of Life Synagogue Fund: $ 1.26 million

Another fundraising activity stemming from a public tragedy, the Tree of Life Synagogue Fund page, still receiving donations and has raised more than $ 1.26 million since its inception Oct. 27 as a result of a large-scale shootings in a Pittsburgh synagogue, which claimed the lives of 11 people. "Respond to this hateful act by your act of love today," says the description of the charity. In addition to this GoFundMe, there was a 1000% increase in donations to Jewish groups, CharityNavigator.org found.

In the end, donations via smartphone are probably based on what's happening right now. A donor could be stimulated by a television advertisement, a cable debate or a conversation at a dinner party. Emotion, not politics, matters the most, added Callahan. "Crowdfunding is more successful when it is fueled by some kind of strong emotion, whether it is personal, social or political," he says. "After the mass shootings, you will often see crowdfunding for these problems."

This story was last updated on January 9, 2019.

Get a daily summary of key personal finance readings in your inbox. Subscribe to MarketWatch's Personal Finance Daily free newsletter. Register here.