Jeff Donn

The more than 430 fundraisers posted on the GoFundMe website after the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., have exposed weaknesses inherent in these popular do-it-yourself charity campaigns: waste, questionable intentions and little oversight.

The fundraisers — an average of more than four for each of the 49 killed and 53 wounded — include travelers asking for cash, a practitioner of ancient healing, a personal safety instructor who sells quick loaders for assault rifles, and even convicted identity impostors.

“There was a deluge,” said Holly Salmons, president of the Better Business Bureau for Central Florida. “It was almost impossible for us or anyone else to be able to vet.”

The crowdfunding sites operate outside traditional charitable circles and often beyond the reach of government regulation. Appeals can be created in minutes by almost anyone.

The officially sanctioned Equality Florida campaign raised more than $7 million via GoFundMe, but another $1.3 million went to smaller appeals — mostly set up by people with little or no charity experience.

The Associated Press examined 30 campaigns chosen from throughout the lengthy list produced by a GoFundMe search for “Orlando shootings.” Within a month of the June 12 shootings, they had raised more than $265,000.

Half said donations would be used for legitimate-sounding purposes: to cover funeral, medical and other costs. Some campaign organizers were relatives of the dead or wounded. A high school basketball coach raised $15,297 for the family of Akyra Murray, a star player who had just graduated before dying in the attack.

But most campaigns lacked key details, such as exactly what the donations would cover or even who was asking for them. Only nine of the 30 organizers agreed to interviews.

One organizer raised just $25 for travel money to hold a community healing ceremony inspired by ancient shamanic rituals. She dropped that plan in favor of sending painted rocks with an inspiring word of support.

Jackson Yauck of Victoria, British Columbia, put up a lighthearted appeal to let the highest donor burn a pair of skimpy gold-colored shorts he wore to gay-pride events. He had created the appeal on Jan. 1 on behalf of other charities and when he tried to switch it to benefit the Orlando victims, GoFundMe froze his account, he said. He agreed to transfer the donations to Equality Florida, and GoFundMe let the appeal go forward.

“It was just for fun. If you look at the bigger picture, we raised $600 off a pair of underwear,” he said.

Several businesses asked for contributions. One appeal raised $1,375 from 14 donors within two months to keep open a hair salon run by partners killed in the attack.

Weapons-accessory dealer Craig Berberich, of Bradenton, Fla., proposed holding public classes on personal safety. He said he “wasn’t trying to promote my business.”

He said he was shutting down his appeal. It remained online over a month later — but with only $100 in donations. Among his store products: a high-speed loader for assault weapons.

Florida charities law generally requires no filings by crowdfunding campaigns meant for particular victims or their families or in support of other established charities. That accounts for the vast majority of appeals. Other states apply a patchwork of laws.

Bobby Whithorne, a GoFundMe spokesman, said the website’s staffers were vetting the Orlando campaigns before releasing funds.

The bigger charities — unlike many crowdfunding campaigns — give timetables for distributing aid, and detail recipients and how decisions are made. Ken Feinberg, administrator for an official centralized campaign that raised more than $23 million, has already held two town hall meetings with survivors and family members of the victims.

In one crowdfunding campaign, friends Guardini Bellefleur and Demetrice Naulings asked for $25,000 to set up a vaguely defined foundation in memory of Eddie Justice, a friend of Naulings killed in the shootings.

Six people donated $253.

Wilhemina Justice said no one consulted her about the appeal in her son’s name or made arrangements to give her proceeds. “To me, it’s fraud,” she said.