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Medical expenses can be debilitating to families, particularly if their insurance is inadequate for the amount of care needed. When a family discovers that their medical coverage is not going to be enough to take care of their loved one, a great deal of stress and worry falls upon them.
However, some have chosen to take matters into their own hands and start fundraisers to help provide some financial relief. Hosting campaigns to help cover medical expenses doesn’t have to be an uphill battle, and, with the right skills, success can certainly be within sight.
There are several ways to approach the issue. Here are a few ideas to help get you started so you can get a friend or loved one the care they need without stressful debt hanging over them.
Idea #1: Set a Date and a Goal
When undertaking any fundraising endeavor, you need to be honest and specific about your goals. Vague goals and fuzzy timelines don’t tend to inspire interest and urgency in potential donors. If supporters know what is needed and when it is needed, they are more likely to donate.
In regards to medical in particular, time is almost always limited and critical. Sooner is better when it comes to treatment. Donors will understand that and respect any timeline you impose. Specificity reigns supreme.
There is a big difference between telling potential donors “I need some money soon” and “I need $25,000 within the next two months or [insert consequence here].” By setting realistic goals and timelines, you provide yourself, your collaborators, and your donors with motivation to support the person who needs help.
It is even better if you can divide up your overall goal into smaller ones in order to make them more manageable. If you need to raise $25,000 for a loved one’s medical expenses, create five smaller goals of $5,000.
This way, both you and your donors are more motivated. A $100 donation feels like a measly drop in the bucket for a $25,000 since it is only four thousandths of what is needed.
However, if fifty people donate $100 for a $5,000 fundraising goal, you reach your goal. Both you and your donors feel more like you are all accomplishing something. Broadly speaking, several smaller goals make donating more appealing to potential donors who can feel that they would be actually making a noticeable difference with their donations.
Idea #2: Explain Your Cause
People need to know what they’re donating towards. List out what the current medical situation is, what the money is going towards, and why that particular donation pathway is needed.
Be sure to explain to your potential donors who it is that needs the medical assistance, what kind of medical assistance they need, where they are, and how these funds will help this person recover. Crowdfunding for medical expenses is an incredibly personal and emotional endeavor. Donors will be much more likely to contribute if your description of your cause reflects the situation in a realistic, heartfelt manner.
Making the situation transparent to donors is not only important to encouraging them to donate simply because someone needs help, but it also can inform them of the urgency of the situation.
Explain what the risks are if this person does not get the medical care needed. How time sensitive is the treatment or procedure?
In other words, explain how long the person has before further damage is done, before the efficiency of the procedure decreases, or likelihood of success drops. This lets potential donors know that there is a specific time frame in which they have to donate, making them more likely to do so.
Again, vague goals and timelines only create vague interest. People are less likely to think “I can take care of it later” and forget if they know that time is of the essence. Your explanations of the cause and the timeline and goals you set are going to work in conjunction with one another, so they need to pair well.
Idea #3: Get Some Help
Putting together a fundraising campaign is not an easy thing, so don’t be afraid to get some people together to give you a hand. Look to both your social circle and that of the person who needs help (if they are separate), and see if you can join forces to come up with a plan that will best suit your needs and audience. These people will make up your crowdfunding crew.
With you can have a main page and then let separate fundraisers set up their own subpages to campaign from and feed back into the general collection.
Word of mouth can make or break a campaign, so it is pivotal to have anyone helping you actively promoting it. Phone calls, emails, and social media posts will all make a difference.
As a result, you will vastly increase the number of people that you will reach in your endeavor, multiplying your contacts at least four times over. These people can also help you distribute flyers, e-mail contacts, and other methods for reaching and maintaining contact with your donors.
It also helps to see if these people would be willing to provide the first few donations. A fundraiser that already has a decent amount of money donated is more likely to encourage other donors to include their finances, as it seems as though the goal is more attainable now that it is already under way.
You can also get the community to help in various ways, such as having a local business offer to match any donations or donate supplies to help in your fundraising cause. (Note: it’s best to approach local business first, as opposed to larger national/international companies, as many people prefer to keep their charitable donations within a certain distance).
The silver lining in these serious and often dire circumstances is the outpouring of support these crowdfunding campaigns can generate from family, friends, and the community at large. Illness can be very lonely and isolating. Crowdfunding campaigns are an excellent way to rally behind someone just when she needs support the most.
Idea #4: Get The Word Out
Okay, so now you have a goal, you have your explanation ready, and you have a plan of how you’re going to achieve that goal. It’s time to let the world know that this person needs help and you’re trying to raise money to help.
One of the most convenient methods for getting the word out is definitely through social media. Facebook is a useful tool for spreading the word about fundraisers, even if only a small portion of the people on your list of friends see you ask for help this way (the first time around, at least; you should be persistent, as it will increase the chances that someone who missed your post initially will see it).
Many fundraisers that raise more than $10,000 do so thanks to social media usage, and Facebook is one of the most commonly used forms of social media with over 1 billion users. It is also a good idea to set up a group for the fundraiser and invite your friends to join. Then, have them invite their friends, and so on. Your reach will be much greater than if you rely on posts alone.
Peer-to-peer fundraising usually succeeds thanks to a deep bench of community support. When using an online crowdfunding platform, you need to build that community support online, and social media is the best way of doing so.
Don’t forget about more traditional forms of media, though. As previously mentioned, people prefer to donate within their own communities.
Talk to your local news and radio stations about sending out a statement about the person who needs medical care and the fundraiser that you have started to help them. Ask the local newspaper to feature a small article or advertisement for your fundraiser.
Remember, not everyone that would be interested in donating is going to be computer savvy. Appeal to more potential donors by varying your methods of communication.
Idea #5: If You Can, Try to Reach Out in Person
This doesn’t necessarily mean going out on the street and handing out flyers or setting up a booth at the grocery store (though this is also an option). You can host an event of some kind, such as a fun run or concert, and get people in the community to donate food, beverages, prizes, or other resources to bring the community together to help raise money to aid with your friend or loved one’s expenses.
Rallying the community could also bring more media attention to your cause, and more media attention means more potential donors are learning about it.
Idea #6: Keep Your Donors Updated
Make sure your donors stay updated on the medical condition of the person for whom you are raising money.
Post pictures and updates via the Facebook group you created. Send out emails that let your donors know how much you have raised and how close to your goals you have come. Let them know how much more is needed to achieve those goals. Let them know when they can visit the patient and where to send any gifts or get-well cards.
If you make sure they stay connected, they will care more, and maybe they’ll even donate more to the cause or spread the word even farther.
Idea #7: Thank Your Donors
Thank your donors after every achievement! Contributing to a good cause might not be something done for the praise, but it’s nice to be appreciated. Make sure they know that you are grateful for everything they are doing.
You wouldn’t achieve these goals without them, so shout out on social media, thank them via e-mail, and let them know when you reach each milestone (such as $1,000, $2,500, $5,000, etc.). With each “thank you,” you should also refer back to the last tip: keep them informed of the patient’s progress. It makes them feel as though they’ve accomplished something good, and it may encourage repeat donations and further outreach.
Medical expenses are tough to handle, and they can be devastating to the financial well-being of patients and their families, but you can absolutely help.
Take these seven tips into consideration, and you’ll be well on your way to helping that friend or family member on the road to recovery.
Fundly allows people across the country to read your story, share your fundraising page, and donate to your cause. And because we have made medical fundraising simple, you can have more time to spend on getting you, or your loved one, on the road to recovery.
Consider starting a free medical fundraiser on Fundly. Let us give you back the hope and healing you have lost.
For ideas, look over the medical fundraisers going on right now.
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