In America there are 52 million adults with medical debt. With limited financial assistance options available, fundraising for medical expenses has been proven to help families reduce the financial burden of illness.
There are many benefits to using fundraising websites to help cover the cost of your medical bills. Online fundraising allows patients to raise the funds they need for medical treatment in a short period of time. It can reach hundreds of people compared to other forms of financial assistance. Fundraisers will also be able to have full control as to how the raised funds are used. Compared to seeking financial assistance from financial assistance programs or non-profit organizations, individuals can decide how best to use the funds to ensure the best outcome for the patient.
Top 10 Tips When Fundraising For Medical Expenses
Although thousands of families across the United States have used fundraisers in the past to pay for their medical bills, not all medical fundraisers are successful in reaching their goal. There are many elements and factors that make a successful fundraiser. The key is to be as involved and proactive as possible. Here are ten tips to building a successful campaign.
1. Have An Online Presence
You’ve probably heard of the growing trend of crowdfunding. This buzz word refers to the act of crowd sourcing funds from individuals for a goal, mission or cause has become widely popular in the United States. Medical crowdfunding is a segment of this growing trend, where families are using crowd sourcing platforms to raise funds for medical expenses.
Creating an online fundraiser through a crowdfunding website should be your first step. Keep in mind that most websites that offer this service charge a fee or percent off every donation that you receive. One alternative to ensure that all funds you raise go to you is called PeoplePledge. PeoplePledge is a free medical crowdfunding website that allows families across the US to raise funds for medical expenses. This means you can create and run a fundraiser completely for free.
With millions of Americans using the internet on a daily basis, online fundraisers have been the proven method of sourcing donations from all over the world. Unlike other forms of fundraising, you have the ability to receive donations at any time of the day and night. No longer will you have to limit your fundraising efforts to one particular day event, which can often have time and locality constraints.
2. Ask For What You Need
There’s always a limit to how much you can fundraise. Supporters can often feel a sense of ‘donor fatigue’ if you are constantly fundraising and asking for money.
The best way to approach fundraising is to ask for what you really need. Honesty is the best policy when it comes to approaching family and friends for support. The more genuine you are with your fundraising approach, the more likely your family and friends will contribute.
Being humble about the situation can come along way in helping you reach your fundraising goals. That’s why when setting up a fundraiser, it’s always best to get the help of a lead fundraiser. This person is generally an individual who is not the beneficiary but is either a family member, work colleague or close friend.
Before setting up a fundraising page online, take the time to figure out the actually costs involved with treatment and any expenses that you will need to cover. Deduct this with any savings or money you have already set aside for these treatments. The difference between these should be the amount you aim to raise.
Make sure that you add a buffer to that amount in case there are unexpected costs ahead. Work out what you actually need and avoid setting a goal for a fundraiser that is not tangible to reach.
Breaking down the goals as well can also help you encourage supporters in smaller steps along the way. By breaking down the goals into smaller achievable goals, you may be able to quickly reach your overall goal a lot faster.
3. Double The Impact
Traditional forms of fundraising can still be effective when they are combined with online fundraising efforts. This helps you reach more potential donors and get twice the impact as you normally would otherwise.
Ideas such as auctions and community events are great ways to compliment what you are doing online. Offline fundraising events provide a way for families to give something in return of a donation. Hence, it can create incentives for supporters to want to donate even more.
Not only will you be able to get donations from attendees, you can also attract supporters to your online fundraiser. This can be easily done by providing the link to your online fundraiser as an alternative way to make a donation.
Some donors may find donating online more easy through a bank transfer or an online transfer. It can also mean for supporters who cannot attend an event or a fundraiser, the ability to still show their support online.
Offline fundraisers are also great to show your presence in the community and your social networks. It can create greater buzz and interest to your fundraiser, while also leaving a supporter feeling more connected to the cause.
4. Get Media Involved
Newspapers, radio stations, and other forms of media love to find out about a social cause like yours. This is particularly great when the topic such as health care is a debatable and newsworthy topic. Getting the media involved can help spread awareness about your fundraiser and lead to potential public donations and supporters.
Tapping into their a large viewership and readership can propel your fundraiser to the next level. This can often boost your fundraiser overnight.
Best practices are often when you setup a story in the first weeks of your fundraiser and ensure that they include a link to your fundraiser online. This will help draw new potential supporters from the community. You can also follow this up with a followup story once the fundraiser ends to show case the impact the donations have made thus far.
5. Share Your Story Effectively
When it comes to fundraising for medical expenses, it is important to remember that your story is your selling point and your product. Without it, supporters are less likely to feel connected or incline to help. Your story is your way of communicating to your supporters directly.
When writing your story one suggestion is to include how the funds will be used. This will help inform your supporters what you intend on using the funds for and what the purpose of the funds are. Being specific can be helpful such as to pay for a lifesaving treatment.
Creating a sense of urgency can also help supporters feel they need to act now before it’s too late. This can be done by setting a deadline to your fundraiser of when you actually need the funds to help pay for the treatment.
Including photos can also help share your story visually. This can also help break up your story to make the fundraising page more appealing.
6. Social Influence
Social media now plays a huge role in our everyday lives in terms of how we connect with people. With these tools already at your disposal, it can be extremely beneficial to use them for your fundraiser as well.
This means, sharing your fundraiser on your social media accounts, ensuring that you are using hashtags to get public supporters and even sharing your fundraiser on facebook pages that are relevant to your cause.
You can also actively create a google page or facebook page about your fundraiser. This can help create more buzz and attract more donors to your fundraising page.
Emails are also an effective way to reach more of your contacts, particularly for family and friends who may not be active on social media websites like Facebook and Twitter. Sending personalized emails can help create more of a personal connection to the supporter.
7. Give Recognition To Your Supporters
Another big part of what makes a successful fundraiser is whether or not you as the fundraiser acknowledge your donors’ efforts. Saying thank you not only shows how much you appreicate their support, but demonstrates that you’ve taken time to acknowledge their help.
You can choose to say thanks publicly or privately. Most effective fundraisers have done both. Thanking supporters publicly can help create social proof to others. This is important in order to create buzz and hype around your fundraiser. More often than not, when you publicly acknowledge a person’s efforts, other friends and family members from the supporter’s network will become more curious about your fundraiser.
Private emails, letters and phone calls can also make a huge difference when acknowledging your supporter’s efforts.
Making sure you recognize supporter’s and their donation can help give social proof to your fundraiser but also let your supporters know how much you appreicate their support.
8. Leveraging Your Networks
Staying connected with supporters can make a huge difference. Some of the most successful fundraising campaigns online have utilized a fundraiser’s network beyond friends and family. If you have already exhausted your general networks like friends and family, it’s time to think beyond your main social network group.
Are you part of a social group or club? Generally, in any community there are local groups, communities and clubs that you may be involved in. Try finding associations and organizations that are related to your medical condition.
For example, if you are fundraising for a loved one with cancer, try reaching out to cancer foundations and cancer charities. This is where you can find potential donors as they already have a common bond with your fundraiser. You may be able to get support from cancer survivors, workers in these organizations and fellow supporters of the charity to make a donation on your fundraising page.
If you are fundraising for a child, try connecting to the day care center, school and after school programs.
9. Corporate Sponsorship
Approaching your workplace for support can sometimes be a great way to receive larger donations or corporate sponsorships. Many businesses will often want to support fellow employees who are undergoing medical treatment or a family emergency. Some companies may even offer paid leave or send emails out to all employees about your fundraiser on your behalf.
Small and local businesses in your community may also be able to help. If you approach them with your story, they are likely to provide some means of support for your fundraiser.
This could be a donation directly from the business or even vouchers and gifts that can be used as prizes and auctions to complement your online fundraiser. In return, you will be helping them promote their business to potential customers.
Getting the community involved can help create awareness of your fundraising campaign but also build a sense of unity with a goal to help you and your family afford medical treatment.
10. Update Frequently
One large part of keeping your supporters interested and connected to your fundraiser is through giving updates of any news and progress that can occur. This is a crucial element when fundraising for medical expenses that many individuals overlook.
People who will end up supporting your fundraiser would like to know how the person is feeling and how treatment is progressing. You can share successful milestones or achievements towards their recovery. You can also share any setbacks, bad days and tough challenges that have occurred. Being real, honest and open about your journey can have profound impact. It can help make your supporters feel more involved in your journey.
How you share these updates is up to you. Try being creative and using a range of mediums and forms to share your updates. This will help reduce any donor fatigue that can happen after weeks of updates. Try using photos, videos and writing a personal message. The more personal, the better!
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