It’s hard to comprehend what individuals and their families experience during a medical crisis. Families are emotionally exhausted after being stressed and worried about their loved one’s well-being. Financially, medical treatments can put a huge strain on a family’s stability. Sleepless nights and taking on full time care for a loved one can break household structures and as a result a greater loss of income.
With over 56 million American adults in the United States in medical debt, there are many families out there who need financial assistance but don’t know what their options are.
Medical crowdfunding is one solution that has been able to provide a simple yet effective way for individuals across America to reach out to family and friends during their time of need.
What is Medical Crowdfunding?
Crowdfunding has been around for decades, but only recently it’s become a well-known method of reaching out to thousands of individuals for a common purpose. The term crowdfunding refers to the act of crowd sourcing funds for a single goal. For example, raising funds to develop a business idea.
Medical crowdfunding is a donation-based crowdfunding method where the main purpose is to help a cause-related goal. This form of crowdfunding allows individuals to fundraise for a loved one with an illness or disability.
This can be to raise funds for medical treatment, to pay for home modifications due to disability or cover basic household expenses while a loved one seeks medical care.
Medical crowdfunding is a powerful tool to reach out to family and friends instantly where the goal is to assist in providing medical care to an individual.
Although medical crowdfunding can be easily confused with traditional forms of fundraising for a social cause, medical crowdfunding uses modern technology to make the task of fundraising much more efficient and effective.
The Growth of Medical Crowdfunding
Crowdfunding in general, is considered a growing tread. Much of its popularity and use has been initially found mostly in the United States.
According to CrowdSourcing.org’s industry 2013 report, the total amount fundraised through a crowdfunding platform was 1.5 billion dollars. In 2012, this increased to 2.7 billion dollars. Currently it is a 5.1 billion dollar industry worldwide.
Furthermore, donation-based crowdfunding platforms account to 29 percent of all crowdfunding platforms existing worldwide, with a 43 percent growth rate. In fact, the most active crowdfunding category in 2012 were social causes taking 30 percent of the market.
Crowd sourcing financial assistance is a fairly new concept, but one that has become very popular for everyday families who are struggling to pay their medical bills. With a growing trend of crowdfunding in the United States, this method of raising funds can help families with medical expenses.
5 Benefits of Medical Crowdfunding compared to Traditional Methods of Fundraising
In the past, traditional methods of fundraising such as raffles, auctions, door to door fundraising and social events have been a popular way for individuals to fundraise for medical expenses. However, with the growing trend of medical crowdfunding, many individuals have now chosen crowdfunding to successfully fundraise for their loved one with an illness or disability. There are several reasons why thousands of families have chosen medical crowdfunding.
1) The Power Of Your Story Online
Every medical journey is inspirational, emotional and powerful. Medical stories can inspire others in a similar situation to overcome their own challenges. It can also allow family and friends share and give insight to a very personal journey that you are going through.
Being able to tell your story to hundreds if not thousands of people can be very difficult with traditional forms of fundraising. The proper outlet to share your story must be one in which you are able to reach people and connect with them.
Unlike traditional methods of fundraising, medical crowdfunding uses the internet as your gateway to reaching family and friends in a more effective and powerful way. According to the United States Census Bureau, in 2012, over 2.3 million Americans had access to a computer and/or the internet. It was also found that 94.8 percent of households use the internet via smartphones, laptops and tablets, making accessing your fundraiser online very widespread.
Supporters are able to learn more about your fundraiser in their own time and donate instantly, without having to wait for a certain date and time for a fundraising event to take action. Therefore, the chances of receiving donations are more likely using crowdfunding methods as supporters can donate online.
2) Social Media Influence
Medical crowdfunding relies heavily on individuals sharing their fundraiser with their social networks. Therefore, your contacts such as extended family members, friends, work colleagues and even local communities and societies you are involved in, play an important role in making your fundraiser successful.
As crowdfunding is conducted online, the spread of your fundraiser is reflected in the amount of individuals online. According to the latest statistics on social media, there are approximately 1.8 billion individuals using the internet to access social network accounts. In America alone, 170 million people accounted for over 67 percent of internet users worldwide.
Ipsos Open Thinking Exchange (OTX) in 2013 also published that an average American spends over 3 hours per day on social media websites, especially Facebook and Twitter.
These statistics alone demonstrate the amount of potential supporters you are able to get for your fundraiser as compared to traditional offline methods.
Social media has become part of our everyday lives, so much so that your social media networks and contacts can be greatly leveraged when conducting a medical crowdfunding campaign. If you already have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social networking accounts, it can be very easy to spread the word about your fundraiser.
3) Streamlined With Secure Donations Online
Medical crowdfunding websites such as PeoplePledge have built-in payment systems to make it easy for you to manage and run a campaign. This means that when you create a fundraising campaign online, payments are processed via PayPal or another online payment gateway. The payment gateway facilitates the transaction for every donation that you receive.
Unlike offline fundraisers where you have to manually track donations, you will also receive email notice of who donated and how much. This makes acknowledging each supporter and their donation very seamless.
Medical crowdfunding platforms are also useful if you start receiving large amounts of donations. It can be easily separated from your general income and account, in order to easily prioritize the money for medical related expenses.
4) No Restrictions Or Limits
Traditional methods of fundraising such as offline private fundraisers run by individuals have been a common option to raise funds for financial support due to an illness or disability.
However, this type of fundraiser has limitations as they are often time-sensitive, have minimal marketing opportunities and are restricted by geographical location.
This means that individuals using fundraising events, auctions, raffles or donation stands can only receive funds if a person can attend physically at the event, and if they have the time to go to that event or have money at the time of the event. Many offline fundraisers only accept cash, which can limit the amount of pledges received on the day.
Medical crowdfunding bridges the gap between potential supporters and you through the use of online platforms that can easily connect you and your supporters no matter where you are.
Although there is a time restriction of how long your fundraiser runs for, crowdfunding fundraisers allows you to accept donations any time during the day or night. For individuals with supporters overseas, this can be a huge benefit in achieving your fundraising goal.
5) The Viral Effect
One of the most powerful reasons why medical crowdfunding works is because families are able to share, communicate and connect with their networks from all around the world without restrictions.
As a result, your fundraiser becomes viral, reaching hundreds of people at a given time. You could be receiving donations from friends of friends, or even from public supporters who read a newspaper article about your story.
As simple as sending a message on Facebook is, medical crowdfunding facilitates a fast and effective way to update your supporters instantly, making supporters feel more connected to your cause.
The key is to be as active as possible in sharing and spreading the word about your fundraiser online as much as possible. They are then able to see who else donated, giving social proof to your fundraiser. Letting people know that you need their help can create huge results. Individuals are able to feel part of something bigger, making your supporters more inclined to share to their family, friends and networks about your story.
Having a real presence online via photos, videos and interactions can often be difficult in the traditional method of fundraising offline, where there is limited time for face to face interactions with your supporters.
Crowdfunding for free to help with medical bills
The ability to tell your story and share your medical journey can be a profound way to reach out to family, friends and the general public.
There are a large number of crowdfunding websites that offer families the opportunity to create a crowdfunding page. However, each crowdfunding website has it’s own restrictions and fees. Before setting up a crowdfunding page, it is important to review what the available options are and which services provide the best benefits and rewards for your family.
A free option is called PeoplePledge. This means as a user, you can create and run a crowdfunding campaign completely for free. The only charge is the PayPal transaction fee, which is deducted from the donation you receive. This means, families can start a fundraiser without any out of pocket costs.
1) Statistics and facts about Social Networks: http://www.statista.com/topics/1164/social-networks/
2) Social Networking Eats Up 3+ Hours Per Day For The Average American User: http://www.marketingcharts.com/online/social-networking-eats-up-3-hours-per-day-for-the-average-american-user-26049/
3) Social Media Engagement Statistics: http://www.businessinsider.com/social-media-engagement-statistics-2013-12
4) Crowdfunding Trends and Statistics: http://www.crowdmapped.com/crowdfunding-trends-and-statistics/
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