Medical costs in the United States are on the rise, and they’ll only keep getting higher and higher. In 2016, the average cost per person on healthcare was $10,000 – and over half of personal bankruptcies were caused by medical expenses.
But the good news is, technology has allowed us to reach a wider audience of people and ask for help from far beyond our neighbors, family, and friends. Crowdfunding, money donated to a cause online, has taken off in recent years with various websites springing up to sponsor these fundraisers: YouCaring.com, GiveForward.com, and Fundly.com, just to name a few.
If you’re struggling to pay your medical bills, you may want to give one of these sites a shot. And here are some tips for how to make one of these fundraisers:
- Be willing to tell your story. Don’t give vague reasons for why you need the money – oftentimes, it will discourage donors because they’ll suspect your motives. Giving a nice, detailed, compelling story will make people more willing to open their wallets.
- Set an achievable goal. Sometimes when the dollar amount is too high, it can make donors feel like you’ll never reach your goal, which, in turn, makes them not want to donate. If you think you’ll need, say, $100,000, try setting your goal at $50,000 to start. When you hit your $50,000 goal, you can then up it to the full $100,000. And it provides a great opportunity to give your donors an update on your health.
- Share updates on the website. Your donors will want to know how you’re doing – for better or for worse. Providing updates on the website will also encourage new donors and possibly even repeat donors. It can also rally support for your cause and prompt a surge of donation. Always be honest!
- Remember to say thank you. It might not take much – maybe just a video, some thank you cards, or an email – but saying thank you can make all the difference. You don’t need to spend money on presents or anything fancy, just give a simple acknowledgement (perhaps with an update) to let your donors know you appreciate them.
Now that you know how to set up your fundraiser, here’s some advice about the sites that host ’em:
- Choose the right site. Some sites will take a cut of the profits as a fee for hosting your fundraiser, while others will charge a processing fee. Do your homework and research your sites well. You may not be able to avoid the hosting fee, but processing fees will vary from site to site.
- Check with a tax advisor. Generally speaking, these donations can be considered a non-taxable gift – however, that isn’t guaranteed. Before starting your fundraiser, check with a tax advisor to make sure you won’t be taxed on the money you’ve raised.
- Read the fine print. Before choosing your site to host the fundraiser, make sure you read the fine print. Some of these crowdfunding sites won’t release the money to you until you’ve met your entire goal. That means if you’ve only raised half, you don’t get any! Don’t fall victim to that – make sure you can get any money you’ve raised to pay your bills.
Remember that crowdfunding isn’t just about raising money. You’ll be surprised at the support that pours out to help you, not just from friends and family, but also from total strangers. It will lift your spirits, which is almost as important as the stress relief you’ll feel after paying your bills!