Need money for medical expenses? It can be a tough situation. Medical care is so expensive. Not getting it can have such a huge impact on your life. Health insurance might not cover it or you might not have any. In the Ufearless spirit of being enabled on the net I think you might want to know about this, just in case. Better to know before you need it! So, is there anything you can do if you are caught in this bad situation? Can your Internet connection help you out?
GoFundMe When You Need Money For Medical Expenses
One good answer is: “Yes!” You might not be aware of it but there are crowd funding sites on the Internet that can help you get the funds you need. And this is money that is gifted to you. It is not a loan that you have to pay back One of the most important sites for this is GoFundMe. There are others but this article is about GoFundMe.com and how you can use it to get the funding that you might so seriously need.
Now you might be asking yourself “Is this for real? What’s the catch?” Yes, it is for real. There is not really much of a catch to it except that you have to be willing to put your personal situation out there where a lot of strangers can see it. Those strangers are the people who will mostly make donations. That might be too much of a catch for some folks. But if you genuinely have a serious problem and need help it might not be unreasonable to give some to get some, or to get a lot.
One way to get a focus on the reality of it is to be aware that GoFundMe has collected around $5 billion in total donations for all campaigns up to the end of 2017. Yes, that is billion with a “B”. During the period from 2010 to 2016 GoFundMe collected around $2 billion. Of that, $930 million was for medical expenses, or close to half. If the same proportions still hold then they have thus far generated close to $2.5 billion for people’s medical expenses. Sounds pretty real to me. And this is gifted money! So if you need money for medical expenses, give it a try.
The people listed below have GoFundMe campaigns for medical issues. (There are many, many more, of course.) You can click on the campaign names to see their campaign pages and from them get an idea of what kind of info they exposed and how they did it in order to request what level of donations:
Saving Mila — Time is Running Out! Obtained $766,468 of $1.0M goal.
JNG:The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday Obtained $214,536 of $200,000 goal.
Help Shannon Ceccoli Obtained $7,355 of $10,000 goal.
Cris Jordan Emergency Fund Obtained $12,446 of $2,000 goal.
Trackchair for disabled hunter Obtained $7,320 of $5,000 goal.
Ok. Time to fess up! How many of you read those over and ended up making at least one donation? Or at least felt a tug in that direction? See? That is how it works!
Are There Problems With Fake Campaigns?
On the down side, you might also be thinking “How do I know these are not fake?” Maybe these people did not really need money for medical expenses. The simple answer is “You don’t know for sure.” It is possible and unfortunately pretty much for sure that at least a few of the campaigns on GoFundMe are completely fake. But one factor that makes it harder to create a fake is the dispersion of the campaigns on social networks combined with personally identifiable information. People who know the people involved are likely to call foul if they detect a fake. In most cases enough personal information is provided that someone can do some verification.
In browsing over a good number of campaigns I did encounter one in which a person knowledgeable about the case did call foul. This was the non-medical case of a mother who wanted money to send her daughter to a sports competition. A person who was involved in sending a group of kids to the event, including this woman’s daughter, stated in a comment that all expenses for the kids had been paid by other sources and this mother had contributed nothing at all. Apparently she just kept the money for herself! It is possible, of course, that the commenter was not telling the truth, also.
But The Great Majority of Campaigns Are Real
There is good reason to think that the vast majority of campaigns are genuine and the folks asking for it do really need money for medical expenses. So if you donate five bucks to each of several campaigns the great majority of your contribution goes to genuine causes. And normally it all does. The one stinker would just have to be chalked up to “the cost of doing business” I guess. I know. I don't like it either but I do not think there is any practical way of completely eliminating the cheats. Just like in the rest of life.
Here, however, we are concerned with you seeking donations and you are not going to create a fake campaign.
It is also good to know that the money is normally not taxable because it is considered to be “personal gifts”. You have to check with a tax expert because Ufearless is not one and cannot give legally valid tax advice. But look at this article for GoFundMe’s take on it: Taxes and GoFundMe Donations.
First of all, what is crowd funding? If you are not familiar with it then it will help to get an idea because it is a totally Internet way of doing things that would be difficult or impossible to do without the net. Crowd funding is the practice of funding a project by obtaining a large number of small contributions (funding) from a large number of potential contributors (a crowd). A large number of small contributions can add up to a lot of money! Here a “project” can be almost anything that you might want to do and that needs money to accomplish.
If you are interested in other crowd funding possibilities then in the following link you will find a list of top crowd funding sites. You will note that GoFundMe is at the top of list with some good looking numbers: Top Fundraising & Crowdfunding Online Platforms
If you need money for medical expenses crowd funding very well might be the best opportunity you have to obtain it.
What Exactly Does GoFundMe Do?
GoFundMe is a crowd funding platform. The basic services it provides is creation of a crowd funding campaign complete with a campaign page on its site, assistance in sharing the campaign with potential contributors, collection of donations, and payment of donated money to the campaign owner. It takes care of a lot of technical and administrative tasks along the way to make all of that work. I think that you might also consider trust to be a service provided. Lots of people trust GoFundMe.
This article focuses on medical expenses but you can crowd fund any kind of project at all on GoFundMe. And people do. It has specific categories for education, medical, charity, emergencies, animals, memorials, volunteer, sports, wishes, competitions, newlyweds, faith, travel, creative, community, events, business, and family.
The How It Works page gives you a tour of creating and running a campaign. The basic steps are these:
1. Create Your Campaign
The site steps you through the process which is quite simple. You do not need to be any kind of technical whiz to do it. And you can complete the process on a smartphone. If you view the video on the How It Works page you find out all the basics of what you need to know.
When you do this put some real time and effort into writing good content that draws people into your situation and makes them want to help you. Be honest, of course, but try to make people feel your pain and empathize with it. No empathy, no donation. And use good pictures that people will empathize with. A poorly created campaign is not likely to bring in much of anything. If you need money for medical expenses you will want to convince people that this is for real.
2. Share With Family and Friends
This is an absolutely crucial step. This is the main way that you connect with a crowd. No crowd, no donations. All social networks are possibilities for sharing. GoFundMe has built-in sharing support for Facebook, Twitter, and email. If you are active on other social networks you can use them also for this.
Note: The suggestions in this section are out of the ordinary and go beyond the sharing methods recommended by GoFundMe. By far your best sharing is through your social media and email connections. These are the ones that include the people who know and care about you personally. But in some cases these might not be enough. If not, you could consider some of these extended sharing approaches.
Consider every sharing mechanism you know about. Know someone who has a blog? Maybe that someone would promote your cause. Even if you don’t know the blogger you could try contacting him or her to see if there might be any interest. Every blog reader then becomes a potential donor.
Contact on-line stores. You might find one that will help you if your campaign sounds great and it fits with the image the store wants to create for its customers. Support for humanitarian causes is important to some businesses. Each customer becomes a potential donor.
Find social media influencers who might be willing to promote your campaign. They can get the word out to very large numbers of people if they they are convinced.
Do something crazy like posting a press release announcing your campaign! You might be surprised at the press releases that get published when there is a need for material in an online magazine. If you did a really good job of writing your campaign material and included pictures that grab people’s attention that will help. Here is some info on creating a press release: How to Write a Press Release. Never underestimate the importance of your situation.If you need money for medical expenses it is important and you can let people know that.
But Not Too Creative.
Always stick to good sense and good ethics in your approach but don’t let any viable sharing method go unused if you find that you are not getting the reach you need. Don't ever use an approach that would make people think your campaign was not genuine. But, remember, when you need money for medical expenses it is to your advantage to be creative and energetic in finding it. Get the word out so you can really contact the crowd for crowd funding.
3. Accept Donations
GoFundMe provides for you to receive donations via a transfer to your bank account or, if in the USA, by receiving a check. If you created the campaign to help someone else you can also set up for that person (or anyone you select) to withdraw donations. The site provides all the details.
4. Enjoy the Results
Receiving the money should not be the only enjoyment involved. Interacting with donors, thanking them, posting comments, and making updates about changes in your situation should all be enjoyable aspects of a campaign. You just might make some long term friends along the way too.
What Does It Cost?
The platform fee is 0% for the USA, Canada, and Great Britain. Other supported countries are 5% of donation amount. Payment processing fees vary by country. These do subtract from the amount you receive but they will never create debt for you. You can get details here: Pricing and Fees.
In any event, you cannot lose money in the process unless you pay someone to create and run the campaign for you, used paid advertising, or something like that. The worst that could happen is that you might expose some personal information and not get any return for it. But if your campaign is genuine, you really need money for medical expenses, you have done a reasonably good job of documenting your situation, and you have shared the campaign out to a big crowd you should get the benefits of your efforts.
So, how does GoFundMe make any money aside from campaigns in the countries for which they charge the 5% platform fee? They accept donations for themselves. If you are appreciative of what they have done for you or of what they are doing for others you can show it by making a donation that helps keep them running. Not a bad idea!
If you need money for medical expenses this can be a great way to get it. Or if you have some other financial need that fits a crowd funding scenario GoFundMe can be an answer. I encourage you to explore their site even if you do not have a need right now. It is a good thing to know about. Just knowing about it could influence your decision to pursue a project or not. And you might find some real enjoyment in donating to a campaign that you think has real value. Giving does the heart good.
I would love to hear your thoughts regarding this. Have you ever done this or known anyone who did? How did it go?