Crowdfunding for Medical Bills & Related Expenses

Crowdfunding for Medical Bills & Related Expenses

 

 

One-third of cancer survivors in the United States say they have experienced money or work problems due to cancer care.  Even cancer patients who have insurance say they have had to change their lifestyle and medical care due to the financial burden of treatment.  As a result, many cancer fighters and survivors are forced to turn to crowdfunding as a way to cover the cost of their cancer care.

Crowdfunding is by definition, “the practice of funding a project or venture by raising many small amounts of money from a large number of people, typically via the Internet.”  (Wikipedia)  What was once a tool used by entrepreneurs to launch new business platforms has expanded to funding just about any cause or project you can dream of, including medical expenses to cover the cost of cancer treatments, tuition costs, child adoption fees, mission trips, bucket lists, and much more.

Anna Claire Vollers published an article comparing six of the most popular crowdfunding platforms that allow medical/health campaigns.  I’ve included her write-ups below as well as added 4 additional sites that I know of.  If you have experience with any of these sites, feel free to leave a comment below to help others. If you know of another crowdfunding site that allows medical/health fundraising, leave a comment or email robyn@cancerhawk.com.

In her article, Comparison shopping: An easy guide to the most popular crowdfunding websites that allow medical fundraising campaignsAnna writes…

“Sign-up on all of these sites is free; the fees kick in when donations roll in. All of these sites claim to offer secure online payment, and none of them require you to meet a certain donation goal before you can collect your funds, although a few offer an “all or nothing” campaign style option (where you can’t collect your money unless you reach your campaign goal by the deadline). Fees will also be different if the campaign is located internationally or is receiving funds from international donors.

GoFundMe.com

What it offers: Claims to have helped campaigns raise more than $200 million since it started. Many kinds of campaigns are welcome. Build a campaign through built-in online fundraising tools integrated with social media. Add photos, videos, updates to your page. The campaign manager can track results and review donor information from an online “dashboard.”

How do you get your money? Money is stored on GoFundMe until you request a withdrawal via check or electronic bank transfer, which can be done any time and takes 5-7 business days.

Fees: 5 percent fee from each donation received, plus a credit card processing fee of 2.9 percent plus 30 cents for each transaction. Processing fees are higher for non-profits and charities. Total: 7.9 percent plus 30 cents.

Mobile app available? Yes, free.

What sets it apart: One of the more popular platforms, and welcomes many kinds of campaigns. An “all or nothing” campaign style option is available.

Fundly.com

What it offers: Claims to have raised more than $321,860,363 since inception in 2009. Ability to add photos, videos and blog-style updates to campaign page. Integration with social media and ability to import email contacts. Customizable email templates.

How do you get your money? Donations are processed through WePay. Withdrawals can be made 24-48 hours after a donation; automatic transfers available.

Fees: 4.9 percent from each donation raised up to $50,000 (discounts available for larger campaigns). Online payment processing fee of 3 percent. Total: 7.9 percent.

Mobile app available? Yes, free.

What sets it apart: Options for automatic broadcasting on Facebook of key campaign activity, donations made. Fundraising guides and helpful emails during first weeks of campaign. The campaign page prominently features Facebook-connected supporters to improve social media impressions.

GiveForward.com

What it offers: Bills itself as No. 1 medical fundraising platform. Claims to have helped raise $88,193,000. Campaign manager and “team members” can post updates, add photos and share to social media. Donors can give “gifts” (monetary donations) or “hugs” (words of encouragement).

How do you get your money? Team captain chooses how and when funds are distributed to the person who needs it.

Fees: 5 percent fee from each donation. Online payment processing fee of 2.9 percent plus 30 cents. Donors do have the option of giving extra to cover the GiveForward fee, and GiveForward claims over 60 percent* of donors do this. Total: 7.9 percent plus 30 cents but could be lower if donor chooses to give extra to cover the 5 percent GiveForward fee.  (*Now 95% of donors are covering the cost of the fees which means that average fundraiser on GiveForward keeps 99.5% of the money it raises.)

Mobile app available? Yes, free.

What sets it apart: Each campaign assigned a personal coach to offer ideas and guidance and answer questions via email, phone or live-chat. The platform is specifically designed for medical expense campaigns, including out-of-pocket living expenses associated with illness, “bucket lists” associated with terminal illness, funeral expenses and memorial funds. Ability to make a fundraiser private. Donors are asked if they want to give a little extra to cover the GiveForward fee.

YouCaring.com

What it offers: Bills itself as one of the few free fundraising sites on the web. Specifically for personal causes and life events. Claims to have helped more than 135,000 fundraisers since October 2011. Build a page with a story, photos, videos and update posts. Social media promotion tools available.

How do you get your money? Funds are transferred directly into a PayPal or WePay account as soon as they’re received.

Fees: No website fee. Payment processing fee from PayPal or WePay of about 2.9 fee plus 30 cents per donation. Total: 2.9 percent plus 30 cents.

Mobile app available? No.

What sets it apart: No fees charged by YouCaring, regardless of how much money is raised. Platform is designed just for medical expenses, memorials and funerals, education/tuition assistance, adoption fundraising, funding for mission trips, pet expenses and animal rescue.

IndieGoGo.com

What it offers: Many types of campaigns allowed. One-click social media integration, direct email and announcement features, manage contributions with analytics tools, and send “perks” through an online dashboard.

How do you get your money? Your campaign can offer multiple funding types, including PayPal and major credit cards. Funds contributed via credit card are held by IndieGoGo until the end of the campaign, then disbursed in 15 business days. PayPal funds are sent directly to your PayPal account.

Fees: 9 percent fee on each donation; if you reach your goal, you get 5 percent back. Approximate 3 percent online payment processing fee. Total: 12 percent if you don’t reach your goal; 7 percent if you do reach your goal.

Mobile app available? No.

What sets it apart: One of the largest and most popular crowdfunding platforms. An “all-or-nothing” fixed-funding campaign style option available. “Customer Happiness” team available to answer questions or give advice.

Rally.org

What it offers: Many types of campaigns allowed. High-end page design, integrated social-sharing features with Facebook, Twitter, email and other sites. An online dashboard also offers analytics to help track donations and activity.

How do you get your money? Donations can be collected by credit card, debit card or eCheck. After you link your bank account to Rally, withdrawals can be made within 2-3 business days of receiving a donation, and will then take 3-6 business days to appear in your account.

Fees: 5.75 percent fee, which includes all online payment processing fees. Total: 5.75 percent.

Mobile app available? No.

What sets it apart: High-end design emphasizes photos; contribution info stays on page as you scroll down. Lower fees.”

Additional crowdfunding sites that my research has uncovered include:

CauseWish.com

What it offers:  Focuses on fundraising for medical and related causes; integrated social-sharing features with Facebook, Twitter and email; Extensive donor management tools such as automated thank you emails and checkout customization.

How do you get your money? Payments are delivered to you instantly.  Accepts payments through debit and credit cards and PayPal accounts.

Fees: 4 percent fee plus 2.9% PayPal fee plus 30 cents per donation Total: 6.9 percent plus 30 cents per donation.

Mobile app available? No.

What sets it apart: International website that support 23 currencies, provides a personal fundraising coach for every fundraising campaign at no cost.

Medgift.com

What it offers:  Focuses on fundraising for any health related hardship or need; integrated social-sharing features; also enables users to request & coordinate help with daily tasks such as babysitting or transportation from the hospital.

How do you get your money?  Payments are delivered directly into your WePay account.

Fees:  5 percent fee plus 2.9% WePay fee plus 30 cents per donation.  Total: 7.9 percent plus 30 cents per donation.  Donors have the choice of either adding or subtracting the fees from the donated amount.

Mobile app available?  No.

What sets it apart:  One stop shop.  From collecting donations to coordinating help with daily tasks to keeping friends and family updated on your status while allowing them to give you love & encouragement through your support wall, Medgift makes it easy get the support you need.

MyLifeLine.org

What it offers:  Free websites for cancer patients and caregivers; post requests for help and invite close friends and loved ones to follow your updates; coordinate requests for meals, rides, visits with online scheduling and reminders; create personalized fundraisers to raise money needed to cover medical costs not covered by insurance.

How do you get your money?  Payments are delivered directly into your PayPal account, other fundraising page or wish list pages on the web.

Fees:  No website fee. Payment processing fee from credit card processing or PayPal of about 2.9 fee plus 30 cents per donation. Total: 2.9 percent plus 30 cents.

Mobile app available?  No.

What sets it apart:  No fees charged by MyLifeLine.org, regardless of how much money is raised. Exclusively for use by cancer fighters, survivors and supporters.  One stop shop for communicating with loved ones.

Thoughtful.org

What it offers:  Bills itself as one of the few free fundraising sites on the web; specifically for medical, memorial or emergency costs; integrated social-sharing features.

How do you get your money?  You can withdraw directly into your bank account or request a check.  Most withdrawals take between 5 and 7 business days.

Fees:   No website fee. Payment processing fee from WePay of about 2.9 fee plus 30 cents per donation. Total: 2.9 percent plus 30 cents.

Mobile app available?  No.

What sets it apart:  No fees charged by Thoughtful, regardless of how much money is raised. Exclusively for medical, memorial or emergency costs.  Phone interviews are conducted before campaigns are approved to weed out “obvious scams”.

For more information on crowdfunding, see NBC News report on “Crowdfunding Can Help Cure the Cost of Cancer Care.”

One thought on “Crowdfunding for Medical Bills & Related Expenses

  1. Kara Adams

    Great read thanks for the information! Crowdfunding has now become an effective and reliable way of raising funds that a lot of people who are in need are benefiting from. You can also check plumfund.com and learn more about the benefits of crowdfunding.

    Reply

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