There’s this anecdote that’s been around for quite some time:
“The average hip replacement in the USA costs ~$40k. In Spain, it costs ~$7k. That means you can literally fly to Spain, get your hip replaced there, live in Madrid for 2 years, learn Spanish, run with the bulls, get trampled, get your hip replaced again, and fly home for less than the cost of a hip replacement in the US.”
Yep. It’s funny because it’s true. Or it’s sad because it’s true – whichever you prefer. However it’s still true. Medical procedures are far from free.
And that goes not just for the US – if you ask someone from Spain, they’ll surely prefer lower costs for their medical expenses as well. Who wouldn’t?
And we’re not trying to get into the whole “free healthcare debate” here – we’re just stating the simple observation that medical bills can be quite expensive. The simple fact of the matter is that they can be really hard to deal with sometimes – whether you’re rich or poor, you’re always under the risk of something major happening when you’re not prepared and forcing you to pay money that you often don’t have. “High out-of-pocket health expenses can quickly deplete a sick person’s financial resources,” notes a New York Times article on medical crowdfunding.
So what should you do in a situation like this? Well, there are a lot of choices. And one of the best of them is crowdfunding.
People have been trying to raise money for medical emergencies for basically as long as both money and medical emergencies exist. Plain and simple. It’s always been an extremely hard thing to do however, until a decade or so ago when online crowdfunding entered the scene. The excess of options online crowdfunding platforms offered made fundraising your medical expenses from an almost impossible to a quite feasible idea. In fact, in 2014, there were about 600,000 campaigns and almost $150 million dollars donated to medical campaigns on GoFundMe alone.
For example, Niccola Nelson raised money for her husband Andy Nelson, who got into a scooter accident. She raised $15,000 on her GoFundMe campaign so far for covering his medical bills to get him back up on his feet.
Now, we should point out that crowdfunding your medical bills is still not easy – the average amount medical crowdfunding campaigns manage to gather is between $1000 and $1500. However, that’s just an average. Those people who manage to create a good campaign and succeed in attracting traffic to it – they go into 5-digit sums quite often and manage to literally save lives. And nothing’s more important than that.
So how do you create a successful crowdfunding campaign for your medical expenses? Well, the same way you do it for any other thing, really. Crowdfunding is crowdfunding.
You need to do 4 things to create a successful medical crowdfunding campaign:
- Use lots of pictures on your campaign page: quality images and video. People are more likely to donate if they see images (even better: videos) of the person in need. This is seen as ‘evidence’ of the campaign being real – there is a good amount of fraud happening in the crowdfunding world according to this article in Consumer Reports.
- Add perks and rewards for participation if you can – something small, but personal. Yes, your cause is important or maybe even heartbreaking, but the high quality of the campaign will simply add even more legitimacy to it and attract backers.
- Make sure your cause is well thought out and its importance and urgency are easy to understand and feel by the audience. That’s key for any cause-driven fundraising. You need to move people.
- Attract traffic to your campaign. No matter which platform you choose, you always need to attract traffic yourself. Simply posting it once on your Facebook page is not enough. We really can’t stress this enough. It’s a harsh myth that if you make your campaign on a big and famous platform people will just join by themselves. No matter where you’ve started fundraising, you always need to attract backers yourself if you don’t want to be below/around the average numbers we mentioned above. Start from family and friends, acquaintances, then move to online groups, forums and blogs. Make sure you write personal emails to the people you’re asking for support. The so called “Many Hands Problem” drives people to care less if there are other people in the Cc-field of your email. Heck, try to reach for some media if your cause allows it. The major % of your backers will be brought directly or indirectly by you and only after that – if you’ve managed to gather enough funds and create around buzz – outsiders will start joining. Do this well enough and your campaign can even go viral, but you need to do a sizable amount of promotion beforehand. Here is some more guidance from Crowd101 on reaching out for your campaign.
And precisely because a huge % of your backers – especially for personal crowdfunding campaigns about medical emergencies – come from your family and friends, we at CoverrMe.com decided that it’s unfair for crowdfunding platforms to take around 5-7% of your funds in fees. This is why CoverrMe.com is created with the idea of being free and will take exactly 0% of your so badly needed funds. Because you need them maybe more than ever and because a lot of them have come from people close to you.
Medical care may not be free, but at CoverrMe.com, crowdfunding your medical expenses is free. You can start a campaign in 5 minutes here.