What Medical Crowdfunding Does

The average Indian still gropes the dark when it comes to crowdfunding. When one goes into the intricacies of crowdfunding the struggle is very real. However, it is important to educate people about the huge benefits crowdfunding can bring them, especially if it is for a medical cause.

Medical crowdfunding is the single largest sector of Indian crowdfunding, both in terms of funds raised, and in terms of outreach. Crowdfunding honchos in the country agree that medical crowdfunding is only just taking off in India, it has a long way to go, and hundreds more can receive assistance in the coming years.

Predictably, the most important reason for the widespread use, if not popularity, of medical crowdfunding is sky high medical expenses. And medical expenses are rising every year. The common Indian man has little choice but to look for alternative ways to pay for increasing treatment costs. This explains the rise of crowdfunding companies like Milaap, Ketto and Impact Guru, who have each achieved stunning success with medical crowdfunding campaigns.

The process is old enough that certain ground rules have been established about how crowdfunding works. When Indian social entrepreneurs entered this complex milieu, they improvised on set methods so the local target body of campaigners would feel more comfortable, less alienated and unintimidated by this novel means of fundraising. Later still, medical crowdfunding began to emerge as a popular tool for critically ill people with humongous medical expenses, and their family and friends, and a big revenue earner for crowdfunding platforms, techniques for making medical fundraisers a success slowly became apparent.

There are ways of making your medical crowdfunding campaign more successful than you could imagine. Experienced fundraisers who have done work in crowdfunding have exclusive medical crowdfunding tips, if you are considering raising funds for treating a major illness, or getting an organ transplant, or paying for expensive post-operative or post-trauma care.

We have compiled a list of the top nine tips and tricks to make your medical crowdfunding project a success. This is useful for prospective campaigners. Additionally, if potential donors are aware of what makes a strong campaign, they become better equipped to recognize authentic campaigns.

The first thing you do is start a fundraiser, which takes less than five minutes on the Impact Guru website. Next, take a look at our list of tips.

1.Write a great story:

This tip is self-explanatory, but it never hurts to state the obvious again. Most crowdfunding platforms ask you to explain your crisis and ask for help in a clear, compelling narrative. When you write, make sure that you have covered all facts related to the actual medical problem. We recommend giving donors some context, so add a little information about the patient, their financial difficulty, with a note on medical expenses, and their persona in general. It is not necessary, but good to have a standout fact or anecdote about the sick person. How strongly they have fought, or a recent incident of kindness they may have shown are examples to get you started.However, you do not want to overwhelm a donor with too much information. Aim for a style of writing that is readable, sincere and not pushy. If you are not confident enough, get writing help from a friend, or from your platform. Impact Guru, India’s best crowdfunding platform, offers help with telling your most compelling tale.

2. Photos change everything:

We’ll keep it short and simple: upload photos to your fundraiser profile. Understandably, if you are yourself ill, or have a close friend or relative who is suffering, you will not have a lot of time to take photos that may qualify as artistic. Don’t let this bother you. Any old photograph of the patient, or one you have taken with a smartphone camera in the hospital room will do. Sharing photos of patients also lets donors form a connection between the story and the afflicted person. It is a fact backed by research that most people are visual, and are more strongly moved by a picture than by words. That means you are more likely to receive donations if you attach a photo to your fundraiser page. Also, a photo of the patient in her hospital bed, or bearing evidence of injury, adds to the authenticity of the cause for which you are trying to raise funds.

3. Include medical documents:

Yet again, for the sake of authenticity and establishing that yours is a genuine case of a distressed person trying to pull together funds for a gravely ill friend or relative, take quick photos of medical paperwork, and upload these. Prescriptions, hospital bills, test reports, and any kind of receipt are good things to hold on to, and upload, when you begin crowdfunding. The donor is empowered with this act of the campaigner, because they have full knowledge of how much money is needed, and to what end. Some donors might even feel encouraged to make a generous donation. Most donors have some awareness of how high medical expenses can be, but this is one of the most underrated medical crowdfunding tips. We’ll repeat this one more time: the bottomline is, sharing financial information builds trust between donor and recipient.

4. Leverage your own network:

At difficult times most people reach out to their closest friend, or a trusted advisor. Medical crowdfunding enables the campaigner to reach out to compassionate strangers. But before you actively approach unknown people or soliciting donations online, talk to your close circle of acquaintances. Your friends, relatives, co-workers, and neighbors should ideally be the earliest donors. Aside from the monetary contributions they can make, the people you know- your primary network- can help you by sharing your story on their social media handles. Their friends, or your secondary network, will usually be the second round of people you will receive contributions from. Your outreach improves organically in this way. We ask you to never underestimate the power of word of mouth publicity.As always, discuss frankly what medical expenses you are up against. Being specific helps.

5. Never have an empty account:

Let us say you have started your fundraiser, written your story, and put up select photos and documentation. You have spoken to your primary network about what you’re raising funds for, why, and how much you need. The next thing you have to do is to make a request to trusty friends to put in some small contribution into the fundraiser account. If they are unable to do this, put in as much as you can yourself. The idea is to not leave an empty account open to the public. This is one of the least publicized, and one of the most effective medical crowdfunding tips you will ever receive.This strategy also stems from advanced research in donor behavior. Donors are twice as likely to make a contribution to fundraisers that are doing somewhat well. A prior history of donations to a single fundraiser boosts the number of future donations. A project doing well, and attracting support already, simply pushes a hesitant donor hard.

6. Plan a social media strategy:

Social media channels will always help rather than hurt your campaigning efforts, but if you have a plan to leverage it to its full extent, you will achieve greater outreach, more donors, and relatively quick results. Share a condensed version of your story on Facebook with one or two images. Tweet a simple call for donations. For Instagram, spend a little time searching for relevant images, perhaps even shoot a few, and upload with relevant hashtags. Draft an emailer and forward to everyone you know. Remember there are times and days of the week when it is best to post to certain handles, and making use of this information will put you in a better place. Your network can help by sharing your story on WhatsApp as well, with an image and a link to your fundraiser, across their networks. What’s important in each case is to have a straightforward and prominent call to action. Ask your viewers to donate, then ask them to share. Even if only a few viewers donate, more will share across social media, and this activity increases chances of your fundraiser meeting its target.Be as active as you can on forums for crowdfunding, and share your personal medical crowdfunding tips with the world at large. What you give will come right back to you.

7. Get creative with outreach:

While medical crowdfunding, or any crowdfunding, is usually strictly a web-based fundraising method, taking your campaigning offline once in a while can have very good results. You will be busy looking after the patient you are raising funds for, but consider finding time to visit their favorite cafe or bookstore or local business to ask for a donation. You may find photos of the sick person in happier times that were taken at some of these places, and sharing these on social media, with a link to the business’s page or website, and another to the fundraiser, benefits everyone. Their workplace may want to help as well, and run its own mini fundraiser, if you make a request.Let your creativity inspire you to come up with newer fundraising ideas. Invent your own, or take the lead from tried and tested fundraising methods that have been working for years.

8. Update often:

The people who have contributed money to your cause will always want to know if any significant progress has been made. They have shared in your troubles, and will share in your joys when the storm blows over. So post brief and informative updates on social media every time there is some milestone event on your journey. Consider posting when the patient feels significantly better after chemotherapy, or when a kidney transplant is successful, or when enough money has been raised in your fundraiser purse to pay for a round of blood transfusions. Scour the media for articles closely tied to your cause, and embed links in posts. Many donors like a broader perspective before they make a decision to donate.Again, you will have to find time for social media, in bits and pieces, to really reap results from your medical crowdfunding project. This is non-negotiable if you want donations to come in steadily. Fortunately, sending updates out to past and potential donors doesn’t have to be time consuming, especially if a group of well-wishers divide responsibility, or take turns updating social media handles.

9. Afterwards, give thanks:

We have made a separate tip out of this point although it falls under the umbrella of keeping up a series of updates. Giving thanks for, and to, your donors, will be your final update, at least for a while, and you need to finish gracefully. We cannot stress this enough. One act of gratitude, however understated, will help you build relationships of goodwill with your whole donor community.A thank you note for each donor is a little act of gratitude we suggest to most of our campaigners. Brownie points if the note is handwritten by the recovering patient, or by their parent or child. If this is not possible, spend time carefully composing an email you will send to each donor. Include information about how the patient is doing and how the raised funds were put to use. You will also have to update all social media handles you have been using for outreach- create the loudest shoutout message you can. Donors are happy to see a photograph of the person they helped cure, this time smiling and in visibly better health. Sometimes, a campaigner may need more funds in the foreseeable future. Communicating this is usually a positive action, because many donors come back to donate for the same cause, and the same person’s medical treatment. In case your sick friend passed away, work on managing your grief first. When you can, write a little email and send to everyone who tried to help. Most of these medical crowdfunding tips, which we have adapted from fail safe fundraising tips, explain themselves, if you think about it. Luckily, crowdfunding platforms will help you as your run your fundraiser, writing stories, planning outreach activity, and locating likely donors. The beautiful thing about medical crowdfunding is that strangers step up and do the best they can to help you out of a difficult time. Honor this concern. Return an act of love to the world when you can. Donate today.

Published by Joe Pirest