Paying for Mobility with GoFundMe

All too often, the mobility options that we know will make our lives easier are not covered by insurance or Medicare. This means paying cash out-of-pocket, and not everyone can afford that.

If you are facing this situation, you might consider setting up a GoFundMe campaign. GoFundMe is a popular online platform designed to raise money for anything from weddings to medical expenses to college tuition. As their website states, "Asking for money is hard. GoFundMe makes it easier." It's a catchy slogan that rings true: Since its beginning in 2010, people have donated more than $3 billion to various causes using GoFundMe (GFM).

U.S. Paralympic gold medalist Megan Blunk was facing a costly, uncovered expense. She dreaded asking people for money and it took her nearly three months to work up the courage to start her GFM campaign. Once she did, she discovered "everything about it is just so easy. I loved all the features it offered, such as allowing people to post comments with their donations. And I really enjoyed watching the funding bar move up with every donation." After a three-week campaign, Megan received more than her goal amount and was able to purchase the chair.

Megan Blunk's GoFundMe campaign webpage

Many people find it is simple to start raising money with GoFundMe. Users create their own page on the GFM website describing their cause and setting a dollar goal. They are given a customizable link which can then be shared via social media or email. There are no dollar amount limits or deadlines by which the goal must be met; the page can be left open indefinitely. Funds may be withdrawn at any time once donations start coming in and you can request either a direct bank transfer (takes 2-5 business days) or a check (takes 7-10 business days). It's important to note that GoFundMe automatically deducts 5% of every donation made, and an additional 3% is charged as a processing fee, but donors are not charged directly and the process on their end is streamlined and easy.

On the GoFundMe website, there are great tips to design a successful campaign page:

  • Create a click-worthy campaign title; you get 30 characters to really grab donors' attention.
  • Include a good quality photo or video. Images are a great way to connect with your supporters.
  • Write a thorough description of how the money will be spent and why it's important to you.
  • Add a short biography so people know more about who they are supporting.

Josh Heine strongly agrees with this last suggestion. His friend Jon set up a GFM campaign in 2015 to assist Josh in raising $3600 to purchase a specialized racing wheelchair. He included a biography and the details of Josh's story. Josh says GFM is "a good resource, a very good resource. They key was a thorough bio. It's imperative."

After the GFM campaign is created, the most important thing to do is get your page out there. Share your link everywhere! Posting to Facebook is the most important thing you can do, as it allows for greater exposure through the ease of sharing. Don't be afraid to share with every single person on your friends list, and make sure to ask them to share it with their friends.

Consider creating a Facebook event specifically for your campaign and paste your GFM link in the event description. Emailing your link to your contacts is another way to spread the word. Create a hashtag and share it on Twitter or share a screenshot of your page and link on Instagram, Snapchat, or LinkedIn. Print our campaign signs and ask to hang them in your rec center, a local cafe, church, temple, school, or workplace. Consider presenting your campaign to community groups in person. Reach out to local media outlets with your story and campaign as a possible human interest story. It's a numbers game: the more people who see your campaign, the more donations you will receive. People want to give to a good cause. If they know you personally, they will likely give if they are able. Friends of friends often give because of the legitimacy effect: 'If my friend shared this link, it must be a worthy cause!'

For each week Josh's campaign ran, he and Jon would find new places to share the GFM page and new groups to post to, each time mixing it up with current updates and photos, always getting the page in front of new potential donors. GFM's "update" feature makes it easy to keep your fundraising campaign fresh. They even shared it in a presentation to the local Rotary Club. The strategy paid off. In four months, the entire amount was raised and Josh bought his new chair the day he withdrew the donations! Currently, Josh competes in about 12 5k races a year and is so grateful to have this amazing piece of equipment.

Josh Heine's GoFundMe campaign webpage

With all of the crowdfunding sites available today, it is easier than ever to raise money for things you need that would otherwise be out of reach. If insurance doesn't cover the mobility equipment you need to live without limits, and you can't purchase it on your own, consider starting a GoFundMe campaign. With a little creativity and persistence, you could soon find yourself on the way to successful fundraising!

Most of the stories here on RideQuickie were submitted by readers. Do you have a story to tell? We'd love to hear it. Submit your story here.


Date: 8/1/2017 12:00:00 AM


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