Crowdfunding for Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Expenses

If you are a spinal cord injury survivor, then you have been confronted with a multitude of associated expenses that you had no idea would occur or could afford. Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare and other public programs will only pay so much, thus leaving the injured person and their family scrambling for ways to pay for uncovered expenses like durable medical equipment, caregivers, prescriptions, doctor visits, transportation, housing and much more.  It used to be that fundraising for these expenses involved major planning and usually took the form of a church fundraiser, golf outing, or something put together by a local restaurant.  Today, with the advent of the Internet, and fundraising sites in particular, raising money has become much easier and more streamlined.
 
Crowdfunding is a relatively new phenomenon that has become very popular in recent years.  It is the practice of funding a project or venture by raising small amounts of money from a large number of people, typically via the Internet.  While most crowdfunding is done to help raise capital to start a business or to fund an entrepreneur’s idea, a more recent trend has begun to use crowdfunding to help raise money for unexpected medical bills.  The average first year expenses for a new spinal cord injury person is approximately $600,000, so families need to look at additional ways to help defray the cost of recovery. Crowdfunding is an option that many are beginning to turn to for assistance.  The Department of Health is neither endorsing nor affiliated with the fundraising entities.
 
When examining crowdfunding websites, it is important to understand the rules and fees associated with each. Here are some options to choose from when deciding on a crowdfunding website:
 
 
 
GoFundMe allows campaign organizers to invite others to take part in their story.  Just as we share parts of our lives on Facebook, we also want to share our dreams, pursuits, celebrations and challenges online with crowdfunding.  GoFundMe removes the physical barriers traditionally associated with receiving financial support from the people in our lives.
 
Donations: Credit and debit cards
 
Payments:  GoFundMe will send funds regardless of whether you reach your goal amount or not.  All payments are processed through WePay
 
Fees: 7.9 percent plus 30 cents per donation
 
App:  iPhone and Android
 
Extras:  No deadlines or goal requirements.  Keep every donation you receive.
 
 
GiveForward
 
GiveForward is an online fundraising and donation website, and the easiest way to raise money for a loved one in need. They are the #1 platform to start a medical fundraiser and have fundraising coaches who provide fundraising ideas and guidance on how to raise money online.  
 
Donations:  Credit and debit cards
 
Payments:  GiveForward will send funds regardless of whether you reach your goal amount.  All funds are processed through WePay
 
Fees: 7.9 percent plus 50 cents per donation
 
App:  iPhone only
 
Extras:  Fundraising coach provided to each member.  Turn all the love and support on your page into a custom, hardbound Hugbook.  “Community Fund” available.
 
 
YouCaring
 
YouCaring is a fundraising website created for individuals wanting to raise funds for medical expenses, memorials and funerals, education and tuition assistance, adoption fundraising, funding for mission trips, pet expenses or animal rescue and helping another in need.
 
Donations:  PayPal and WePay
 
Payments: Donated funds are transferred directly to your PayPal or WePay account
 
Fees: 2.9 percent plus 30 cents per donation
 
App:  None
 
Extras:  Multiple currencies accepted
 
 
CauseWish
 
CauseWish is a personal fundraising website that focuses on medical and related causes.  Create your own page or raise money for a family or loved one in need.
 
Donations:  Credit card, Debit card and PayPal
 
Payments:  Funds are deposited instantly to your bank account
 
Fees: 6.9 percent plus 30 cents per donation
 
App:  None
 
Extras:  Personal fundraising coach for every campaign.  Prompts donors to spread the word and share your page. Automated thank you emails and extensive donor management tools.  Multiple currencies.
 
 
Fundly
 
Donations:  WePay
 
Payments:  There is no minimum amount to raise in order to keep your funds. Payments are processed quickly and can usually be withdrawn in 24-48 hours of the donation. Automatic transfers can also be configured to further speed things up.
 
Fees:  7.8 percent plus 30 cents per donation
 
App:  iPhone
 
Extras:  No minimum amount to raise in order to keep funds.  Tight Facebook integration.
 
 
FundRazr
 
FundRazr spreads through your social networks to help you raise money and awareness for causes that you and your friends care about.  If you need to collect money for a personal, group, political or non-profit cause, FundRazr is for you.
 
Donations:  WePay and PayPal for International users only
 
Payments: Payments are deposited instantly into your PayPal or WePay account.  You always keep the money you raise. No matter how much you raise or how long it takes.
 
Fees:  7.9 percent plus 30 cents per donation
 
App:  None
 
Extras:  Social media integration.  Must have a Facebook or Google+ account.  Raise money in 10 currencies and over 20 countries.
 
 
HelpHopeLive
 
HelpHOPELive is a nonprofit fundraising solution for you, a friend or a loved one in need of help with medical bills. HelpHOPELive manages all of the funds raised and pays bills directly, helping patients and their families focus more on their treatment and recovery while providing accountability to donors who can be sure their funds will be spent for their intended purposes.
 
Donations:  Credit card and electronic check
 
Payments:  Once HelpHOPELive has received a completed campaign registration verifying medical and financial need, and funds have been raised, the patient or an approved support person can submit for payment or reimbursement of uninsured medical expenses.  Simply fill out and submit a Fund Request Form along with proof of expenses (bills, receipts) and they will respond to your request the week it is received.
 
Fees:  6.9 percent plus 30 cents per donation
 
App:  None
 
Extras:  Members are provided with a fundraising coordinator.  Coordinators assist with live events such as dinners and sporting events.  Funds raised will not affect Medicaidor  501(c)(3) nonprofit status.
 
 
Crowdrise
 
Crowdrise is an innovative, modern and effective online fundraising website where you can raise money for the causes you care most about, and have the most fun in the world while doing it.
 
Donations:  WePay
 
Payments:  WePay.  There is no minimum amount to raise in order to keep your funds. Donations are processed quickly and are automatically transferred from WePay to your bank account.
 
Fees: 7.9 percent plus 30 cents per donation
 
App:  None
 
Extras:  Crowdrise Impact Points are redeemable for merchandise.  Support for different types of fundraisers.