Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Raising Money for Individuals with Health Problems.

Everyone has seen local campaigns to help those in medical need--say, cancer patients or people who need expensive, experimental surgery. How do you even begin a money-raising campaign in those cases? Before you even begin, take stock of your current situation—assessing your financial needs and how to deal with them. United Way of Greater Toledo has a good website on coping with medical debt. It includes how to work with your insurance company, the possibility of appeals, of debt collection, bankruptcy, garnishments, and so forth. It’s worth a read.

The Step-by-Step Fundraising site has an excellent blog on how to raise money for individuals. Sandra Sims, the author, lists checking for governmental and private sources of help. A good place to start is at the local and national organizations that advocate for people with a particular disease or health condition, such as cancer or muscular dystrophy. You local library should be able to provide directories with this information.

For those in need of an organ transplant or suffering from a catastrophic injury dealing with brain or spinal injury, HelpHopeLive is a nonprofit organization that will help people create a fundraising campaign, create a website, and disperse money as needed.  See their website for more information, or call  800.642.8399.

You can also check out the Foundation Center’s Directory of Grants for Individuals. It’s a fee-based site, but it’s available for free at every Foundation Center Cooperating Collection, of which there are 400+ in the United States. In it, you can search by geography and subject for foundations that might give to an individual with this illness, or provide other help.

You may also mount a fundraising campaign on Give Forward, a portal that allows individuals to "crowdfund" source for funding for their medical needs.

And, although it’s geared for nonprofits and small groups, another good read is The Accidental Fundraiser by Stephanie Roth and Mimi Ho. It gives you the nuts and bolts of how to run small-scale fundraising—for instance, how many people you need to run that community dinner, or bowlathon, and how to run it most effectively.

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