Friday, April 11, 2014

Personal Fundraising Tips

Personal Fundraising Tips

Many if not most people with Lyme Disease are, unfortunately, in debt. Even if you have disability benefits, the costs of Lyme Disease and all the adjunct therapies often FAR exceed the amount of money coming in from disability or in savings accounts. Personal fund-raising for medical bills is very commonplace nowadays, and something I did on a few occasions to help offset my huge medical debt. Since I also have a lot of experience with nonprofits and fundraising, as well as advising friends on personal medical fundraisers, I thought I would share some tips here. 

Remember, there is no shame in asking for help. It is often the most courageous thing you can do. 

Personal Fundraising Websites: these websites now make it very easy for you to post your story, pictures, and a direct way to contribute to your cause.

·        Great example on of a Lyme patient who raised almost $7,000: - an easy way to explain your story briefly, post on Facebook, and have it spread virally through friends and friends of your friends. Have friends post something about their connection to you, "this is my dear friend Sharon who…" on their wall.

In-person fundraiser - this takes a lot of friends and work, but I did an event with a silent auction, donated bar, etc. I had a dozen friends help me out with this, and we secured silent auction donations, as well as donated venue space and music. It takes some leg work but it is very possible (and really fun for those involved). If you are interested in this, let me know and I can give you some advice. You can see the invite that was made by a co-worker of a friend below for my fundraiser, called "Monapalooza."
You might want to make an easy blog page on blogger or wordpress. Simple, brief description, even pics of you healthy or sick, whatever you want. A BRIEF story of why you need financial help (people don't understand that Lyme treatments are hardly ever covered). Then add a Paypal widget/button, and people can donate right there. You can send this via email to friends and also have it on FB.

Remember, everyone has a different comfort level with personal fundraisers. People with Lyme Disease are all in a boat where they should not be ashamed to ask for HELP when it's needed. My advice is to make your personal fundraising page as it fits with how you feel about asking for donations and spread the word! 

This type of fundraising is commonplace in the US now as so many people are ill and without medical coverage (or with it and still in debt)., for instance has raised $94 million for people online for medical expenses (that is people self-fundraising for medical bills). 

If people do not believe in Lyme Disease or do not support you emotionally, it is probably best not to send them the fundraiser information. However, you may be surprised how people you may not even know want to help you. In my case, for instance, my friends generously donated to my cause as well as many complete strangers (friends of friends or people who heard about my fundraiser by word of mouth). I was incredibly grateful and made sure to express this gratitude countless times. It was no easy feat to swallow my pride and ask for not just physical and emotional support, but financial support too. 

Below is the invite that someone made for my fundraiser at a bar/art gallery in San Francisco.

*If you have not applied for Long Term Disability benefits (LTD) from your former employer or Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) from the government, you should do so as soon as possible. I am happy to give you some free advice on disability benefits via email, and also offer some other information about a system I designed myself with a colleague from law school while I was very disabled from Lyme Disease to help win my disability benefits quickly and easily. 

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