Help Me Help Them
January 3, 2017 3:14 PM   Subscribe

I've been asked to set up a GoFundMe campaign to help cover bills while someone is in ICU. Help me do this right without creating more work, stress, or hardship for them.

My best and oldest friend's husband suffered a massive stroke this past Saturday. Currently, it appears he survived and there is a path to at least partial recovery. I offered to look into options for crowdfunding to help with the loss of income and these immediate bills, which she accepted.
I discovered HelpHopeLive and like the services they offer however, looking at their site they work with the patient and not a representative for the patient. Today she asked me to go ahead and start a GoFundMe campaign on their behalf. I really need to not fuck this up any and all advice tips and best practices help is wanted and appreciated. Thanks!
posted by ApathyGirl to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Your friends are so lucky to have you in their lives.

In my experience, GoFundMe campaigns tend to go sideways when it appears that the receipients are using the campaign to line their pockets as opposed to paying for care.

I'd make sure that any the campaign page is very clear about who you are, why you have set up the page, and how the money will be going to your friend's family. Remember that your friend's husband's friend's might not be as aware of the closeness of your relationship and so might be skeptical.

I'd also try (without getting too personal) to provide information that explains why your friends need financial support right now: was husband the primary breadwinner? Do they have immediate out of pocket expenses that their savings won't cover? Try to set the goals accordingly, given that most hospital bills won't come due for a month or two at the earliest, the biggest things right now are probably paying the regular monthly bills without a paycheck, so make the goal something like Paying Friend's Family's January Bills, and set the goal amount to something like Friend's Husband's monthly paycheck, or maybe the mortgage payment or something.

After things are more clear, the goals can shift accordingly: Get Friend's Husband a PCA, or Pay Down Friend's Deductible.

Make sure that updates about Friend's husband's status aren't paywalled (for Patrons/Backers Only type things). Enable whatever options are available for refunds within 30 or whatever days.

Consider also setting up a site on Take Them a Meal or Meal Train or the like, so that people can provide non-financial support if that is what they are able to/can afford. Co-ordinating a volunteer effort like that is a lot of work, and by helping with that you'll be taking a lot of weight off of your friend, and she'll have more energy to help her husband recover.
posted by sparklemotion at 4:00 PM on January 3, 2017 [4 favorites]

I did this last year when a friend had to have emergency surgery to remove a large chunk of her intestine. I did exactly what sparklemotion suggested: I made it very clear who I was, why I'd set up the page, and how the money would be used by my friend's family. I also explained what exactly was going on (friend's surgery), how it impacted her family (husband was back and forth from small town to big city an hour away), and what the money was going to be used for (bills, rent, and groceries for the family).

I made frequent updates, which a couple people told me they really appreciated. I also sent personalized thank yous as soon after the donation as I could manage.

Oh, and I shared the link far and wide. My Facebook, friend's Facebook, friend's husband's Facebook, friend's adult child's Facebook, Twitter, a Facebook group page friend and I were both members of, a bbs we were both members of, and direct messaged a few people who'd asked me how they could help.
posted by The Almighty Mommy Goddess at 4:14 PM on January 3, 2017

One note: I set up a GoFundMe several months ago and am dismayed at the amount of money that went to GoFundMe instead of toward my own bank account.

This past weekend I received two donations totaling $400. GoFundMe took $25 of that.

If you can set up a way for people to donate via Paypal (or some other method without fees) it would likely generate more actual revenue.
posted by tacodave at 4:28 PM on January 3, 2017

Response by poster: It looks like GoFundMe's fees are currently 5% + ( 2.9%+$0.30/donation to the payment processor)
GiveForward is the same.
YouCaring doesn't charge the 5%, but has the same 2.9%+$0.30/donation.

Any opinions on those two alternates?

Also, I was planning on working with her so that it's attached to HER information, her banking, etc. I'm just doing the heavy lifting of getting it set up and maintaining it. Is this a bad idea?
posted by ApathyGirl at 5:19 PM on January 3, 2017

My big tip is to plan how to get the word of this out -- that's how these sites either succeed or fail. I hate Facebook but if a supporter of hers is active on it, that is a good way to do it.
posted by bearwife at 9:38 AM on January 4, 2017

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