CoFund Health Blog > Safe Crowdfunding to Help Victims of Mass Shootings
Safe Crowdfunding to Help Victims of Mass Shootings
After two mass shootings in August left thirty dead in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, in less than only 24 hours, the United States has unfortunately seen more mass shootings than days so far in the year. Gun violence in the country is on the rise. Mass shootings on college campuses have occurred throughout the country from California to Georgia. They have also occurred at elementary, middle, and high schools.
More than 100,000 individuals are shot each year in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These tragedies generate around $2.8 billion a year in in-patient charges and emergency room costs alone. Keep in mind that the average emergency room bill for a single gunshot victim is about $5,254 while the average in-patient charge is about $95,887, according to the study.
Crowdfunding to help Tragedy Victims
Preventing gun violence and mass shootings on school campuses are challenging our country, to say the least. Although the right to high-quality and affordable healthcare isn’t guaranteed, there is still hope. Online fundraising and crowdfunding sites, like GoFundMe, Fundly, and CoFund Health doing their part to help multiple shooting victims pay for expensive medical bills. Examples like the astonishing$31 million raised after the unfortunate 2017 Las Vegas massacre show the best of human nature from those donating to help neighbors and strangers.
Similarly, Equality Florida, the state's most prominent LGBT rights group, also launched a noble GoFundMe campaign for the many victims of the Pulse Nightclub shooting in 2016. This fundraising campaign raised over $1.6 million in just the first 22 hours—the fastest campaign to reach $1 million in the crowdfunding industry's history.
The Popularity of Crowdfunding Platforms
There is no doubt that thousands of people have turned to popular fundraising sites, to help victims pay for care like rehabilitation and surgery. Other costs include in-patient care, follow-up surgeries, rehabilitation, and skilled-nursing care, mental healthcare, durable medical equipment, personal care, as well as living costs while these patients aren’t able to work. Getting help from online crowdfunding helps people stay out trouble with medical debt.
Online crowdfunding puts the old tradition of passing a hat around at church for donations on a convenient online platform. With these websites, anyone a shooting victim has ever met in their life, as well as internet strangers, can quickly rally around the need to raise funds to help pay medical bills. In the US, asking strangers for charitable donations for tackling medical bills is ubiquitous. For example, a 2015 report by NerdWallet revealed that $930 million of the total $2 billion that has been raised by GoFundMe since its launch in 2010 are associated with medical bills.
Choosing the Right Crowdfunding Platform for Your Needs
If you are starting a crowdfunding campaign after a tragic event, whether for yourself or someone else, you should understand the differences in the different websites available. Are you just raising funds for medical bills, or are you raising funds to pay for living expenses in addition to medical bills?
If you intend only to raise money for your medical bills, say you emergency room treatment, x-rays, and in-patient care, starting a campaign on CoFund Health is the best way to assure your potential donors their money is only being used for your healthcare. Since money raised can only be used at a pharmacy or a medical facility with no cash access or bank account transfers, donors know that that are not contributing to yet another crowdfunding scam and are likely to help more.
If your fundraising needs are for more than your medical expenses, then perhaps you should consider fundraising on alternative sites as well. For instance, if you also need to fundraise for lost wages due in addition to hospital bills, you could start a fundraiser on GoFundMe in addition to your CoFund Health campaign for your medical bills. Be warned, you may not raise as much on your GoFundMe campaign as people may be less apt to contribute as much without the assurance of knowing how their money is being used.
When you are donating to a campaign on any crowdfunding site, you surely want to have a clear and detailed understanding of how your donation will help. Take a close look at who is collecting the funds and what crowdfunding platform they are using. Do you personally know who is running the crowdfunding campaign or maybe one of your friends know them? Do you trust their story? Do you trust the website they are using to fundraise?
CoFund Health is the only website dedicated solely to helping people raise money for their healthcare needs. To give you the confidence to help more, we are the only crowdfunding site that restricts the money raised to only be used by the actual person you intend to give to and only for their healthcare expenses. While anyone can start a CoFund Health campaign for someone else, the beneficiary must take control and ownership of the account before it can raise any money. This step verifies that the money is going to the correct person. We restrict donated money to only pay for healthcare needs using a pharmacy benefit card and a medical debit card. These safety measures ensure your well-intentioned donations are only used for prescription medication copays, doctor and hospital bills, and health insurance premiums. Unlike other crowdfunding sites, the campaign owner cannot transfer the money to a bank account to use however they want.
We have all read stories unverified unscrupulous crowdfunding campaigns that have been fraudulent and deceived many donors. The story of Johnny Bobbit and Kate McLure who fabricated their heartwarming tale of compassion that drew more than $400,000 in donations, but later everything turned out to be a total lie.
Unfortunately, every time a mass tragedy event hits the news, scammers start campaigns "to help the victims" and instead pocket your donations. Scammers do not limit themselves to just a fabricated story of helping the homeless, rather they are quick to start fraudulent crowdfunding campaigns any time people are opening their hearts and their wallets to help others in need. Protect yourself, whether as a donor or a campaign beneficiary by making sure you know where your donations are being spent.
Crowdfunding for medical bills in a time of emergency is something almost everyone American can support, even if for as little as $5 or $10 as it all adds up. If you need help, It is essential to make sure to do your homework to set up the best campaign possible to reach your fundraising goal. As a donor, before you give, you should also know that you are giving to support a legitimate campaign as emergencies often spawn fraudulent fundraising activities. People have been known to use these emergencies like mass shootings and natural disasters to pull at heartstrings of people willing to give only to pocket the money and not help the victims. Whether you are starting a campaign or considering giving to help someone else, know that a CoFund Health campaign is exclusively for medical crowdfunding and you can find no more trustworthy way to get or give help with medical bills.
Matt Martin is the co-founder of CoFund Health, a crowdfunding site for personal healthcare needs, and CoFund My Pet, a crowdfunding site dedicated to pet’s health. As a veteran & business-owner, he aims to continue a lifetime of service to others. For more information visit cofundhealth.com or cofundmypet.com.
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