Senior care is increasingly available to families with many options to choose from. Yet, one thing that can slow one’s journey to finding the right care option is payment and finance. Whether you’ve saved just enough or aren’t even close, crowdfunding your senior care costs is an increasingly popular option in our modern times.
So what exactly is crowdfunding? Essentially, the combination of globally accessible online content and human generosity have given rise to personal charity websites where anyone can set up a campaign for just about anything. These sites allow people from all over the world to come together and contribute to a common cause by donating to a campaign in any amount they choose.
For seniors and their families who are unable to pay the full cost of private pay senior care, crowdfunding can be a very viable option. Although, without previous experience, using these websites can present a series of challenges. It may not be the best option for the average family, but with a compelling call-to-action, your senior care costs can be lessened by the good will of your friends and a network of caring people.
To start, you’ll need to consider whether crowdfunding will interfere with any sources of income such as Medicaid or veteran’s benefits. Since both of these assistive services have certain income limits in order to qualify, you’ll need to be aware of how much money you can legally receive through your campaign.
Successfully Crowdfunding Senior Care
As with any effort to evoke the generosity of friends, family, and even complete strangers, you’ll need a compelling headline and support to your message. Since things on the internet move quickly and are easily eclipsed by a constant flow of new information, standing out from other campaigns requires some critical thinking. Ask yourself the following:
• Who is the person receiving the funds?
• What network do they have to draw upon?
• How is their story unique?
• What platforms do members of your target audience use?
• Who can help you spread the campaign?
A successful campaign relies on its ability to connect with people on an emotional level, expressing how they can become helpful and contribute to the cause. Guilting people into helping isn’t an ideal tactic, although it is important to express a certain level of urgency so the campaign doesn’t get brushed aside.
Crafting the right headline is key, so try something along these lines:
“Beloved Grandfather at a Loss for Senior Care Funds”
“Help Our Mother Find the Care She Needs!”
“Veteran Can’t Pay for Senior Care – We Need Your Help!”
“Help [loved one’s name] Pay for [Care Type]”
Make sure to include details about your loved one that will help your audience connect with him or her, ultimately explaining why their donation is important. Your campaign could display images of your senior when they were young, evoking nostalgic thoughts and other memories.
Since many older people and friends of your loved one may not be the most tech-savvy people, you’ll need to think of ways to spread the campaign beyond using Facebook and other social media platforms. A simple round of phone calls or emails with the link to your campaign can be very effective, allowing you to pitch to donors. Although it’s not unheard of for strangers to donate, your main focus should stay within your loved one’s network of friends and family. Then again, making a viral video or other quirky display to support your campaign may land your senior some internet fame or a spot on the Ellen Degeneres show – you never know!
Choosing Your Host Site
There are many crowdfunding sites out there, but some are more appropriate for this type of campaign than others. Each site will charge a small fee around 4-5% of the donations received. Those claiming that their donation process is “free” typically charge the donors rather than the recipients. Either way, expect to receive around 5% less of the money accumulated. Here is a list of the most commonly used crowdfunding sites along with their fees and general purposes:
GoFundMe – Perhaps the most popular site, charging a 5% fee and available for any purpose.
Give Forward – Concentrated in medical care, charges a 5% fee and is also available for memorials and personal fundraising.
YouCaring – Focused on medical and personal care, charges 5% fee.
IndieGogo – Charges a 4% fee, is oriented to younger audiences and is multipurpose.
FundRazr – Supports many causes and is especially used for medical care, charging a 5% fee.
During your campaign, it’s important to keep realistic expectations. Don’t be discouraged if the donations are small and roll in over the course of several months. Also, since these proceeds are considered gifts they are not taxable and thus can only be used to pay for private senior care. Again, be sure that these donations won’t interfere with any other forms of federal or state assistance and you should be good to go!
In most cases, a compelling story and persistent campaign will yield results and can really make the difference in finding a way to pay for senior care. If you or a loved one have had success with crowdfunding we’d love to hear from you!