A family in your neighborhood is experiencing a sudden medical emergency when the mother of the family has a bad accident. They are insured, but even so they are still having a hard time paying all of the bills, especially now that one of the breadwinners is unable to go to work for a few months. As a concerned neighbor, how can you help them stay afloat?
Fortunately, in communities where people tend to look out for each other, you won’t have any trouble finding lots of people who are willing to give time and money to help out. Here are a few ideas to help you get the word out to other caring individuals in your community.
Make It Easy to Give
With permission from the family, set up an online fundraiser on their behalf. Use a website like YouCaring that allows people to give by name or anonymously as they prefer. A few things to make sure of when setting up your online donation site:
- Make your donation page appealing. Include lots of photos of the family in question, particularly of Mom in her casts.
- Be clear in offering information. Explain the family’s situation clearly. Give specific details on how the family’s income has been negatively impacted by this accident. Offer specific figures on how much money the family needs in order to settle their medical bills and keep their family comfortable until Mom can go back to work.
- Have a specific target amount you want to earn and a specific date that the campaign will end (you can always set up another campaign later).
- If you can, offer incentives! Sometimes campaigners will offer small gifts to donors. For something like this, it would be appropriate to offer something handmade as a gift to donors so tap into your creativity or seek out others who have the ability. For example, offer a handmade thank you card from the kids of the family or a knitted item from Mom.
However, you will also need to make sure that it is easy to give for people who do not want to give online. Talk with the family about setting up a donation system so that neighbors can send checks or direct deposit donations. Be sure to keep track of all of the donations so you can send appropriate thank-you notes to your donors.
Get the Word Out
There are probably lots of people in your community and network who would be happy to give if they only knew that there was someone in need. Find creative ways to get the word out to friends and neighbors. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
- Hold a benefit event. Put together a neighborhood party or a community event like a BBQ at your local high school to benefit the family. Make giving fun. Ask neighbors and local businesses for donated items like gift cards or baked goods and hold a raffle. Put donation bowls at regular places around the party so people have plenty of opportunities to drop in coins and bills or checks. Hire a bartender or food truck and sell drink and food tickets. Have a suggested donation for price of entry for the event. Of course, this is a community event so people should not be obligated to pay to enter. The idea is to just give them plenty of opportunities to give if they so choose.
- Attend a local event like a craft fair, organized bake sale, or sports event and rent a table or booth dedicated to raising money for the family in need. Order custom signs, stickers, buttons, and table banners to advertise your cause. Set up a few jars for small donations and keep a cash box for people who want to make larger donations. Prepare nice laminated bookmarks to hand out to donors that advertise your donation page. Include a photo and a few lines about the family in need. You may want to sell items at your booth like baked goods, but in this case, it’s okay to make the focus about the giving!
- Mail out donation envelopes. Send your neighbors some pre-addressed and stamped envelopes if they would like to send checks to benefit the family in need. Include a write-up about the family, their photograph, and a website where they can get more information.
Persisting Through Tough Times
It can be very difficult to raise money for those in need, but try to remember to keep a good attitude throughout the process, no matter the results. Keeping a positive outlook will be good for the family and hopefully you can help them stay cheerful through tough times. And don’t forget to seek out professional help when you need it. There are lots of professional organizations, charities, non-profits, and government institutions who may be able to help the family in need if you help them get their paperwork together!