Health and wellness is the best gift someone can give, but reaching supporters who want to help can be harrowing when we’re facing a medical challenge – so we’re here to help guide you through how to write a medical crowdfunding story with ease!
Before we begin… a note on privacy.
Before diving into the meat of this article, let’s talk about privacy. In my article “Confronting the challenges of medical crowdfunding with CoCoPay,” I discussed a common concern about medical crowdfunding being the loss of privacy.
When reading this article and considering the story you are writing – for yourself or your friend/family member – remember you choose what information you reveal. Details about a diagnosis or condition and the symptoms that come with them are NOT necessary, especially if they are sensitive.
Throughout this article, I’ll mention what information has proven useful for success, including credibility factors identified by supporters of medical crowdfunding campaigns. And keep in mind you can always set the privacy of your campaign and your user profile to be unsearchable on outside search engines and CoCoPay itself.
We here at ConnectionPoint (the team behind CoCoPay) want you to be comfortable with this process. If you have any questions or need help with your story, please reach out to us. Our conversations are confidential, and we will never ask you for any information you aren’t comfortable sharing.
Bring in your community.
Who is helping you write your story and manage your campaign? There are two strong reasons to consider bringing in one or more family members/friends to help you with this process:
- Depending on the situation, you might need to focus on your treatment and rehabilitation instead of this campaign.
- It can make a difference in the campaign’s success. This article, featuring our founder and CEO Daryl Hatton, outlines how campaigns featuring a group of people (families in particular, but I would argue a close-knit group of friends is just as powerful) are more convincing and credible.
Note: ‘Managing the campaign’ means taking charge of promotion, thanking supporters, answering questions, writing and posting updates, and coordinating with the CoCoPay team for any assistance.
When writing this story, consider keeping these themes in mind.
Be authentic – show your true self. This means not trying to show yourself in a light you think people want to see or what you believe will bring in more funds. You should be comfortable in being you, whoever that is. Not only is this important for mental health and self-worth, but readers can see past the veil you’ve created and might doubt your campaign’s credibility. Truth and honesty will bring you to where you need to be.
Be transparent – be open and clear about each step of this story. Contrary to some peoples’ beliefs about crowdfunding for healthcare, you do not need to divulge all of the medical details about your condition, symptoms, or treatment plan. You do, however, need to be clear about who you are (or who your loved one is), what this campaign will accomplish, what the facts are, and especially what the funds will be used for.
Be courageous – you are a fighter. You wouldn’t be here otherwise. Trust in yourself and in your community that wants to help you. We understand that it is incredibly difficult to ask for help and even harder to ask for money. Our article on fear and asking for money might help, but if you have lots of anxiety surrounding this process, we urge you to talk it out with someone you trust. Bottling fear and anxiety does no one any good!
Steps on how to write a medical crowdfunding campaign story
These steps are suggestions – in the end, this is your campaign. You run the show. However, we urge you to consider most of them because they are based on years of crowdfunding expertise and research done on campaign success.
Step 1 – Identify yourself.
Again, it is common for someone needing to crowdfund for medical reasons to look to a loved one they trust to run their campaign. It brings credibility from outside endorsement, plus it’s been shown that campaigns told in the third person might be more effective.
So, who are you? Are you the beneficiary or a loved one? If a loved one: how do you know the beneficiary, and for how long? Consider inserting a picture of the two (or more) of you! If more than one, did you know you can create a ‘team,’ complete with team name and photo – learn how here!
Step 2 – Who is the beneficiary outside of their diagnosis or situation?
We are not our ailments. The beneficiary is someone with passions, hobbies, pet peeves, and life goals; we want to hear about the real person behind the medical diagnosis. Don’t include everything down to their fourth least-favourite food, but give us a good idea of who your loved one is.
Step 3 – what does this condition/diagnosis prevent the beneficiary from doing?
A common misconception about medical crowdfunding is that the audience needs specific details about the condition the beneficiary has. These details are unnecessary for two reasons:
- They’re private. While it is a good idea to outline the basics, these details are between the beneficiary and their healthcare professionals.
- They might be well beyond the average person’s understanding! These stories need to be short to grasp the average internet user’s tiny attention span; filling them with medical jargon is distracting, confusing, and takes up valuable time.
The part of any medical condition we care about is how does it affect our lives? Identify the effect on the beneficiary. Are they crowdfunding for oral surgery because they are self-conscious about their teeth and afraid to smile? Or is their entire life upended by a cancer diagnosis, and simple daily tasks are now difficult?
Step 4 – what remedy are you raising funds for?
Be general here. Is it ongoing treatment, one surgery, a device, rehab, etc.? Avoid medical speak and link to articles for anything that needs more explanation, but don’t feel the need to detail the specifics.
Step 5 – what do the beneficiary’s medical professionals say about this remedy?
Is it highly successful? A bit risky? One of the only options or many options? Information from medical professionals adds to the campaign’s authenticity.
Step 6 – Describe the use of funds.
Now, this is a place to get specific. For medical crowdfunding to be credible, the use of funds must be outlined, and the entire goal accounted for. If treatment costs $12,000, why is the campaign’s goal $15,000? If you are asking for extra to cover travel expenses, loss of wages, childcare, etc., that’s okay! However, you should explain exactly how you got to that number. This is best practice; it enforces trust, transparency, and authenticity. It may seem like a bit of a privacy invasion as well; however, it is also fair to expect your potential supporters to want to know what their hard-earned money is going toward.
Step 6 – Call to action
Spell it out for your supporters: you are asking for a contribution to the campaign. But not everyone will be in a position to give, so why not use this campaign as a landing page for a happiness boost? Your well-wishers can leave comments, photos and videos on your campaign (if you like), and those little shots of adrenaline can really make your day!
Don’t forget to detail your expectations regarding sharing the campaign. Are you okay with anyone sharing it anywhere? Or do you prefer to keep it in certain social circles or just family? Do you prefer everyone checks with you before they share? Or are you asking for no one to share to respect your online privacy?
Whatever your preferences, make sure they are clear and perhaps individually message all people you are sharing it to and ensure they are clear on your expectations.
How long should the story be?
Unfortunately, the tricky bit about writing fundraising campaigns is they must be short. Ideally, around 500 words with a maximum of 750 (which, to be honest, is pushing it).
This might seem impossible given how much information you have to write. However, keep in mind there are many more chances to discuss this information. You have updates, for example, which you can post multiple times a week if you like. In fact, the more updates, the better! This reassures your audience, keeps them in the loop about progress, and can really be about anything (that isn’t simply asking for more funds). Read this article to learn more about updates.
Photos & videos
The best possible thing you can do for success is to create a short video to post. If the beneficiary is not up to it, this can come from the loved one managing the CoCoPay campaign for them. This does not have to be long or professionally done, either.
Take your smartphone and sit somewhere calming (outside, preferably!) and quiet, and speak for a minute (that’s it! Just one minute!) about who you are, why you’re running this campaign and a few top points from the campaign story. Plop this video in your campaign’s media gallery as the ‘campaign video,’ and it will be the first thing your supporters see.
Then intermix your campaign story with photos of the beneficiary. We tend to see medical campaigns with dire photos showing people at their most vulnerable. This is NOT necessary.
In fact, I recommend against it. Supporters are more likely to contribute if they feel positive and encouraged by the campaign. The end goal is about getting the beneficiary to be who they truly are, or who they used to be, so show that to the world!
Post pictures of the beneficiary with friends/family, doing something they love, happy and smiling. If you would like to post photos in a medical setting, that’s fine – we still recommend keeping it light. Feelings of guilt and doom and gloom are counterproductive to campaign success.
As always, my team is here to help! Contact us if you have questions or just need a second set of eyes to look over your story.
Yours in success,