Family using the rear entry ramp on the Dodge grand caravan Wheelchair van rear entry

How Can I Use Crowdfunding to Buy a Wheelchair Van?

Fundraising has always been around as a source of comfort for those in need and a resource for those dealing with hard times. Over the years, however, the process of fundraising itself has evolved. Goodbye to fish fries, bake sales, and car washes - the internet has completely changed the fundraising game. If you want to get the word out, the answer is literally a click away: just power up your computer.

The latest trend in fundraising-and quite a successful trend I might add-is something called crowdfunding. All over the internet, sites are popping up, dedicated solely to helping those who have fallen on hard times to get their stories out. The websites each have their own variations, but all have a same basic idea of helping others. When registering on one of the websites, you create your own profile (much like you would on Facebook). You tell your story, upload pictures, and explain to your audience what exactly you need (outlining a specific monetary goal is helpful). Next to your profile is a donation button, allowing viewers to donate to your cause. We've picked our top three favorite crowdfunding sites, and want to share them with you in hopes that jumping on the crowdfunding bandwagon will help you to meet your goal!

My personal favorite crowdfunding site is GoFundMe, perhaps the easiest site to use and navigate. On GoFundMe, you have a large cover photo to showcase what you're fundraising for, and directly below your photo, a story of why you're fundraising. Beneath your photo is a large chart showing the donators how close you are to raising your goal. The thing that sets GoFundMe apart is the personalization it gives to donating. When a viewer donates to your cause, they have the option of leaving their name or remaining anonymous, and even better yet, the ability to leave a message to you or your loved ones. The donation 'notes' are visible on the right side of the page for other viewers to see. GoFundMe also provides links to Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, and Pinterest, so viewers are able to share your story with yet another branch of the online community.

FundRazr is also a great, easy-to-use crowdfunding site. It operates in much the same way as GoFundMe; however, instead of having a giant cover photo, FundRazr allows the most eye catching part of your fundraising profile to be a video, which allows you to explain to possible donators in person just how important your cause is. I believe that this is an excellent tactic. While you are still able to compose a paragraph describing your cause, what better way to promote it than speaking about it yourself?

RocketHub is another great crowdfunding site. Like FundRazr, it uses a personalized video to help you get your message out. RocketHub, unlike the previous two, uses incentives to persuade viewers to donate. For example, donating $25 can get you a handwritten thank you note, while $50 can get you a handwritten note and some sort of gift card (getting local businesses to donate five or ten dollar gift cards would allow you to offer the incentives with no costs for you).

Hopefully reading this has made you realize that there is more to fundraising than bake sales and car washes. Crowdfunding is an effective trend that can't be ignore, and sites like GoFundMe, FundRazr, and RocketHub make it easy for you to jump on the bandwagon and put your cause out there. So give it a shot. There are millions of people on the web, let them be your audience and your support.

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