Why Use a Personal Donation Website for Your Next Fundraiser?

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| 6 min read Fundraising Strategy

Many people may feel uncomfortable asking for money from friends or family or starting a personal donation website for themselves. However, when an unexpected illness brings in mounting medical bills, starting a personal fundraiser can be a way to share your story, your updates, and your milestones. It can also allow friends and family to show support—and help them answer the question, “how can I help?”

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What is a donation website?

A donation website is a place where you can receive money from donors to fundraise for a specific cause. You can fundraise for almost anything, whether you want to start a fundraiser for a charity close to your heart, or to publish a book or start a business of your own and need help covering your costs. If you’re wondering what is the best donation website for your purposes, check out this breakdown of crowdfunding sites.

Why one user started their own personal donation website

Karen Spies, an entrepreneur and mother of two, explains why she started a GoFundMe and how it worked for her.

“When I went to the doctor and heard that I had to have an emergency hysterectomy in 4 weeks, I was beyond panicked. I had been a self-employed single mom scraping by for years without health insurance for myself. To think that I had to submit to major surgery and be incapacitated for at least a month was terrifying. I talked with my boyfriend and he suggested working longer hours. But I had already thrown my back out two times and hurting myself again would delay the surgery.

I went home and called a friend to help me calm down. My friend’s wife got on the phone and said to me, “Karen, this is no big deal. How much money do you need? $10,000? Just get 100 people to donate $100 each and you’ll be fine.” That statement was a turning point for me. I realized that I was not in combat against a huge adversary but that I really could go to my community and be cared for.

I went to the hospital to talk with the financial counselor. When he told me how much the deposit that I had to put down to schedule the surgery was, I felt pretty capable, but when he told me the total amount that it was going to cost, I felt like I was falling down a well. I walked out in a daze and sat in my car for 10 minutes. I couldn’t believe that I had to let someone cut me open, that it was urgent and that I had to pay so much for this horrible experience.

When I told my mother I planned to start a personal fundraiser, she was offended. “You are going to beg your friends for money?” she asked. “It’s not begging!” I retorted. I was asking people that I knew and loved—people that I had been there for—if they would step up and help me.

Yes, I was embarrassed. Yes, it was painful. Yes, and… I felt as if it were the only way to get this done.

We had a successful fundraiser and raised more than enough to cover the cost of surgery.

The most amazing thing about my donation website was the comments and encouragement that I received both on the site and in person. In contrast to my mother’s opinion, I had people that I didn’t even know telling me about their similar experiences and people who had not been present in my life for over 20 years stepping up to help. People were thanking me for my vulnerability. And people told me that they were grateful that I had given them the opportunity to help. Truly it wasn’t about the money. In fact, I think that the comments that people put on the site when they made their donations were the most healing part of my whole surgery experience. To know how many people love you is an invaluable gift.

In this virtual age, sometimes we think that humanity is cold and binary. We hear the propaganda that technology is destroying the community. Those naysayers don’t understand that the power of human connection is so strong that it is fostered by any communication, regardless of distance or media. They don’t understand how a midwestern girl in Boulder, Colorado had people all over the world reaching out to connect to her and support her. The ability of crowdfunding sites like GoFundMe to mobilize your community is truly a way in which we can be there for each other.

If you have a medical need, I would strongly suggest that you step forward and let people who care know what’s going on with you. Don’t let shame stop you from feeling the love that people in your life have for you. No one can feel good about helping if there isn’t anyone asking for help.”

GoFundMe reviews from people who have used the site

Angela, Save My Home

“Easy and stress-free. Which is great because I was so stressed when I turned to the GoFundMe campaign. I was just starting training at my new job, and after months of unemployment, my car was repo’d. I ran out of time for car notes and bills. Now I’m still behind on the rent, but I can focus a lot more clearly. I wish I had added it to my campaign needs. I’m glad this option was available.”

Carrissa, Stephanie and Mike Fire Displacement

“I had never done this type of thing before. But I knew I didn’t have the means to help my mom and her boyfriend on the level they needed and as fast as they needed. My mom just lost everything in the Blue River, OR fire and I mean EVERYTHING. Left with one pair of clothes and her medicine. GoFundMe has not only provided an avenue for our “village of people” to unite and support my mom and Mike, but it’s provided HOPE. They do not fear the future. Can’t wait to rebuild and help others rebuild along the way.”

Ane, Women’s Initiative in Peru

“I genuinely really enjoyed GoFundMe to raise money for my mission. It was a great way to ask the community to help me reach my goal. I ended up surpassing my goal and I am very grateful. Really great what this organization is doing.”

Ready to get started? Here’s how to make a donation website

When you’re ready to get started on your fundraising journey, GoFundMe is here for you. Simply sign up, share your story, and send your fundraiser to friends and family—making a donation website really is that easy.

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Written by GoFundMe Team