CrowdMed Founder, Jessica, launched a fundraiser on Indiegogo Life to raise funds for patients who cannot afford to get help for their case. She’s shared a bit about her experience with us below.
Tell us a bit about your fundraiser.
One in ten people living in the United States suffers from an undiagnosed medical condition. Rare diseases can be debilitating and depressing. They can lead to endless doctor’s visits and medical tests. Often patients get lost in the medical system, spending thousands of dollars trying to find a diagnosis.
My friends and I came up with a solution to this problem. Together we built CrowdMed to harness the power of the crowd to solve difficult medical cases. Mounting doctor’s bills often leave people with undiagnosed medical conditions in financial distress. Some patients lose their jobs while battling their sickness and holding onto hope for a cure.
I’ve shared my personal story to help others who are also suffering from an undiagnosed medical condition. In college my hair started falling out and I had trouble concentrating. My friend’s mother, a registered nurse, noticed a lump on my throat and encouraged me to see a doctor immediately.
I endured countless medical tests and doctors visits only to be left without answers or treatment options. The terror of not knowing what was wrong with me was holding me back from living my life. Each time I visited my doctors, I wondered why they wouldn’t give me an answer. Instead, they would order more tests. I feared they would finally tell me the bad news that I had an incurable disease.
Fortunately I eventually received a diagnosis and the treatment is simple—taking a daily pill for the rest of my life. Not knowing what was wrong with me was worse than the disease itself.
Why did you decide to fundraise on Indiegogo Life? What was your goal?
I met Danae Ringelmann, a co-founder of Indiegogo, on a panel at the United Nations‘s World Summit on Innovation and Entrepreneurship. We talked about how our companies and goals are aligned. Both companies use the power of crowds to solve problems—Indiegogo uses crowdsourcing as a fundraising tool, and we use it to help people solve undiagnosed medical conditions. Collaborating together was an obvious choice and it has been a privilege to work with the team at Indiegogo Life.
What advice would you give to future Indiegogo Life fundraisers?
Creating a video to add into our pitch text and social channels gave our campaign a boost. We tried running the campaign without one initially and had trouble gaining traction. The day we posted our video, we received a $100 donation, and a blogger reached out to us for an interview.
The video doesn’t have to be a major production. We created our video with an iPhone in my friend’s backyard.
Did anything surprise you about your experience?
I sent out an email asking my network to share a tweet about our fundraiser. Not only did many of them share our tweet, they also made very generous donations! It goes to show how helpful it is to let people know what you’re working on. You never know who will have a connection with your cause and want to contribute.
What was the most valuable thing you learned?
Don’t be shy about asking for help. The first time I ran a fundraiser I felt uncomfortable asking friends and family for donations, but I believed what I was raising funds for was important. I knew I had to get over this feeling in order to rally people together to make an impact. When I put myself and my fundraiser into the world, I found friends, family, and even strangers to be incredibly supportive.
Put yourself out there and ask for help. If you don’t feel comfortable asking for a donation, start small and ask for help promoting your campaign. This will get you comfortable with asking for support and you might get a few unexpected donations in the process. Then, just ask for a donation. It’s not a big deal. The worst thing that could happen is someone says “no” (or doesn’t respond). When that happens just ask the next person. If you’re supporting a good cause, you’ll find people willing to help.
If you find that you’re having trouble getting any support from anyone, revisit your campaign and see if you can make your story clearer or update your video.
Indiegogo Life is now Generosity by Indiegogo: the only socially conscious fundraising platform that’s free, fast, and open, giving individuals and organizations the power to improve lives everywhere. Find out more about Generosity at www.generosity.com.