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Fundraising for Medical Expenses

July 12, 2008

Medical expenses can break the bank, even for the most competent budgeters. Millions of Americans have little or no insurance coverage, and they simply cannot budget for the exorbitant costs of full-priced medical care. Even individuals with health coverage may find that high copays and deductibles leave them with massive medical bills. Many families must seek outside help to make ends meet when a major medical expense comes up.

Wait for Final Bills to Set Fundraising Goal

Often when people are faced with lengthy medical treatments, such as chemotherapy, bills can pile up over time. If you hold a fundraiser at the beginning of the ordeal, you may find that your fundraising goal doesn’t begin to cover your total medical expenses. For this reason, it may be better to wait until you know what your final bills will be before you set a fundraising goal. This way, you have a better chance of raising enough money in one fell swoop to cover all of the bills.

Partner with a Nonprofit Organization

Donations made to an individual or a for-profit business are not tax-deductible for the donors. If you want to offer tax deductions to donors, you may consider partnering with a nonprofit organization (”NPO”). In this partnership arrangement, the NPO uses its tax-exempt status to collect deductible donations from individuals, and that money is then transferred to the hospital or health care provider holding the debt.


If you hold any kind of fundraiser as an individual or a for-profit business, the donations may be taxable under the gift tax law. Although technically the giver of a gift is the one responsible for paying a gift tax, as a fundraiser you may be inadvertently assuming that tax liability yourself.

Also, you should set up a special fundraising bank account to keep track of donations. Explain to the bank what your fundraiser is about, and a banker will be able to inform you about all applicable tax laws and donation limits in your area.

Reach Out to a Broad Audience

When seeking donors for your medical expense fundraiser, reach out to individuals as well as businesses. You can increase your income exponentially by tapping unlikely resources with good marketing techniques. In a fundraiser for medical expenses, friends and family can be the best resource for recruiting donors. You can ask people who know the beneficiary of the event to network with their own friends. Local businesses and even nonprofit corporations may be willing to donate to your event.

You should prepare two marketing letters to help seek donations to your cause: one for businesses and one for individuals. Though the two letters have the common goal of promoting your fundraiser, each letter will highlight different benefits of donating. By carefully tailoring your advertising materials to the specific readers you are trying to reach, you are more likely to elicit donations.

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