So, you’re about to enter the exciting journey of launching a crowdfunding campaign for your Hero Arm? This can be an exhilarating time in your bionic journey. Of course, you may be feeling nervous, overwhelmed, and curious as to if your efforts to achieve your goal will prove fruitful. Not to worry, within this blog, I (as someone who has gone through the process) will share important steps and tips for managing a successful crowdfunding campaign; one that will have you heading to an Open Bionics clinic for your Hero Arm unboxing in no-time!
First, I’d like to address the elephant in the room and express my belief that crowdfunding for a prosthesis is an avenue that the limb different community should not have to take. Crowdfunding and GoFundMe are not healthcare. We face an uphill battle in making prosthetic devices accessible for those who want them through the healthcare system. When insurance denials occur, it’s extremely discouraging and rightfully so. Appealing an insurance denial can be even more stressful and time consuming. Luckily, the route of crowdfunding is an option for those who wish to explore it, but we should never accept it as the only avenue.
I am a congenital amputee and attempted to get my first Hero Arm by Open Bionics in early 2020 through my insurance at the time. After multiple conversations that led nowhere, conflicting information, and ultimately denial, I was faced with a monumental decision: do I give up the fight for a device designed to make my life more accommodating or do I push on?
Context: I was not the type of person to ask for help. I had a bad habit of suffering in silence. I carried this mentality with me for a while after my insurance denial. It wasn’t until late summer of that year did I receive the motivation I needed to launch my Hero Arm GoFundMe campaign. My stepmother told me to never underestimate someone’s desire to help. With that, I set out to get my Hero Arm.
First, I connected with a funding success manager, Sarah, at Open Bionics who guided me through every step. From creating a video of myself explaining why I wanted a Hero Arm and what I would use it for.
Here are the things I did that resulted in my funding goal being met in under 60 days:
I absolutely credit the amount received in the opening hours to priming my audience as opposed to randomly dropping the campaign link without notification. This is a sure way for campaigns to go unnoticed, or to generate too little attention in the crucial beginnings. I branched out the reach as well, using both my Twitter account and LinkedIn to also share what I was posting in the Facebook group. Each week, I shared a heartwarming story, fun fact, call to action, and even hardship on each platform with the donation link. I encourage those who may be shy in their crowdfunding endeavors to not be afraid to pull the heartstrings. Be raw and real. Show people what you face and how a Hero Arm will make your life better.
As an amputee, it’s not easy to share aspects of our lives online. It’s an invasion of privacy and can elicit unwanted comments or feelings that can be emotionally overwhelming. I completely empathize with this. However, we cannot be afraid to show people what we go through if we want their support.. We must be willing to give them a peek into our world, a world that opens them up to empathy and a motivation to give. Show them the difficult tasks you face without a prosthesis. Show them how your current prosthesis gives you a rash or blisters. Show them how the Hero Arm could make these situations better.
At the beginning of each week, I shared updates across all social platforms on the donation total thus far and number of shares. I also included a call to action such as “Can we make it to X shares and X amount of money by the end of this week?” This proved to also keep my audience engaged and excited to see the numbers rise, with some sharing multiple times and even donating multiple times.
I took the campaign further and reached out to members of my community as well. I contacted my local newspapers, my college, my high school board of education, local churches, clubs, any organization that popped into my head that I thought may help, I contacted. The very least they could say was no. I printed flyers and posted them at businesses with their permission. I even sent a private email to my former Dean of University, a woman I knew had multiple connections in high places. Through her assistance, I was fortunate to generate another $8,000. My point here is: do not be afraid to reach out to someone. If their name pops into your head even slightly, contact them.
In the end, I was able to begin my fitting journey for the Hero Arm by reaching my crowdfunding goal in a month and a half! Through the campaign video showing me and my needs, priming my audience, creating a community where all info and updates could be shared, sharing consistently, keeping the audience engaged, and stepping out of my comfort zone, I was able to do what I thought would be impossible in the beginning. The largest bit of advice would be to never give up. Keep at it. Take mental breaks, but always return to rejuvenate your campaign. If I could breathe life into every dormant Hero Arm GoFundMe, I would do so in a heartbeat.
Do you know anyone who would love a Hero Arm but doesn’t know how to secure funds? Register and speak to our funding success team today.
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