Crowdsourcing emerges as a lifeline for medical expenses

figures with laptops

Ideally, everyone’s medical needs would be fully covered by their insurance. But that’s not always the case, and people have to look elsewhere to pay for their treatment.

So crowdfunding sites such as GoFundMe have risen as a go-to method of paying for medical treatments that aren’t covered by insurance, allowing people to raise thousands of dollars with a series of small donations. That’s something a UO faculty member has studied.

“The general public is embracing the technology and using it in a way that benefits other people, and it’s really a beautiful thing,” said Courtney Munther, an instructor at the UO’s School of Journalism and Communication.

Unfortunately, due to the number of competing campaigns, many people are unable to reach their goal. Munther said the initial wording of one’s request is crucial in communicating the urgency of that person’s need.

“One of the reasons that medical crowdfunding works so well is because you have a clear need for something,” she said. “The second thing you need is urgency, and so often in medical emergencies, the need is urgent.”

For more, see “The kindness of strangers: GoFundMe is often patients’ only hope” in The Register-Guard.

Munther, who teaches a course on crowdfunding, has seven years’ experience in health care public relations and nonprofit development. She served as the spokesperson and general communications specialist for St. Joseph’s Hospital in Irvine, California, and has also worked in donor relations and developing donor cultivation programs.