Show Me the (Crowdfunded) Money!

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CASH IN: With a strategic approach and a team, you can crowdfund piles of money. (Library of Congress, 1917)

Team Matt Will Heal reeled in $100,000 on GoFundMe (in only a month!) to pay for Matt Williams’ medical expenses. How’d they do it—and how can you? Here’s their blueprint.

What would you do if the medical treatments to stop the progression of a stage-4 cancerous tumor in your mouth came with a massive price tag—and your health-insurance plan fell $90,000 short of covering those expenses and other, related costs?

Matt Williams, 38, was in that very situation two years ago, and he turned to a team of family members and close friends to crowdfund the money and support his healing journey. He asked his sister, Joy Smith, a pharmacist in her 20s, to be one of seven key people in the extended Williams family’s quest to raise the entire amount in one month. Amazingly, the Matt Will Heal team raked in the $90,000 in just two weeks after launching their campaign on GoFundMe. And ultimately, the team brought in $100,000 from 1,000 donors.

“You don’t understand the magnitude of what a successful GoFundMe campaign requires. You can’t just put the site up and hope for the best. You have to be very strategic.”

With health-care costs representing the leading cause of bankruptcy in the U.S., crowdfunding for medical expenses offers many people in pain their only hope of paying for crucial treatment. Everybody’s banking on the kindness of strangers to fund their medical needs, but the average crowdfunded medical campaign brings in an anemic $2,400.

So what’s the secret to ending up with a robust haul like the Matt Will Heal team did? You’re about to find out.

Today, Smith talks about:

•  Why you can forget about reaching your goal if you launch a GoFundMe campaign and do nothing other than wait for the money to roll in

•  Why, if you’re the intended beneficiary of a crowdfunding campaign, you should appoint someone else to oversee it

•  The importance of putting together a campaign team of people with different strengths and areas of expertise, and working together to achieve your ultimate goal

•  A surefire way to bring in tens of thousands of dollars on the first day you launch your GoFundMe campaign

•  How to avoid the “Ick Factor” that often comes with asking for money

•  Why you should especially welcome relatively small $50 and $100 donations

•  Why asking for “offline” donations can massively boost your bottom line

•  Exactly what the team did to keep the momentum going after the campaign’s first three days, when donations typically trickle off

•  The strategies the team implemented to collect money from prospective donors who don’t feel comfortable donating money over the internet


•  Joy Smith was one of seven key members of the Matt Will Heal team that managed her brother’s GoFundMe campaign. She would like to publicly thank her teammates who each played a “tremendous role” in the team’s reaching their GoFundMe goal (“A lot of them trained me,” she says): Betsy Helgager Hughes, Javin Foreman, Keisha Kidan, Joe Jones, Damali Noel and Rev. Reginald Williams, Jr. “This massive campaign could not have happened without the expertise of these individuals,” she adds. “My brother and I created the campaign, but this team was the fuel to the fire!” Great job, all! Smith is a practicing pharmacist and is a certified integrative nutrition health coach. She blogs about nutrition and healthy living at Sankofa Organic Wellness.


•  To help your campaign creator raise money on your behalf, we’ve assembled a trove of money-making strategies that the Matt Will Heal team used to successfully reach their goal. The strategies appear in a free, hit-the-ground-running Crowdfunding Strategies That Work checklist arranged in chronological order. It tells you what needs to be done in what order—and why each strategy works. Packed with proven, money-making strategies, the checklist gives you a detailed blueprint of how to meet your crowdfunding goal. So send the person heading up your crowdfunding campaign a link to the checklist, along with a link to this free “Show Me the (Crowdfunded) Money!” podcast episode. It’ll really help out him or her.

•  CaringBridge is a personal health journal website that you can use to rally support among your extended family and close friends during your health crisis.

•  GoFundMe is the No. 1 crowdfunding platform for personal causes. “Medical, Illness & Healing” is now its most-popular fundraising category.

•  Other popular crowdfunding websites are: YouCaringHelpHopeLive, Generosity by Indiegogo and FundRazr.

•  Watch “Sage’s Hero,” a poignant, 82-second videogram that Joy’s team made and added to the campaign’s Facebook feed, for a simple, stealable way to make a video that may touch the heart of your donors.


Our theme music is “Gentle Storm,” composed and performed by Betsy Tinney (

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