Start a Fundraiser for a Family in Need

The Ultimate Guide to Organizing a Fundraiser for a Family in Need

Organizing a fundraiser for a family in need is an impactful way to show your support during their tough times. Whether it's due to medical expenses, the loss of a loved one, or any other challenging situation, your efforts can make a significant difference.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you get started:

  1. Identify Relevant Support Options
  2. Set a Clear Goal
  3. Choose the Type of Fundraiser
  4. Plan the Details
  5. Spread the Word
  6. Manage Donations
  7. Show Appreciation
  8. Deliver the Funds

Let's dive in.

1. Identify Relevant Support Options

Many articles will start with "identifying the family's needs". Unfortunately, during tough times, needs aren't always clear upfront. If you wait until the family's needs are well defined or the family is able to express them, it could be too late.

Instead, our recommendation is to start with identifying options for supporters. We call with a supporter-led approach. Supporters want to help in four categories:

  • Give Money - Financial support is the simplest way for supporters to take action. It's also the most flexible, allowing families to adjust as their needs change.

  • Send Meals - Allow supporters to meet a daily need. Assuming the family's schedule is somewhat consistent, meals allow basic needs to be met and facilitate controlled personal interactions.

  • Lend a Hand - Let people volunteer to help. During tough times, couples might welcome help around the house or someone to run errands. If the family has children, childcare, pet care, and transportation can be among the most helpful options to show support.

  • Stay Updated - Keep friends and family in the loop. Text messages, emails, DMs, and calls can easily spiral out of control. Streamlining communication is a great way to direct the flow of support without becoming overwhelming.

As support options have been identified, it becomes easier to layer in a family's needs as they become known.Is it financial assistance for medical bills, funds for educational expenses, or support for daily living costs?

Knowing this will shape your fundraising efforts and the tools you use to manage them.

2. Set a Clear Goal

The biggest challenge when fundraising for a family in need often stems from "the fear of public perception." Concerns about being seen as needy or unable to provide can be significant barriers. However, it's crucial to reframe this perspective: People who care about the family genuinely want to help, and financial support is a straightforward and effective way for them to express their care.

Consider the full costs. When dealing with a tough situation, such as the loss of a loved one, initial thoughts often go to immediate expenses like funeral costs. However, the financial impact of such events is usually more far-reaching.

To set a realistic fundraising goal, consider the following:

  • Immediate Expenses

  • Ongoing Financial Commitments

  • Future Needs and Adjustments

  • Unexpected Costs

Set a reasonable and adaptable goal. Once you have a comprehensive understanding of the costs, set a realistic initial financial target for your fundraiser. This goal should not only cover immediate expenses but also provide a buffer for ongoing and unexpected costs:

  1. Start with an achievable target to build momentum

  2. Be transparent with donors about where funds are going.

  3. Increase over time as milestones are met.

  4. Celebrate milestones each time a goal is met, celebrate and thank your donors. 

3. Choose the Type of Fundraiser

There are several types of fundraisers you can organize:

  • Online Fundraising Campaigns. Leverage crowdfunding platforms where you can share the family's story and receive donations. For example, SupportNow is a free platform that combines the fundraising capabilities of Gofundme, with the meal booking ability of Mealtrain, and the update functionality of CaringBridge... in one place.

  • Charity Events. Host events such as charity runs, bake sales, or benefit concerts. is a nonprofit that helps host 5k runs for all types of causes.

  • Community Drives: Organize donation drives for essentials like food, clothing, or school supplies.

  • Silent Auctions: Collect items or services to be auctioned, with proceeds going to the family.

4. Plan the Details

For online campaigns, create compelling content. At the minimum, you should have the following information:

  • The family's story

  • An overview of how funds will be spent

  • A compelling family photo

Some platforms require more information, but the simpler platforms are just as effective. In response to a major event, timing is a key part of rallying support for families in need. In many cases, the value of a fast, simple setup means momentum can start building much sooner.

5. Spread the Word

There are two ways to consider spreading the word.

First, recruit other Organizers to help keep things straight and get the message out. Whether it's the family or other friends, people like what they help create. In addition, dividing responsibilities among a few Organizers can prevent burnout.

Next, use social media, community bulletin boards, local media, and word of mouth to promote your fundraiser. The wider you spread the message, the more support you’re likely to garner. Consider which friend groups, social networks, civic organizations, and associations might welcome the opportunity to support the family.

A common mistake is limiting outreach to one individual's network. For example, Sally's husband passed away last fall. Her friends spread the word among Sally's friends and colleagues but forgot to include her late husband's work, golf buddies, and college fraternity. Every social circle can unlock potential support.

6. Manage Donations

Ensure you have a secure and transparent way to collect and manage funds. Tools like Venmo or Cashapp can seem fast and convenient, but funds get mixed among other personal transactions. 

When it comes to managing donations, two suggestions come to mind:

  • Encourage supporters to give via one option. It's not always possible, but providing a single option (rather than a list) can streamline bookkeeping later.

  • Use a donation platform but be mindful of costs and fees. Donation platforms are build to receive and report on donations, funds collected, and individual donors. As you choose a platform, make sure to consider the costs. For example, SupportNow offers the industry's lowest transaction costs and gives donors the option to Roundup to cover costs. Click here to compare prices.

7. Show Appreciation

Thank every donor and participant. Their support is invaluable, and acknowledging those who give will foster a sense of community and encourage future support if the need arises.

It doesn't have to be much. Some Organizers opt for hand-written "thank you"s, but in most cases, a text or message is totally fine.

8. Deliver the Funds

Once the fundraiser is complete, ensure the funds reach the family in the most effective and timely manner. The longer the delivery takes, the more opportunity for suspicion among supporters.

A major benefit of using a donation platform like SupportNow is the handling of funds. Organizers of the fundraiser can attach the Beneficiary to a fundraising campaign or Support Registry, ensuring funds go straight to the family.

How SupportNow Simplifies Fundraising for Families

While organizing a fundraiser involves several steps, SupportNow can streamline this process for you. Make your fundraiser more efficient and impactful. Here’s how:

  • All-in-One Platform: SupportNow offers a comprehensive platform where you can create an online fundraising campaign, share the family's story, and collect donations securely.

  • Diverse Support Options: Whether it’s financial aid, meal support, or volunteer services, SupportNow allows you to cater to a variety of the family’s needs without relying on multiple tools or spreadsheets.

  • Community Engagement: Leverage the power of a supportive community. SupportNow’s network can help amplify your fundraiser, reaching a wider audience.

  • Transparent and Direct: With SupportNow, donors can see exactly where their contributions are going, and families can receive 100% of the funds raised without any hidden fees. Every donor is notified once their funds have been sent to the family.

  • Ongoing Support: Unlike one-time fundraising events, SupportNow provides a system for sustained support, allowing donors to contribute as the family’s needs evolve over time.

By choosing SupportNow for your fundraising efforts, you’re not just organizing a fundraiser; you’re building a support system that stands with the family every step of the way. Let’s make a difference together, one family at a time.

Start a fundraiser today for a family in need.

  • Published: Nov 15, 2023
  • Last Updated: Nov 16, 2023

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