A Friend for the Long Haul

By: BRIEYA MIKALE on | Comments: 3
A year ago today, GiveSendGo saw a campaign for a man named Mr. James from Memphis, Tennessee. He’s in his late 70’s and was in need of a new trailer to collect scrap metal, which he does to support his loving wife and great grandchildren they’re raising together. His friend, Dywana, thought the trailer didn’t look safe, so she decided to raise money with us on GiveSendGo in order to purchase a new tailer for Mr. James! Talk about a good friend!

The co-founders of GiveSendGo felt led to help Mr. James and Dywana out, so they purchased a new trailer for him and told Dywana any money she’d already raised for Mr. James can now just go directly to him! 

They traveled to Tennessee to meet Dywana and surprise Mr. James with the new trailer! The morning of the surprise, Dywana received a call from Mr. James, who told her he was on his way to meet her…business as usual...except, he mentioned, as of that morning, his trailer was no longer usable. Can you believe it?! On the SAME MORNING Dwyana and the GiveSendGo team had arranged to meet Mr. James and give him this new trailer, his old one breaks down! 

Some people may call it a coincidence, but we know there’s no such thing! He was overwhelmed with joy and thankfulness for his friend Dywana, for the new trailer, and to everyone in his community who came that morning to show their support! I think we all can agree we need a friend like Dywana.
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9 Fundraising Methods to Help Pay for Medical Expenses

By: ALEX SHIPLEY on | Comments: 1
Hospital visits, surgeries, ambulance rides, physical therapy, and other health related treatments or resources can all be costly medical expenses. People worldwide live with the burden of paying off these bills all while trying to help their bodies heal. Both are stressful and can take a toll on any individual or family. Some people go without getting medical help at all, even though they might desperately need it, simply because they can’t afford it.

GiveSendGo serves as a resource for anyone who’s looking to raise money to pay off their medical bills or help a loved one with their medical expenses. Money shouldn’t be the determining factor as to whether you receive medical help or not, so here are some fundraising tips to help pay off these expenses easier. 

1. GiveSendGo Campaign

You never know when a medical emergency, surgery, or illness may happen. With the right treatments and medicines you can work on getting better, but it typically costs a pretty penny to get medical care of any kind. Even planned medical treatments or care can cost a lot of money. This is why GiveSendGo has several families and individuals using our platform to create fundraising campaigns to raise money for their medical expenses, unexpected or not. If you or anyone you know is looking to raise funds for their medical bills, whether immediate or in the future, we encourage you to use our platform as a resource to help you raise that money more effectively!

Just like with any other campaign, it’s important to tell your story and explain your situation on your GiveSendGo campaign page. With this specifically, you want to communicate the details of what you’ll be needing the money for. Explain what the money you’ll be raising will be going towards such as medications, treatments, therapy, wheelchairs, etc. You don’t have to share every detail, especially sensitive details you want to keep private, but it’s important to explain the important things to your potential backers. Additionally, include any details on donating and other ways people can support you, your loved ones, or your family throughout this situation. You should also include specific amounts people can give, so they don’t have to guess what you need, such as $50, $100, $150 - you get the picture! 

Once you’ve shared your story, share your campaign as much as you can with your family, friends, social media community, church family, co-workers, and your local community. Share it on your social media sites, send the campaign url through email to relatives and co-workers, and text the campaign url to your closest friends and family. The best way to raise funds to help pay for those costly medical expenses is to spread awareness and get as many people involved as you can, so don’t be shy with that share button! 

2. Virtual or In-Person Walkathon or 5K

Virtual 5K’s and walkathons are becoming more and more popular in today’s day and age! With this fundraising method, you can get in some healthy exercise, while raising the money you need, all at the same time! 

Now, if you’re in the hospital or have been advised not to walk, run, or take part in any exercise of this kind then this method probably isn’t for you to also be participating in. However, if you are able to move around in this capacity, or you’re a loved one fundraising one someone else’s behalf, then start inviting friends, family, co-workers, church family, and even your community to walk or run with you in a virtual or in-person 5K or walkathon! Due to the flexibility of this fundraising method, even if you aren’t able to be there in person due to your health, this event allows people to run or walk on your behalf. 

All this method takes, whether it’s in person or virtual, is for people to pledge certain amounts of money based on how far they run or walk. That walking or running course can either be preplanned by you or a loved one in-person, or if it’s a virtual event, it can be a course mapped out by the runner or walker in their area. Whatever each person decides to pledge, based on the distance they ran or walked, they can donate directly to your GiveSendGo campaign page! 

3. Used Book Sale

A used book sale is a wonderful way to get your community involved in your fundraising! Ask your friends, family, co-workers, church family, and community to donate any books they’re wanting to get rid of to your cause. You can also reach out to your local library and see if there’s any books they’re wanting to discard or are selling for a low price. They may even just donate them to you! It’s also worthwhile to stop by any local thrift stores to pick up cheap books they’re selling for a low price. (Many places like this will sell you a bundle of books for only a couple of dollars). 

Once you’ve spent some time collecting as many books as possible, you can set up a book sale (much like a garage sale) and invite everyone you know (as well as those in your community) to come buy books at your book sale! You’ll be surprised how many books you can sell, especially at a fraction of the cost most book stores would sell them for. Whatever money you raise can then go directly towards your medical expenses! 

4. Writing Letters

Writing fundraising letters is a great way to let people know what your situation is and ask for support. It’s such a popular method, it’s used to raise money for all sorts of causes. 

Start by collecting the addresses of family, friends, church members, co-workers, and more. Then, write a letter explaining your, or your loved one’s, medical situation and your fundraising needs. If you or your loved one needs money for surgery expenses, ambulance rides, crutches, a wheelchair, rehab, etc. communicate that in the letter. People are more apt to help if they know what they’re helping with, so be sure to include all the details they’ll need to know. Also share specific amounts people can donate such as $50, $100, $200, etc. People don’t like guessing how much they should donate, so adding those specific amounts (as well as mentioning what your end monetary goal is) will be helpful to them. 

You can also include the link to your GiveSendGo campaign, so they can give directly to you online! We live in a time where people are more prone to giving online rather than through cash or check, so this is a great way to include another donation option. 

Lastly, if you want to go the extra mile, include another stamped envelope with the already sealed letter, so it’s easy for them to put their money in the new envelope and send it off as quickly as possible. The more convenient you make it for people, the more donations you’re likely to receive! 

5. Potluck Dinner

Who doesn’t love a good potluck? Churches especially will find any excuse to hold a potluck, so why not ask your local church if they’d be willing to host a potluck dinner as a fundraiser for you? Members of the church will already be invited, as well as any of your friends and family. You now have an opportunity to personally explain your situation and ask for donations. (This is also a great time to implement some of the other, smaller, fundraising methods mentioned throughout this article). Church families love to swoop in and support those they know, so this method is a great way to make your needs known and enjoy a meal with people you care about! 

6. Collect Change

If you’re like me, you have change lying around your house, your car, probably in your dryer, and somewhere in your purse or wallet. Most of the time this change just floats around and gets lost, so why not ask your friends, family, community, and church family to collect all their loose change and donate it towards your medical expenses? 

Better yet, if you know people who want to donate their extra change, give them a container they can collect their money in. As an added personal touch, add a custom title or hashtag representing your situation on the container. Then, let everyone know what their deadline is (the day you’ll be collecting their change) and allow people to save up their money until that date. Pocket change may not seem like a lot, but once you add it all together you’ll be surprised by just how much money you can raise to cover medical expenses with this method! And, it’s so easy due to its minimal planning or resources! 

7. Host a Game Night

Game nights, similar to trivia nights, are highly effective! Invite your family, friends, community, co-workers, and church family to your event. Be sure to communicate to those thinking of attending that your event is a fundraiser to pay for you, or a loved one’s, medical expenses. Then, charge a set amount per table or per person. This allows people to come as a group or for people to attend and play games at any table. Whatever works best with your game night event! 

All you really need for this event are a variety of board games and maybe some snacks and drinks for people to enjoy while they play (which you can also charge money for). Games like chess, UNO, Clue, checkers, Monopoly, Sorry, dominoes, LIFE, and Phase 10 are all great games to include at your event, but you can really bring whatever games you think those in attendance will enjoy playing! 

Also, make sure to secure your event space ahead of time. If you’re a member of a local church, ask if you can use one of their buildings to host your event. You may even get to use it for free!

8. Envelope Fundraiser 

This fundraising method can be easily implemented into any fundraising event you may be hosting or you can do it completely on its own! It’s also affordable and incredibly low maintenance. Buy a pack of envelopes at your local store, label them 1-100 or 1-150 (you get the idea) and hang them up on a cardboard presentation board or on a corkboard. 

Then, let your backers choose an envelope and insert the cash corresponding to that number directly in the envelope. Now cross out that envelope’s number to show the remaining amounts left to donate to. You can also simply keep the envelopes in a box and carry it around with you. With this method you can easily raise more than you spend, so have fun with it! 

9. Read-a-Thon

If you love reading or know people who do, this fundraising method may be for you! Encourage your friends, family, co-workers, community, and church family to read as much as they can in one month, or to pledge money for the amount of books or pages each participant reads. Whatever part people play in this challenge, they’ll be helping to support you! You can set goals such as pledging $50 for five books read, or $100 for 3,000 pages read. 

This method can be pretty flexible as you get to choose the goals and amounts people can donate. Then, ask people to donate their amounts straight to your GiveSendGo campaign page when those reading goals are met. This not only gets people’s minds active, but encourages participation from children and families! You can even offer the person who reads the most books or pages a prize at the end of the challenge!

Shine Brightly
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Go to Sleep, You're Worshiping Your Father in Heaven

By: ALEX SHIPLEY on | Comments: 3
I am constantly amazed, and always slightly annoyed, at how quickly and easily my husband can fall asleep. It’s definitely a skill - and one I desperately wish I had most nights. 

I’ve always struggled with the ability to fall asleep. When I was younger I used to fight sleep as much as possible, because I didn’t want to miss a moment of life. I would wake up and sneak around the house because I felt there was so much life to experience and sleep was just a waste of time. This behavior isn’t abnormal for children, but they typically grow out of it as they get older. While technically, yes, I stopped fighting sleep simply because I didn’t want life to pass me by, my struggle of falling asleep continued into my teenage and eventually my adult years. 

Ever since highschool, I’ve suffered from insomnia. The reasons why I’ve had insomnia have varied from year to year, but no matter the cause, the problem is still frustrating. And the frustration typically only adds to the lack of sleep I get - see the vicious cycle here? 

A few summers ago, in-between my sophomore and junior year of college, I developed terrible insomnia matched with restlessness, hallucinations, heart palpitations, anxiety, and even depression. However, through that struggle, and the counsel of many individuals who were much wiser than I was at the time, I came to realize that even sleeping was an act of obedience to God. By not finding ways to improve my rest and actually developing bad sleeping habits because of it, I was choosing my own way of solving my sleeping problems rather than submitting my restlessness to God. By wallowing and writhing in my pity late at night instead of turning to Him to heal my anxiety and exhaustion, I was actually sinning. 

Arriving at that truth wasn’t easy, nor was it simple common sense. Sleep seems like such an odd and silly thing to give to God, especially when it appears to be such an easy fix for us to take care of. But even God cares about how you choose to rest and He promises to help you in your struggles to find it. He said in Matthew 11:28-29, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” While this passage is specifically talking about turning to God in times of sorrow and pain, the same principle applies - God is our comforter and our rest. Without Him, we are hopeless. 

Sometimes sleep is disrupted by more than just worry or bad sleep habits. Mental and physical illness play a role in taking away one’s sleep too, but no matter the reason why, again, Jesus is there to bring healing, comfort, and rest when we need it. 

Here’s how I know that.

Jesus Slept in Submission to His Father

Why do we know, biblically, that sleep and rest matter to God and that they’re acts of worship to Him. We'll take this Bible story for example. 

Most of us are familiar with the story in Mark 4:37-41 which says, “And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

Jesus and his disciples are out on a boat on the sea of Galilee. This sea isn’t very large and storms like the one mentioned in Mark would have been rather unexpected. The wind was picking up, causing the waves to come crashing into the boat, filling it with water. I imagine we too would act just like the disciples, panicked and afraid at the possibility of drowning out at sea. They wake up Jesus, who is peacefully sleeping in the boat amidst the storm. When he wakes, Jesus says, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” Most of us would think, “Wow, Jesus. Isn’t that a bit harsh?” But that goes to show the ignorance we have as fragile human beings who tightly hold onto our mortality and often hold it higher than God.

Jesus slept because he trusted his Father would protect him even when reality posed a threat that would say otherwise. Although in the moment all seemed lost to the disciples, Jesus rebuked them for their lack of trust and faith in God. It seems like a trivial thing to us, but Jesus took that faith seriously. He expected them to submit their fears to God who had ultimate control of the situation already and when they didn’t they made fools out of themselves, because Jesus (God made flesh) was right there to quiet the waters. How they acted in that moment displayed what they actually believed about God. Had they rested, just as Jesus rested, knowing God would take care of them, they would have ended up just as safe as they did even after they made a big hoopla out of their situation. There was no need to worry. They only needed to trust and submit their bodies in rest to the Lord. 

We see more examples of this obedience and trust through sleep in the Old Testament as well. David remarks in Psalm 3:5, “I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the Lord sustained me.” This perfectly parallels the same attitude Jesus had on the boat, meaning we’re all capable of this same kind of rest with the help of God. Even when our anxieties, depression, or even physical causes are preventing us from finding rest in Him, Psalm 56:3 says, “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.”

D.A. Carson once said, “Sometimes the godliest thing you can do in the universe is get a good night’s sleep—not pray all night, but sleep. I’m certainly not denying that there may be a place for praying all night; I’m merely insisting that in the normal course of things, spiritual discipline obligates you get the sleep your body needs.”

So, with all this said, go get some quality sleep and trust in your Father who gives you rest.
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