Many of us cringe when we find out how much surgery is going to cost for our children or ourselves as adults with Microtia and Atresia, Hemifacial Microsomia, Treacher Collins, and Goldenhar Syndrome. Some of us worry about how to deal with the politics of insurance coverage or no coverage at all. If we do have insurance, how much will cover the surgery? What if we are approved and then denied? How do we appeal and can we appeal? If we appeal, will our insurance coverage accept our appeal and pay for the surgeries? This can all be very confusing, frightening, and worrisome. I wanted to list some ideas for fund raising if you are thinking about raising money for surgery.
Below are some ideas:
Setting up a non-profit organization to raise money
Below are some common questions and helpful tips for trying to fund raise money for surgeries:
1. How early can you begin fund raising? You can begin fundraising a couple of years prior to the surgery (whether you do so as a nonprofit or as an individual).
2. Should I have a bank account (savings account) set up? Yes, it is advised that you set up a separate bank account with a well known bank in your state. For example, Wells Fargo, TCF, Chase, or any reputable state or national bank for the funds to be safely deposited. Try and find a free checking account and if not, many accounts offer packages deals that come with multiple (included) business accounts in which you can utilize one of the business accounts under your name.
3. Once I have the monies fund raised, do I have to submit it all during the same year of the surgery or can I hold onto it for the next year or two for when surgery is actually scheduled? Check with accountant. It depends on how you register as a 501 3C (non-profit organization) or a corporation, etc. Also, all funding that goes into this a bank account that is held for your child’s surgery, must stay in that account with no money (withdrawals) being taken out until it is closer to the time for surgery (planning for expenses, etc…). The money should remain in the account until it is ready to be put toward surgery. Any remaining funding that was raised that does not need to be used can be donated to charity organizations such as Ear Community, www.EarCommunity.org to help the Microtia and Atresia community around the world.
4. Which is the best way to manage taxes and donations if you have extra proceeds? It depends how you set up an individual taxes. For example, you can raise up to 20k without being taxed as “donations.” Over $20,000.00 (USD) it becomes taxable. Every state and every country has different guidelines so please know your guidelines for taxes and donations/write offs for medical needs and speak with an accountant. You may choose to set up a restricted corporation account strictly for medicals. Again, ask to speak with an accountant or an expert in your bank who may be able to assist you with this process.
5. Is there a difference in the manner of how you receive and claim donations? Yes. For example, if someone wants to hand you a check or cash for $40.00 (USD) for your child’s medical bills you can place that in a savings account. If you have to hand out your tax number (for your non-profit organization) in order to get a donation, that counts towards the $20,000 (USD). Donations and business donations are two separate things and you do not need to claim personal donations unless you are giving out your tax ID number. You can also team up with companies and use there 501*. For instance, you can fund raise and give a kick back to an organization money for letting you use there 501*.
Thank you to our support group member, Kelli Cunningham for providing us with this information. It is worth it to pay $25.00 (or whatever the amount the bank states) for opening a new account to help keep the fund raising money separate from your own personal account.
6. You may also want to contact your local state or city and county community organization as these organizations are typically 501c3 nonprofit organizations. They may be willing to help guide you through the process of becoming your own nonprofit for fundraising or at least be able to put you in touch with an organization who can.
Atresia and Microtia Foundation
Atresia and Microtia Foundation may be able to offer assistance on fundraising. This foundation also takes donations so that it may continue to function. For more information you can contact this foundation at www.atresiamicrotia.org
Ideas for Fund Raising
Providing a fund raising item for the person who is making a donation can be a very nice gesture rather than just asking for money. Some ideas are: hamburgers, hotdogs, or chili cook offs, cookie dough buckets or boxes, cake back off, T-shirts, hats, keychains, and other apparel, dinners, lunches, raffle tickets for prizes, silent auctions, etc… You can hold your own private fund raisers anytime. Please be careful about the funds you raise. Keep a close eye on that money box all of the time so no one walks away with it when you are having your fundraiser in a public area such as a park, hotel, or business location.
Some companies or businesses may allow you to fund raise. Some places willing to help may be your local grocery store, ice cream store, restaurants, the company you work for, etc… However, it is quite often that these businesses will require that you fill out a form or have a permit in order to fund raise. Some of them may agree to help out and match a certain percentage. This form will allow you to legally fund raise in or in front of their property with their permission.
You may also be able to set up donation boxes at your local grocery store or bank. Not every business allows this, but some do. Just ask! If wanting to set up donation boxes at the company you work for, you should always clear this with your human resources department. It depends on the company’s policy and how you ask. Again, a special form or paperwork may be required to be filled out proving that you are raising money for a legitimate cause.
Golf tournaments, bowling tournaments, sporting events, etc… are also other options for fund raising too. They require more work, but can yield more participants and larger crowds.
Facebook groups and websites to help with Fundraising:
There is a wonderful Facebook group called Little Ears to Big Ears that was started by one of Ear Community’s Board of Director members, Dr. Summer Heard, that can help with options and ideas for fundraising and also help answer questions when thinking about fundraising. Here is the link to Little Ears to Big Ears: https://www.facebook.com/groups/littletobigears/