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Knowledge Base
Q:
How can we raise money for a person or family in need?
A:

We do not give grants, recommend specific funders, or approach them on your behalf, but we can point you to information that should help.

Often, the most effective method to raise funds quickly is to ask for help from the community. First, figure out a way to accept gifts, either at a bank, credit union, or a website like PayPal.

Then, spread the word about the person's or family's need. Start with their own networks of relatives, co-workers, neighbors, and other acquaintances. People are more likely to give if they have some form of relationship with the people in need. 

You've probably heard or seen news reports, articles, or webpages that ask for donations to help pay a person's medical bills or to help a family recover after a disaster. Likewise, write a letter or press release and ask local media if they will share it with their audiences.

If you use social media sites, ask your friends to support then share your request for help with their own networks. Learn more about crowdfunding.

Perhaps you could organize a fundraiser or a collection drive for essential goods, like food, clothing, diapers and food for babies, etc. The websites below offer additional tips and resources on these topics.

You could also help them find local charities and agencies. In the U.S., dialing 211 will connect you to a free directory and referral service in most areas to find human/social service organizations near you, some of which may be able to provide temporary financial and other forms of assistance.

A community's collective response can provide powerful and immediate support to people in need while they search for, apply, and wait for other benefits or forms of aid. These types of fundraisers usually happen without any kind of connection to a nonprofit or charity; thus, the gifts are not tax-deductible for the donors.

Foundation grants

Most foundation grants are given to nonprofit organizations. While some foundations do give to individuals, it's often to help pay for postsecondary education or for artistic or research projects. Foundation grants for personal needs may be extremely difficult to find even if the case you present is a compelling one.

If you wish to research foundation grants, Foundation Grants to Individuals Online or its print equivalent is our searchable database of grantmakers that give to individuals. Start with a Type of Support search for "Grants for special needs".

Subscribe to search from your own location, or search for free at Foundation Center libraries and Funding Information Network partners.  

Questions or comments? Ask Us.

Please also see our related Knowledge Base articles:

More articles for individual grantseekers»

Web Sites

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