Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Crowdfunding a Palliative Care Service: Can it really work?

In my experience, people in hospice and palliative care work have undercurrents of being early adopters and innovative. Of course there is the caring, empathetic side many of you have developed, but until recently, to succeed in hospice and palliative care meant going against the current.

Seeing people break out of the box in their thinking is one of the things I enjoy about palliative care and hospice. Dr. Michael Fratkin and his Resolution Care team are staking a claim on innovative funding when it comes to palliative care with their crowdfunding initiative on the Indiegogo platform. The campaign is nearing the end (December 11, 11:59pm) and frankly I am impressed at the level of funding he has been able to get from over 300 funders. The goal is $100,000 for this campaign, and as of the writing of this post they are almost past $60,000. And if they raise just $10k more to get to $70k, apparently a donor is willing to make up the rest to get to $100k.
Before we talk about Resolution Care more, I hope I didn’t lose you with the words crowdfunding or Indiegogo, so let me explain briefly. Many people may have heard of crowdfunding via KickStarter, the platform that has probably been the most well known. Basically, you tell the world about the project you want to accomplish, and set up rewards at different levels for funding The range of rewards in crowdfunding campaigns are pretty wide from a thank you on social media to exclusive hard to get items. Sometimes the rewards are ancillary to the project itself (similar to getting a tote bag from NPR, or a coffee mug from your local symphony.) Other times the rewards are the actual product/service. you are supporting One end of life related crowdfunding success story you may be familiar with is the First Death Cafe in the USA by Lizzy Miles in 2012, who is now a Pallimed contributor. I’m sure many of you who have heard of Death Cafe’s may not have realized that this big movement start via crowdfunding.

In crowdfunding, there are a few big winners who may get a1000x the initial ask, but there are many more who barely get off the ground for several reasons. By using Indiegogo, the Resolution Care team doesn’t have to reach $100k to get the crowdfunded money, like you have to do on KickStarter.

The approach for Resolution Care to deliver palliative care is pretty straight forward for any readers of this blog with a few twists thrown in. You can read more about the delivery model for Resolution Care on their website. It is important to note the initial delivery site will be aimed at a rural population, but they have talked about expanding to more areas depending on the success of the program.

I have watched the crowdfunding sites for sometime for hospice and palliative care related projects. This is the first one I have seen looking at palliative care program delivery and development. Will this idea spring up in more areas? Are you planning to support this project? Why or why not? Is your hospice or palliative care program thinking of doing a crowdfunded project? Have you already completed one? These are not rhetorical questions, I really am interested to see what the wider HPC community thinks.

As we see more of these projects we hope we can bring them to you in an organized fashion. I know Lizzy and I have been batting around ideas, and if anyone else is interested to help cover this new trend, we would love to have you help out.

Go check out the closing days of the Resolution Care Indiegogo campaign and see if it inspires you to support them.

Image credit: Resolution Care - all copyrights reserved

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