Peer to Peer Fundraising

woman on computer IBC

 

Note from the publisher: This information provided by my friend, Terry Arnold, is very valuable as we are all touched by stories we see from our friends on Social Media. I personally know of many instances, some VERY recently, where people have been helped tremendously by fundraising efforts set up by friends in times of need. Social Media is a great way to let people know that help is needed but it also provides an easy way for us to reach out and give. 

 

There are some popular 3rd party platforms online, making it fast and easy to raise funds for causes. This article is a brief overview of a few things to consider when thinking of using an online funding site, for a personal need or charity, often commonly called “peer to peer” fundraising. We are a very mobile society and sometimes physical distance is a blockade to being able to help a friend or relative. Also with the popularity of online banking, and a check book is a thing of the past, every charity depends on the web to collect funds.   Online peer to peer services allow for a way to help that is very effective.

However, the donor needs to understand that all platforms are not the same with Peer to Peer (Third party) platforms. There are an endless number of services available.   Let’s start with two popular ones: Go Fund Me, (www.gofundme.com), and Give Forward (www.giveforward.com). These services are fast, easy and can be ready to go in just minutes. All you need is a bank account (not necessarily your own), a story, a few pictures and a funding goal.

The cause can be for anything you can imagine. Wish to have your friends donate for a honeymoon instead of buying wedding gifts? Easy, just go on one of the many available sites, set it up and blast it to your peeps and hope they give via the site the $25 that they might have used to buy you a toaster! Or it could be used for more serious needs, like medical expenses. I have personally suggested third party platforms to help fill a sudden need to newly diagnosed patient facing a large deductible or the possibility of needing travel funds for non-local or specialty care.

When in need, a peer to peer platform can be just the ticket to get cash in hand, allow friends and family an easy way to chip in. Sounds too good to be true? No, but there are somethings to consider. It is really free? No, it is free to set up, but there are some small usage fees. Each transaction has a small handling fee, much like a traditional credit card transaction online. The fees cover the services of the platform. This is how it works. You have a need and a goal. You set up a page stating your need, post a few pictures and you have to give a bank account number for the donations to be deposited. For the first few days, (time depends on service used) the funds are held at the service, then after set up, deposits are made in real time into the account, minus a small credit card processing fee. Again, the fees are not usually high, and the convenient factor can far outweigh way the cost.

So what are the drawbacks? Well, there are a few things to think about. Anyone can set up an account. Peer to Peer fundraising is based off the honor system. There is not a qualifying system in peer to peer.   Also one other thing to consider is if your goal is a large one, the IRS might contact you and want their percentage as taxable income. So if you are the one setting up an account, you might need to seek professional financial advice first. Also donations to peer to peer are not tax deductible, as you are not donating to a charity but to an individual.

Remember I mentioned a qualifying system in peer to peer?   General peer to peer platforms do not have a way of qualifying a cause but there are peer to peer sites that are only allowed to be used by an IRS approved charity. One example is FirstGiving (www.firstgiving.com).   What makes FirstGiving different from general peer to peer is Firstgiving only allows 501c3 charities to use their services, giving a level of qualification to the appeal.   The charity has to register with the site, giving proof of their IRS status. Of course a charity can use their own charity site to collect online donations. Since I have outlined some of the differences you might wonder why would a charity use a service like Firstgiving?

Well, there are some social aspects that come into play.   Let’s use the American Red Cross for example. They are a well-known charity, with the ability to collect donations on their site. However, if I want to have some ownership in a project or need, I could go to the American Red Cross site on Firstgiving, (www.firstgiving.com/AmericanRedCross) citing a personal example of why I would like to see my friends join them in support. I could set a small (or large) goal and go for it.   The donations are tax deductible and the funds are placed directly to the charity bank account. A page like Firstgiving can give the driver of the cause a voice to share why this is cause is important to them. Also another feature is potential donors can see the mission statement of the charity, address and contact details and even a direct link to donate to that charity, allowing you to bypass the Firstgiving site all together.   This ability only adds to the trust factor of the site.

A page on any of the websites I am discussing all have a meter feature, allowing excitement to grow as the meter hopefully moves to the goal. This excitement factor is powerful reason a charity might use Firstgiving in addition to or even instead of their own website for a campaign.   All donations are tax-deductible.   That is an important feature if you are planning to use this deduction on your taxes or wish to have your employer match your donation.

I personally donate to peer to peer sites, as well as Firstgiving and also directly to my favorite charities. I think peer to peer online fundraising is a great service.   For an individual or for a charity, there is a place and time for each.   I hope this information will be of help to you as you make donation decisions.

Happy donating!

Terry Arnold was diagnosed with IBC in her right breast in August of 2007 after months of misdiagnosis. As if an IBC triple negative diagnosis was not enough of a blow, she discovered her left breast had traditional cancer as well. In treatment for almost a year, six months of chemo, double mastectomy, and daily radiation for 6 weeks. Outside of being the best wife possible to her husband Calvin of 35 years and mother (5), mother in law, (3) and grandmother (6 and one more arriving November 2015), she is focused on educating every person to learn more about IBC, its symptoms, best treatment plans, and funding research. She has her sights set on funding more research by as fast can donations will allow via.The IBC Network Foundation, a 501c3 she founded in August 2011, She looks forward to the day we can all remember than once, long ago, there was a disease called IBC that is now filed under an archive of past diseases because we have a cure. Hope always.

Driving Stick

looking in rearview mirrir

Sometimes, life is like driving stick shift! If you’ve ever driven a manual transmission, you’re really going to grasp what I’m talking about here.

 

There are times in life when we seem to be coasting, enjoying the scenery and the ride. There are no potholes, speed bumps or uphill climbs. There isn’t a lot of effort required from us to get through each day. Life is good! It’s very good!

 

Then there are times when it’s not effortless at all. Especially when we are facing mountains. Occasionally, we must come to a stop in order to regroup and gather strength to continue on our journey. It’s in these times that we need to keep our foot on the brake to ensure that we don’t slide backwards and crash into what’s behind us. It’s not good for us to dwell on past drama.

 

When driving stick, you must keep your foot on the clutch and the brake when you come to a stop on an incline. When it’s time to go, you have to be ready to move forward by simultaneously taking your foot off the brake and give it gas as you release the clutch. If you don’t give it gas, you will slide backwards and possibly crash into what’s behind you. Even if you have a slow start, it’s important to just go. You can’t be afraid to give it some gas!

 

In life, it’s never wise to focus too long on your past mistakes and drama. Yes, we learn from it but we must keep moving forward because it does us no good to linger or go backwards and crash. It’s okay if you have to take it slow, just drive.

 

car-vehicle-measure-fast-large

 

 

Sometimes we have trouble getting started. We let fear paralyze us. This is why we need people in our lives to encourage us to step outside of our fear. It may even require a gentle push. That’s what good friends and family are for.

 

We all need people who will be there during the times we stall and have drama. But understand that not everyone wants to see you take off and go because they are drawn to the stall and the drama. It’s what they relate to. It’s where they are comfortable.

 

More importantly, we need friends who are willing to give us a push. People who have faith in us and genuinely want to see us fly!

 

If you need a little momentum and encouragement to get going, make sure you are surrounding yourself with people who really want to see you GO! It’s like popping the clutch. If you only hang out with those who want to sit in the car with you and talk about drama, you’ll remain stationary forever. You’ve got to have people who will give you a push and then sincerely celebrate your forward motion when you take off.

 

Vacation Mode

Arriving in Mexico
Arriving in Mexico

Many of you know I recently went on a much anticipated and greatly appreciated vacation. I feel so blessed to have been able to get away for 6 days. Vacation mode for me is super relaxed. I allowed myself to put away all the things I’m working on at home and just be. I slept, ate, went scuba diving, took in the beautiful scenery, ate and slept some more. Did I mention that I slept? I might have slept a lot. It was wonderful!

Cozumel Landscape
Cozumel Landscape

I especially loved being under water again and seeing that part of God’s beautiful creation. It had been 5 years since I had dived and it was incredible. It was even more special to be able to share my love for diving with Ronny who had never been before. Ronny took classes and became certified just before our trip. He took to it quite well and by our last dive he was turning out to be quite a comfortable diver. We both wish we’d had a few more days to dive. We’re already looking forward to another dive trip in the VERY near future.

The Dive group at Deep Blue in Cozumel
The Dive group at Deep Blue in Cozumel

It always seems like vacation time is accelerated. Six days and five nights in Cozumel flew by. As we boarded the plane to return home, part of me was ready to get back. Being on vacation was a very relaxing and happy time and we had great fun but I kind of missed certain parts of my “normal” life. I started looking forward to some exciting things planned for the upcoming week and couldn’t wait to hit the ground running. I was happy to be home again.

 

Boarding plane in Cozumel heading to Houston
Boarding plane in Cozumel heading to Houston

I realized that happiness doesn’t come from places we visit. While we were happy and having a blast, there were actually people around us that didn’t seem happy at all. You could see it in their faces and in their body language. They were vacationing on the beautiful island of Cozumel but deep down, they didn’t seem to be all that happy.

 

Sipping wine watching the Cozumel Sunset
Sipping wine watching the Cozumel Sunset

As I’ve given this a lot of thought, I’ve begun to understand that true happiness comes from deep within. You may find superficial, temporary happiness when you take a vacation, but it can be fleeting. Happiness doesn’t come from a destination, it’s a by-product of how you live and the choices you make in life.

 

Some of the most important things we can do to realize happiness are to be grateful for all the good in our lives, have a generous spirit and to love and be loved. If you have those things, you’ll experience that indisputable, deep down to your soul, kind of happiness.

 

So even though vacation mode has been halted for now. I still love life and love the work I’m doing. My vacation was great and I certainly hope it won’t be 5 years before I am able to take off again but in the mean time, I’m happy and I’m grateful for the all the love in my life. I sincerely hope you are too!

ALL PHOTO CREDIT GOES TO THE TALENTED RONALD EARL WILSHER.

This Man

Ronny

When we first met, I didn’t see this coming at all. How did we end up here? We started on this journey carrying a ton of baggage, broken, disillusioned, hardened, and with enormous walls guarding our hearts. Neither of us thought love was on our horizon or even remotely possible.  But here I sit writing about “this man” 3 years later.

 

Many have asked how we met so I will share the story:

 

Our initial meeting was at a networking event. We were introduced by a mutual friend, Lee Farb. We exchanged pleasantries and carried on networking and meeting other people. We both meet a lot of people and many times people are quickly forgotten but I did remember this character. He was loud and large and quite full of himself. I thought he was a bit weird but at least he made an impression. We continued to see each other at other networking events over the next few months and I spoke to him a little more but not extensively. I really didn’t know what he did for a living. I thought he was married and never even looked at him as a potential date. I had also made it a rule to NEVER (never say never) date anyone I knew from networking.

 

At one particular networking luncheon, “this man” stood up when it was his turn to introduce himself to the room and stated his name and that he was here to see Kathryn Wheat (me)! Let me reiterate, we barely knew each other. When my best friend and business partner, Cindy Dennen, heard him she warned me that he was about to be moved to the #1 position on my stalker list. You see I did actually have a real live stalker. I wasn’t sure what “this man’s” intentions were towards me. Partner this with the fact that a mutual friend of ours, Dave Bamberg,  asked me on more than one occasion what I thought about “this man”. I suspected Dave was trying to play matchmaker, which was confusing since I was uncertain about his marital status.

 

“This man” had also started texting me cute little smiley things and other non-sense. Quite often, his text either went completely unanswered  or was answered several days later. I didn’t want to encourage him. At that time, my life was in a major transition. After a year and a half of trying, I was finally going to get my house sold. I had been divorced but had been stuck in the home and was trying desperately not to lose it to foreclosure during the downturn of the real estate market. My financial situation was difficult to say the least. I didn’t have time or energy for non-sense. But secretly, he did make me smile. And if I’m going to be honest, I did text him back late one night after an evening on the town with friends. I couldn’t believe he answered my text almost immediately since it was about 3:00 am. It made me feel a little giddy.

 

I had come to a place in my business where I was looking for advice on marketing possibilities. I called Dave Bamberg and told him what I was considering doing. I valued his opinion and needed some feedback. He then asked me if I had ever sat down and talked to “this man”. I told him no, I hadn’t. He urged me to talk to him before I made any decisions. At this point I was unsure if Dave wanted me to talk to him for business reasons or if this was part of his matchmaking efforts. So I called Cindy and told her we needed to schedule an appointment to talk to “this man”. She responded with a big sigh and exclaimed that in no way was I to meet with him by myself. I said of course not! You’re going with me. So I called him and asked if we could meet. He was very friendly and glad to hear from me. We scheduled our meeting for Monday, May 2, 2011.

 

The 3 of us sat down and began to talk. It was then that I began to think of him differently. I realized that he was so much more than what I thought. As we talked, I think I started falling in love. I could tell that Cindy was impressed with who “this man” was too. That day he helped open my eyes to so much that I had been missing in my business and in my personal life. Not only did he show me many ways to help my business grow but he also motivated and inspired me. He made me feel like maybe I could really make it on my own. He encouraged me to be courageous. I remember thinking, who is “this man”? His positivity was absolutely contagious!

 

Our meeting had been scheduled for only 30 minutes to an hour. FIVE hours later, Cindy had to leave us to go pick up her daughter from school. I know both of us felt like our heads would explode with all of the information that he was so freely providing. I was so excited because it was like the fog was lifted. So much was finally making sense to me. Why had I been so stand offish with “this man”? After Cindy left, we wrapped up our meeting and he asked me if I wanted to go have a glass of wine and get to know each other a little better. I said yes. I was so confused. He wasn’t at all who I thought he was and I still didn’t understand his marital status. We went to a wine bar and talked even more. It turned out that he wasn’t married.

 

We have been together ever since.

 

We both stepped into this unexpectedly, with reluctance and extreme caution. Neither of us was looking for love. It just hit us over the head and was quite impossible to ignore. So here I am 3 years later changed for the better and hopelessly in love with “this man”, Ronald Wilsher, who is honest, kind, brilliant, confident, positive, fair, strong, thoughtful, funny, giving, motivating, inspiring, loud, weird, quirky, often misunderstood and perfect for me.

 

Happy 3 year anniversary Ronny! I love you bunches!

 

And in an attempt to answer the question, “When is he gonna put a ring on it?”, all I can say is that if you look at our matching tattoos you can see our status. We are 2 hearts joined together by The Cross.

Tattoo Ronald Wilsher Kathryn Wheat

                      photo credit 2 Creative Birds