Filling the Gap Left Behind by GoFundMe

You’ve seen these campaigns in growing numbers over the past decade or so – you’ve likely donated to them yourself. Sometimes it’s someone you know personally who has been in a car wreck or suffered an unexpected diagnosis; other times, an acquaintance is passing the virtual hat for a close friend of theirs who needs help with medical expenses. It may even be a complete stranger who is suffering, and GoFundMe offers the opportunity for us to answer the call by donating to a crowd-funded campaign to get the affected parties the help that they so desperately need.

Trend in paying expenses

Created in 2010 as a crowdfunding tool to fund any variety of projects and causes, GoFundMe has increasingly become a go-to solution for American families when disaster strikes. Creating and running a GoFundMe campaign on behalf of an afflicted friend, coworker, or family member who is suffering some sort of emergency has become a standard way of showing support, and raising money for medical expenses has become the most common reason GoFundMe campaigns are created.

But new data examining all medical GoFundMe campaigns from 2016-2020 suggests that GoFundMe campaigns cannot be relied on in a true financial emergency resulting from a health event.

Funding success

The American Journal of Public Health released a brand-new study earlier this year (February 2022) that sought to better understand the use of the popular GoFundMe platform in medical emergencies. The results from the study were eye-opening.

Underwhelming results

  • 33% of GoFundMe campaigns are related to medical bills
  • Less than 12% of those campaigns reached their funding goals
  • 16% went completely unfunded
  • The average amount raised was less than $2000

The writing on the wall is clear: GoFundMe is not a reliable safety net for Americans to bridge the financial gap in case of a health emergency. As the study put it directly in its conclusion, “Despite its popularity and portrayals as an ad-hoc safety net, medical crowdfunding is misaligned with key indicators of health financing needs in the United States.”

Helpful takeaways?
As life insurance professionals, we all have a much better, more reliable solution – one that has the potential to deliver hundreds of thousands of dollars into our clients hands when they need it most and doesn’t cost a dime to add to their coverage plans. Put simply: if you’re not offering Living Benefits (otherwise known as “accelerated benefit riders”) to your clients as part of their life insurance coverage and taking the time to underscore their value and importance in today’s landscape, you’re missing the boat.

Talking points

“Mrs. Client, if life throws you and your family a curveball in the form of an unexpected medical event, like a heart attack, stroke, bad car accident, or something like that, I don’t want you to be in the position of relying on donations to a GoFundMe campaign to make sure your family remains financially whole. That’s why the policy I’m recommending includes these free Living Benefits riders for terminal, chronic, and critical illness, as well as critical injury. If you’re struck with any of the triggering conditions, you’ll be granted the ability to accelerate your policy’s death benefit while you’re still alive. This will put a big check in your hands that will help you pay for any medical expenses you may incur, choose the very best treatment options without worrying about what your health insurance may or may not cover, take all the time you need off work to recover without having to rush back before you’re ready, and in general take all of your financial worries off your mind in that difficult time.”


The phrase “GoFundYourself” was coined as a way of explaining the dangers of relying on GoFundMe as a resource for funding medical expenses. The concept resonated with our clients and prospects, and we think you’ll find it will with yours, as well.

GoFundMe’s shortcomings are just one example of several troubling trends that are making owning Living Benefits more important than ever to the average American family. With medical costs continuing to skyrocket, the healthcare system struggling, and inflation on the rise, folks are in need of a place they know they can turn to to get money into their hands when they find themselves in an emergency medical situation. Living Benefits fills that gap and provides that solution as part of their life insurance coverage. It's modern coverage that solves modern problems that are plaguing America today.

If you’re not yet offering free Living Benefits with every policy you illustrate for your clients, you may be putting them at unnecessary risk for financial turmoil, while also missing out on a great value add for the solutions you’re providing. The good news is, it’s never too late to start!

Samuel Howe serves as Chief Marketing Officer for Alliance Group, an Atlanta-based IMO, specializing in Living Benefits life insurance. Alliance Group creates and provides in-house training and marketing platforms for agency partners; spreading the word about Living Benefits. [email protected]

Source: Nora Kenworthy and Mark Igra, 2022: Medical Crowdfunding and Disparities in Health Care Access in the United States, 2016‒2020 American Journal of Public Health 112, 491_498,