Digital crowdfunding emerges as an alternative financing option for cancer care

We have noticed that almost 80 per cent of all crowdfunding donations are for healthcare, writes Anoj Viswanathan, President and Co-founder, Milaap


Cancer is becoming one of the major causes for death in India. According to the cancer registry released by the Indian Council of Medical Research, cancer is estimated to increase by 25 per cent by 2020. Around 2.5 million people in India are living with this disease and every year more than 7 lakh new cancer patients are registered from which 5, 56,400 die.

Besides late diagnosis, one of the major reasons for the high mortality rate is treatment options that are beyond reach for most people. For instance, a bone marrow transplant, which can be effective in certain forms of cancer such as leukemia and lymphoma, can cost anywhere between Rs 20 lakh and Rs 35 lakh, while the average income of an Indian middle class family is Rs 13,000. Added to this is the high cost of drugs, making the overall treatment expensive.

According to National Health Profile (NHP), only 27 per cent Indians have health cover, which means 100 crore Indians out of the 135 crore have no cover against mounting health expenses. Many families, despite having health cover, struggle to pay huge medical bills and out-of-pocket expenses (forms 20 to 30 percent of the medical expenses) as they are not completely covered. This is where crowdfunding comes into the picture.

Digital crowdfunding is emerging as an effective solution for those who are unable to bear the financial burden of cancer treatment. The reach of social media and digital payments have made it easier to raise funds for those who need immediate help. Here are some reasons why raising funds for cancer treatment through digital crowdfunding has been effective:

The power of your story

Every cancer survival is emotional, powerful and inspirational, especially the cancer cases, where the emotional turmoil of the journey is a lot. These stories inspire others in a similar situation and motivate them to fight and overcome their difficulties. Sharing your experience with thousands of people is made easier through this mode. The digital crowdfunding platforms make it possible to share your story, reach people, and connect with them emotionally too. It is probably this connect that has helped beneficiaries to gain support for medical causes. We have noticed that almost 80 per cent of all crowdfunding donations are for healthcare.  

Streamlined with secure donations

With medical crowdfunding, especially in cancer cases, as treatment is expensive and sometimes required straightaway, payment mechanisms play a major role. Medical crowdfunding platforms have in-built payment systems through payment gateways to make it easy and quick for the beneficiary to receive payments. This is especially important while receiving large sums of donations. Funds can be easily tracked, separated and prioritized for treatment.

No restrictions

Digital crowdfunding bridges the gap between potential donors and the needy as people can easily connect with each other no matter the distance. Although there is a set timeframe for the fundraisers to seek donations, there are no real restrictions on the size of donations or even the currency in most cases, making it possible for people from different countries to donate. Donors from overseas can also support the cause, which makes it easier for the needy to achieve the fundraising goal.

Constant updates

The digital world also makes it possible to share regular updates with supporters, making them feel connected to the cause. This also enables transparency with payments. Donors can check the full impact of their donations.

The amplified effect

One of the most important reasons why crowdfunding for cancer treatment works is because family and friends are able to share, communicate and connect with people across the world. This helps in making the fundraiser viral, reaching thousands of people instantly. People located across the globe can be made aware of your story and encouraged to donate for the cause.

About Author: Anoj Viswanathan, President and Co-Founder, Milaap. Milaap’s journey as a crowdfunding platform began 8 years ago, but over the past few years it has emerged as the most preferred platform to fund medical needs. It hosted thousands of medical fundraisers over these past few years, and has worked with some incredible doctors and seen patients with a commendable will to live.