It’s that time of year where many of us connect with friends and family. With giving top of mind this season, it may also be a time when you consider asking for help with a personal cause or funding. Mobility equipment and accessories can be pricey, so many people with disabilities turn to their networks for help paying for them. Having these conversations may feel uncomfortable or intimidating, but with the right preparation, they can be smooth and effective.
Here are four steps toward effectively asking friends and family to help fund your mobility equipment:
Step #1: Prepare Before Asking for Help
Before connecting with your friends and family, it’s important to be prepared. Think about who you are reaching out to so you may personalize your message to them, as well as when and where you are having the conversation. Consider:
- What is your relationship?
- What do they want to hear about?
- What reservations may they have?
Someone who you’re close to and has seen your journey may have witnessed your mobility struggles and understand why this adaptive equipment is so important to you. However, if you are going to ask for help from someone who has not seen everything you’ve been through, they may need to hear more about your story, the limitations you currently deal with, and how this mobility aid could help solve those problems. If you’re talking with your whole crew over dinner, you may talk differently than you would in an individual conversation, so plan accordingly. You know your friends and family better than anyone, so make sure to take who they are into account when planning your conversation.
Crowdfunding platform GoFundMe advises, “The best way to receive a positive response—and a donation—is to appeal to each potential donor’s individual interests. If you know someone who would respond better to a warm, lighthearted request, keep your wording informal and bright. For someone such as a colleague who may respond better to a formal approach, deliver your message accordingly.”
By thinking of these points ahead of time, you can be ready for how you will ask for help and what will be most effective.
Step #2: Start the Conversation About Mobility Equipment
Now that you’re prepared, what do you actually say? In starting your conversation about contributing funds to your mobility aid, it’s important to connect, discuss, and educate.
Be sincere, truthful, and compelling so the people you share with understand the importance of contributing. One way to do this is to tell a story, which can be about your disability or condition, your movement and mobility journey so far, a specific time or situation, or future goals that highlight why you are trying to get new equipment.
Were you wanting to join your group on a hike that you weren’t able to do without an all terrain wheelchair? Were you stopped from exploring without better adaptive tools? Share real, concrete examples from your life and why this means so much to you, and give your circle a chance to see why it matters to them, too.
After telling your story, share the impact the adaptive equipment and their contribution can have. Tell your potential contributors exactly what will be different before and after getting this aid. If an off road wheelchair can give you access to join group activities, be in nature, accomplish movement goals, or be independent, share about it! If you have a specific goal, like participating in a scheduled race, joining an upcoming group outing, or accessing a field in time for an event, let your people in on this information and make your need more understandable.
Your circle may have questions, and even if they don’t, it can be helpful to share details educating them on what the equipment is and how you will use it. Questions to be prepared to answer include:
- What is it?
- What is it used for?
- Why do you need this?
- What are real results from yourself or others using this?
And remember, you know your audience and can adjust any of the above pieces based on your interaction and what comes up!
Step #3: Ask for Funding Help
Now that you have initiated with your audience, ask! This may seem obvious, but too often we get nervous or distracted and forget to actually make a request. Be direct and clear with your request. Give your people instructions to contribute, including:
- What they can do now or instructions for what is next
- What the timeline is
- Where to contribute
In sharing where they can contribute to your mobility equipment, be sure to advise if you are asking for cash, have an account you want them to transfer to, are directing to a crowdfunding link, or want them to purchase a gift card.
Here is a sample script you can edit, personalize, and use as works for your conversations:
“As you can see, getting this equipment would have a significant effect on my life. However, it’s not financially possible for me to afford the whole cost right now. Is this something you can help me with? If you purchase a gift card toward this in the next couple weeks, it would be a great help to getting me the equipment I need to be regularly active and build my strength.”
Step #4: Complete the Mobility Equipment Funding Conversation
After you ask for contributions, keep a couple things in mind:
Getting a “No” Is Okay!
People declining to give is normal. This doesn’t mean they don’t care or that you did anything wrong. Prepare yourself that people may say, “no,” and that is part of the process.
No matter the response you get, share your gratitude. Whether you are thanking them for helping you fund your mobility equipment or grateful that they heard you out, let them know that you are thankful.
Personal Funding for the GRIT Freedom Chair
- How it works
- Product info for all models and accessories
- Photos, videos, and testimonials from actual riders
- Frequently asked questions
You can even have your circle easily contribute by purchasing gift certificates that deliver straight to your email!