So I got an email today from my friend Susan asking if I knew anything about online fundraising for people in need. Here’s the scenario:

My cousin recently gave birth to her first child 11 months early which is scary, but what’s even scarier is that there are lots of health complications, her job isn’t great, if she doesn’t go back to work in 2 weeks (they’ve been with the kid in intensive care for a few weeks now) she loses her health insurance, her husband’s job got “downsized” and they’re almost finished building their house that her husband designed and built with his parent’s help. They’ve been married 1 year. So…their bills are stacking up, they may lose their house soon, and all of us in the family are feeling mighty helpless about the whole thing. How to help? Like many situations, money would solve a lot.

She remembers reading something in Time magazine about websites where people post their situations and are able to raise money to help. Meanwhile, I feel like I heard something on NPR awhile back in regards to doing this for military families. For example, if a family needed a washer and dryer, you could donate some amount of money to help them with their purchase. On these websites, you could read about the situations, and give what you could afford.

I know some of you know about these websites: which are legit, how they work, etc.

So I wanted to put the question out there. Is there a site that someone like Susan’s cousin could turn to online to help in this desperate situation? And to turn it around, how do people in not-so-desperate circumstances know that their money is actually going to their selected family/charity?

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