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Background: Medical crowdfunding has emerged as a growing field for fundraising opportunities. Some environmental trends have driven the emergence of campaigns to raise funds for medical care. These trends include lack of medical insurance, economic backlash following the 2008 financial collapse, and shortcomings of health care regulations.

Objective: Research regarding crowdfunding campaign use, reasons, and effects on the provision of medical care and individual relationships in health systems is limited. This study aimed to explore the nature and dimensions of the phenomenon of medical crowdfunding using a visual analytics approach and data crawled from the GoFundMe crowdfunding platform in 2019. We aimed to explore and identify the factors that contribute to a successful campaign.

Methods: This data-driven study used a visual analytics approach. It focused on descriptive analytics to obtain a panoramic insight into medical projects funded through the GoFundMe crowdfunding platform.

Results: This study highlighted the relevance of positioning the campaign for fundraising. In terms of motivating donors, it appears that people are typically more generous in contributing to campaigns for children rather than those for adults. The results emphasized the differing dynamics that a picture posted in the campaign brings to the potential for medical crowdfunding. In terms of donor’s motivation, the results show that a picture depicting the pediatric patient by himself or herself is the most effective. In addition, a picture depicting the current medical condition of the patient as severe is more effective than one depicting relative normalcy in the condition. This study also drew attention to the optimum length of the title. Finally, an interesting trend in the trajectory of donations is that the average amount of a donation decreases with an increase in the number of donors. This indicates that the first donors tend to be the most generous.

Conclusions: This study examines the relationship between social media, the characteristics of a campaign, and the potential for fundraising. Its analysis of medical crowdfunding campaigns across the states offers a window into the status of the country’s health care affordability. This study shows the nurturing role that social media can play in the domain of medical crowdfunding. In addition, it discusses the drivers of a successful fundraising campaign with respect to the GoFundMe platform.


This work was originally published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, available at doi: 10.2196/18813

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work, first published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, is properly cited. The complete bibliographic information, a link to the original publication on, as well as this copyright and license information must be included.



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