If you have a child with special needs, chances are good that you’ve likely had to fundraise to help provide for their out of pocket medical, therapy and equipment costs.  

With insurance denials on the rise and costs of adaptive vehicles costing more than a midlife crisis sportscar, fundraising becomes one of the only financial options for many families raising children with special needs. 

Unfortunately the costs continue throughout a child’s lifetime, resulting in the need to hold continual fundraisers.  

In fact, if you are friends with a family who has a special needs child, chances are they will be holding several fundraisers in a year: a garage sale, a t-shirt benefit, a charity fundraiser, a restaurant benefit night, a concert, a iPad giveaway raffle…the list is endless because they are always trying to find interesting and creative ways to keep people interested in donating to assist.

However, friends, co-workers, social media contacts and acquaintances can grow weary of habitual fundraising.  

While some are able to fast-forward through your newsfeed, or quickly delete your plea for donations in an email, others find it cause to push you to the curb permanently.  

Continual pleas of help have the potential to spur negative reactions. 

Some parents report that friends have actually distanced themselves just because they wish you’d just stop fundraising. 

So what is a family supposed to do when they have no other means of helping their child with special needs without fundraising?  

Risk alienating those around them and being subject to daily handfuls of social media “unfriending?” 

Special needs parents are not purposefully trying to get under people’s skins with the continual need to fundraise.  

If there was another feasible option everyone would be doing it. 

So how can you “win your friends over, and influence people to donate”? 

Target those you know understand your financial struggles in providing for your child with special needs.  

Create a fundraising group, and include those who are comfortable with your ongoing fundraisers.  

Approach non-profit organizations to see if they are willing to host fundraisers on your child’s behalf.  

Sometimes people offer a more favorable response to fundraising if they don’t see the family actively hosting a fundraiser themselves.  

When they see a community backing a cause others are less likely to get agitated by the posting of a fundraiser. 

Sometimes however, you can’t win them all and people will inevitably be unwilling to tolerate your continual pleas for help.   

Don’t chase after the people who get annoyed with your solicitations for help.  

In many cases, they are looking for an excuse to get out.  

Your special needs life is likely too complicated and messy for them, and  a fundraising complaint offers them a convenient excuse to dump you like a hot cake.   

If you find yourself “unfriended” simply because you posted your child’s fundraiser,  consider yourself lucky that you realized that someone has limitations to “support.”  

Discovering a person’s willingness to support your family with a special needs child is critical in surrounding yourself with those who truly care about your special needs journey. 

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