The practice of helping those in need has been an established cultural norm in India, much before the idea of pooling resources from a large number of people to fund a cause gained prevalence. Socioculturally, we have been imprinted with the need to care, regardless of how close or distant one may be from us.
It’s not surprising that India was ranked 14th amongst the most generous countries in the world according to the World Giving Index (WGI) Report 2021 which provides insight into the scope and nature of giving by considering three aspects of people’s behaviour- if they have helped a stranger, donated money, or volunteered for a good cause.
The report highlights that about 61% Indians helped strangers, 34% volunteered for a cause and 36% donated money. This data suggests that the practice of medical crowdfunding is emerging as a powerful tool for those seeking financial support to fund critical medical treatments – covering expensive hospital bills, surgery costs, post-treatment expenses.
The rise of donation-based medical crowdfunding in India
About 65% to 70% of the middle-class population in India does not have healthcare insurance. Amongst the insured population, a vast majority have inadequate health insurance with a maximum sum insured of ₹5 lakhs. Due to a lack of adequate health insurance penetration, the Indian out-of-pocket expense (OOPE) is extremely high, over 3 times the global average, to be precise.
Furthermore, the per capita income in India is around US $2,000 per annum while the cost of treatment for critical illness ranges from US $5,000 to US $75,000. Hence, quality healthcare remains inaccessible and unaffordable to a large section of the Indian population. In fact, the middle-class population is quite vulnerable and practically just one hospital bill away from falling into health-induced poverty.
On one side, where the unaffordability of quality healthcare is becoming a growing concern in India, alternative fundraising practices such as medical crowdfunding are emerging as a powerful tool for those looking to acquire financial support to fund expensive medical treatments. Today, millions of Indians are seeking financial help through donation-based crowdfunding – enabled by the power of the internet via technologically driven crowdfunding platforms.
Together, India’s most trusted medical crowdfunding platforms have hosted more than 11 lakh fundraisers to help patients afford urgent treatment with over 2 crore individuals generously donating on these platforms. This practice, in many ways, has helped reinforce the belief in patients and their families that no matter the cost, they are not alone. Young patients fighting rare diseases like Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), and Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) could afford the world’s costliest gene therapies – all by channelling the power of medical crowdfunding.
Future of crowdfunding in India
Today, social media and digital platforms are helping transform lives like never before with donation-based crowdfunding actively emerging as the ideal means to fund medical expenses. The fact that India has the second-largest population in the world naturally allows for a larger donor base.
Furthermore, India is the leading country in terms of Facebook audience size with nearly 329.65 million users and in 2020, there were over 749 million internet users across the country. This figure is projected to grow to over 1.5 billion users by 2040. Also, India has the second most smartphone users in the world. All these result in easier penetration of online donation-based crowdfunding in India.
World Bank reports state that crowdfunding has emerged as a multibillion-dollar global industry. The report also projects that the industry is expected to have a volume of $300 billion by 2030. Such predictions around crowdfunding suggest an extremely positive outlook towards the industry that is driven by the motive of creating social impact. With the growth of crowdfunding in India, medical fundraising platforms, with their continued efforts, are committed to transforming more lives and communities across the country. As we believe, when like-minded individuals come together to contribute however they can, then no cause is too small and no cost remains unattainable. LiveMint