Wildfires are increasing with climate change, and wildfire season is getting longer. In the Western US, the number of annual wildfires larger than 1000 acres has nearly doubled since 1980, and fire season now lasts seven months. Most recently, unprecedented fires burned large swaths of Northern California, attacking not just sparsely populated areas but many cities and towns.
If a house fire strikes your friends or family, it can not only damage or destroy their property but leave them feeling powerless and vulnerable. It can also leave you wondering how to help.
Crowdfunding raises both funds and people’s spirits
Along with raising the funds needed for recovery, a crowdfunding campaign also creates a venue for friends and family to post words of encouragement and support—which can be just as valuable.
If you’re thinking about running a crowdfunding campaign for the victim of a house fire, you’ve come to the right place. People use our compassionate crowdfunding platform to raise money in similar circumstances every day, and we never take a penny of the funds raised for ourselves.
If you want to give a friend or loved one help after a house fire, start with any of these five steps:
1. Send love and take action
The first step to take in supporting a family affected by a house fire is to let them know you’re there for them and will support them in whatever way you can through this crisis. A house fire leaves people shocked and unsure about what to do next. Asking what you can do to help may be more than they can deal with. It’s likely more helpful to make your own assessment of the situation and assign yourself a task, such as bringing them basic necessities or helping them find temporary housing. Don’t wait for them to impose on you—take action.
2. Send money
In a house fire, people sometimes lose everything—all the material possessions they’ve accumulated over a lifetime. There’s little chance they could simply replace it all, but even replacing the basics will require a huge lump sum. Sending money in any amount is a simple way to help after a house fire (ask which money delivery method is best for them). If you have the means, offer whatever financial support you can to keep them afloat while they wait for a check from their insurance company.
3. Bring a meal or buy groceries
It may be sometime before they have refrigeration or a working kitchen. Depending on the situation, ask neighbors and others in your community to bring meals or nonperishable groceries.
4. Organize a clothing drive
Obviously, the clothing needs to fit the people in need—ask them for their clothing sizes, pass those along to anyone willing to donate clothes, and know that anything you deliver will make a positive difference. For reference, see SF Gate’s list of things a family needs after a house fire.
5. Launch a YouCaring fundraiser
You can pair any of the four ideas above with a free YouCaring fundraiser. Remember, the victims of the fire are overwhelmed already. Take the work off their shoulders and start a fundraiser for them, encouraging people to donate and to share the page with their own social networks. Optionally, you could also reach out to a local news organization to cover the story.
Examples of crowdfunding for fire relief
Take a look at the following fire-related campaigns on YouCaring. Find a successful campaign that’s similar to the one you want to run, and use it as a model. Also, don’t miss this fire relief success story from 2014.
As of this writing, a large number of fundraisers are active on YouCaring for victims of the fires in Santa Rosa, Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino, and elsewhere in Northern California. These fires have burned more than 8,000 houses and over 200,000 acres of land, and have yet to be fully contained. At least 32 people have lost their lives.
Active YouCaring crowdfunding campaigns for victims of specific fires:
Examples of fire-related crowdfunding campaigns for specific individuals or groups:
Tubbs Fire Victims – Santa Rosa Community: The Tubbs Fire was one of the fires that hit the city of Santa Rosa. This fundraiser has raised over $111,000 toward a $500,000 goal from more than 1,000 supporters. The money will be given to the United Way, which will in turn direct funds to the community.
CAWineStrong: Fire Relief Mendocino, Napa & Sonoma: This fundraiser is aimed at helping both individuals and businesses, with over $6,000 raised toward a $20,000 goal from more than 60 supporters. Funds will be disbursed to three nonprofits: Napa Valley Community Foundation’s Disaster Relief Fund, Community Foundation of Sonoma County’s Resilience Fund, and Community Foundation of Mendocino County Disaster Fund of Mendocino County.
UFCW 8 Disaster Relief Fund for California Fire Victims: This chapter of the United Food and Commercial Workers union has raised over $50,000 of its $100,000 goal to help UFCW members recovering from fires in Northern California. Members can apply for relief through the organization.
Christina Hanson Memorial Fund: Christina Hanson lost her life in the Santa Rosa Tubbs Fire. With a fundraising goal of $10,000, this memorial fundraiser has raised over $7,000 from more than 100 supporters.
Support Fire Chief Welch’s Family & other Mill Valley Staff: Mill Valley fire chief Tom Welch lost his house to a fire in Santa Rosa. This fundraiser, aimed at Mill Valley residents, has raised over $87,000 toward a $100,000 goal from more than 625 donors.
Start a fire relief fundraiser
Ready to start a fire relief fundraiser for friends or family?