April is National Autism Awareness Month, and April 2 is World Autism Awareness Day. Since the 1970s, these campaigns have been used to educate people about autism, inclusion, appreciation, and acceptance, while also encouraging people to take action—such as fundraising for autism, which many people do on YouCaring’s free crowdfunding platform.
In June 2014, researchers estimated the lifetime cost of caring for a child with autism can be as high as $2.4 million, with total costs for autism care in the US reaching $90 billion. Such costs are one reason why many turn to crowdfunding.
In this post, we outline seven different ways you can take action for autism, including fundraising for autism awareness.
Seven Ways to Take Action for Autism
1. Get educated about autism
Do you know about the autism spectrum? Do you know how to recognize early signs of autism in a child? Are you aware that the autism rate has reportedly doubled among children since 2004 (though this may be due to better assessments), and that it’s currently seen in one of every 68 births?
The Autism Society offers free courses that can teach you more about the condition, including a basic overview called Autism 101. Autism Self-Advocacy Network (ASAN) also offers resources and information about how people with autism are advocating for themselves as part of the disability rights and neurodiversity movements.
2. Share your story on social media
If you have a personal connection to a person with autism, or if you’re on the spectrum yourself, sharing your story on social media is a great way to raise awareness and engage in dialogue. Sharing your story can inspire others to share their own stories, learn more about the autism spectrum, or take other supportive actions. [LGS1]
3. Start autism fundraising to support a loved one
Many people use YouCaring’s free crowdfunding platform to raise the funds they need for everything from social skills classes to sensory integration therapy, from paying medical bills to buying service dogs. See these examples for inspiration:
Callum is struggling with aggressive behavior and mental health concerns, common issues for children affected by autism. Callum needs a proper living space, which requires his family to retrofit their home. Callum’s parents also want to seed his disability fund, which will help pay for his needs as an adult.
Diego’s family has raised nearly $7,000 of their $15,000 goal. The money they raise will be used to pay for Magnetic Resonance Therapy, a novel and noninvasive medical procedure for neuropsychiatric conditions.
James was born with Down syndrome, survived two open heart surgeries, and was later diagnosed with autism. Autism makes it hard for James to interact socially with people, but he seems to have a profound connection with animals—especially dogs. His family is raising funds to pay for a service dog as a companion for James.
Service dogs help people with a wide variety of conditions. Learn How Service Dog Fundraising Can Unlock Your Independence.
4. Launch a fundraiser that promotes autism awareness
Whether you want to raise awareness on your own or with a group, crowdfunding is a great way to go because the act of sharing your fundraising campaign simultaneously spreads awareness of your cause. When people land on your fundraiser page, they learn more as they engage with your story before making a donation.
How about raising funds to help a group of kids on the spectrum see Sensory Friendly Films? AMC partnered with the Autism Society to screen films with the lights turned up and the sound turned down, so people on the spectrum (many of whom have sensory issues) can get up, walk, talk, or sing. Your fundraiser could help spread awareness about these screenings.
You could also take on a challenge to raise funds and awareness for people on the spectrum. Challenges are great for getting local media attention because they’re inherently dramatic, offering TV stations and other video journalists good visuals for stories. Get inspired by this campaign:
The Minnesota 501c3 nonprofit Children with Autism Deserve Education (C.A.D.E.) is raising funds to expand their ability to positively affect the lives of those affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder. Taking on a climbing challenge, Caden Larson and John Byington will attempt to reach the top of Wyoming’s Devils Tower National Monument. The charity climb will be supported by Devils Tower climbing guide, Frank Sanders.
Another great option: raise funds for camps serving kids with ASD. Here’s a great example of such a campaign:
Cash’s life was transformed by the experience of going to Camp Royall with other kids with ASD. He wants others to have the same experience, but the camp’s $1700-a-week cost means it’s not available to everyone. So Cash is working to raise the funds to help kids with limited means spend a week at Camp Royall.
5. Volunteer at a local event for autism awareness
During the month of April, you’ll find a large number of autism awareness events happening around the country—including events tailored to the sensory needs of those with ASD. Take a look at the affiliate network at the Autism Society website to find nearby affiliates, then connect with one or more of them to find out about volunteer opportunities.
6. Host your own awareness and fundraising event
If you want to host your own fundraising event, check out our Fundraising Event Ideas page, as well as our post, Seven Simple Tips for Hosting a Successful Fundraising Event. When it comes to building awareness, getting the attention of local media is an important piece of the puzzle. Keep in mind that your event should be welcoming to people on the spectrum; check out ASERT’s guide to hosting a sensory-friendly event.
7. Donate to a meaningful autism cause
One of the easiest ways to support people on the autism spectrum is to make a donation to one of the causes we’ve listed here, or explore YouCaring’s current autism-related fundraisers and find one that speaks to you. After you donate, share the campaign on social media. Our data shows that every time someone shares a YouCaring campaign with their friends, it nets an average of $37 for the campaign. By donating and sharing during Autism Awareness Month, you can help inspire others to take action.
Autism fundraising and awareness go hand in hand
Autism Awareness Month is a great time to help support those on the spectrum by fundraising for autism. Educate yourself about autism and help others do the same. Share your campaign, or someone else’s, on social media. Raise funds for a friend, loved one, or family in need. Volunteer at an event with an Autism Society affiliate near you. Run a campaign or event that raises awareness, maybe even one that gets the attention of local media. And if you haven’t started a YouCaring fundraiser yet, start one today.