When I first had the idea for Prodana, one of the first things I did was research whether something like this already existed, and I looked up crowdfunding platforms for therapists.
There currently aren’t any platforms that I could find that allow for therapists themselves to crowdfund.
Instead, I found dozens of campaigns where people were fundraising for their own mental health needs. Go Fund Me is full of causes where people are trying to get help for addiction, depression, or overcoming specific life challenges that have hit them hard. In fact, they have an entire landing page dedicated to helping people with mental health issues create a fundraising page.
At its root, these myriad of causes accentuate the issue Prodana is trying to solve: many people don’t have the funds to address their mental health needs, and must turn to the community to crowdfund their help.
Crowdfunding for Mental Health
I find it very troubling and sad that people must be so vulnerable with their issues in such a public format. I feel this way for any sort of private challenge that people need to ask for publicly (it’s another thing to crowdfund for a new gadget or an institutional cause), but there’s something particularly troubling when the issue is a mental health one. Our psyches are fragile enough as it is, and the potential shame of being so public about our struggles just feels like lemon juice on the mental anguish.
At the same time, I have no pretenses about the fact that these causes will probably raise more funds more quickly than any therapist crowdfunding page on Prodana. People are driven to action by crisis, and inspired by real life stories of people they know. A therapist profile on Prodana will by necessity be more sterile than a stirring cause posted by a client. As practitioners, we must respect the privacy and dignity of our clients. We can post anonymous case studies and the testimonials our clients provide us, but we can never disclose the amount of detail that a person might choose to on their own Go Fund Me page.
An Inherent Difference
As a result, growth on Prodana will always be slower. You won’t see $15,000 come pouring in overnight. This platform is built for the long term vision – to maintain a relationship with your clients and community for years. Enough time for their fortunes to improve. Enough time for $10 pledged monthly to accumulate into a significant amount even if that is all they have to give.
We’re doing something different. We’re stepping away from the dramatic storytelling and stark images, away from the public recognition so commonly demanded in the philanthropic space. Instead, we’re moving towards a quieter, more subtle relationship based on trust and an internal understanding of sharing the good we have experienced in our own lives with others. That’s the idea behind crowdfunding for therapists.
I dream of the day where people no longer need to crowdfund their own mental health solutions, and instead receive the help they need from the community, as represented by a healer who champions their needs.