Watsi: Crowdfunding health care for those in need since 2012

Inspiration can strike anywhere, at any time. Just ask Chase Adams.

While serving in the Peace Corps in Costa Rica, a woman boarded a bus Chase was on and started asking for donations to pay for her son’s healthcare. While he was skeptical at first, he noticed that the other passengers were actually giving her money. Chase was curious about what made this woman different from the hundred other solicitors, most of which had always been ignored by the locals, he had encountered during his time in Costa Rica.

He then realized that the woman was carrying her son’s medical file with her and showing it to everyone. The official documents earned her the other passengers’ trust, so they were more willing to donate.

Suddenly, Chase’s gears started turning. It seemed crazy to him that there were so many crowdfunding platforms out there, yet not one of them focused on what he thought was the most important thing: health care.

This brief encounter inspired him to start Watsi, and name it after the town he was traveling through at the time.

Source: watsi.org
What’s the problem?

Over 1.5 billion people in the world lack access to basic healthcare. Millions are pushed further into poverty by paying out of pocket for healthcare expenses, and those who are untreated often end up permanently disabled and unable to work. Many of these people have conditions that are easily treatable, but due to economic and systemic constraints, they are unable to receive the care they need. This not only impacts their personal health and quality of life, but also their work, families, schools, and communities.

The solution

Watsi makes it possible to directly fund health care for patients around the world — patients who would otherwise go untreated. 100% of donations on Watsi go directly to a patient in need of essential health care. Since Watsi’s launch in 2012, over 19,000 donors have funded life-changing health care for more than 8,500 patients. And those numbers keep growing!

Source: watsi.org
How it works

Step 1: Patient seeks care at a Watsi medical partner hospital or center. Medical Partners are on-the-ground organizations that provide reliable healthcare to underserved populations in low income countries. In order for Watsi to form a relationship with a Medical Partner, they must maintain the highest of ethical standards.

Step 2: Patient learns about Watsi from a member of the hospital staff. It’s super important to Watsi that every patient posted on their website understands what Watsi is and how it works. Our Medical Partners are responsible for ensuring that every patient understands Watsi and explicitly wishes to participate in the program. If a patient doesn’t wish to be featured on the website, we give them the option to have their healthcare funded via our General Fund without ever appearing on the website.

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Source: watsi.org

Step 3: Hospital submits patient to Watsi. Once the profile is received and approved by Watsi, the hospital may begin providing care before the patient’s profile is posted or funded.

Profiles are posted on Watsi until they are fully funded. The organization works closely with their Medical Partners to determine how many profiles they are able to fund based on current donor demand. Watsi also keeps an emergency reserve in their operations account equal to the total number of unfunded profiles they’ve accepted to ensure they never promise healthcare to a patient that they can’t fund.

Source: watsi.org

Step 4: Watsi donors fund patient’s care. The team posts the profile for donors to begin funding the patient’s care. 100% of donations funds care.

Step 5: Donors receive patient’s updates. The hospital submits a post-treatment update and Watsi sends it to the patient’s donors. The organization transfers the funds raised to the hospital to cover the cost of their care.

Radical transparency

Watsi is an open book. Their operating expenses are covered by foundations, philanthropists, and donors who leave an optional tip during checkout. All of their operations and financials, down to screenshots from their bank account, are publicly available in their Transparency Document so donors can see exactly where their money goes. Right on!

Source: watsi.org
How to get involved

You can go through some of Watsi’s patient profiles and make a one-time donation to help one of them get the treatment they need. You could also sign up to make a recurring monthly donation. Remember: 100% of your money goes to providing care for Watsi patients!

Alternatively, if you’re getting ready to walk down the aisle, you can create a charitable wedding registry that supports this downright awesome nonprofit!


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