How to Start a Memorial Fundraiserposted on 01/23/2013 by Erica Alhorn
How to Start a Memorial Fundraiser: Step by Step Fundraising for Funeral Costs
When someone we love passes away, focus is primarily put on expressing sympathy to their family, remembering their life, & memories, and supporting those who are affected by the tragedy, and it can be hard to face the reality of funeral burial costs, cremation cost, and whether or not your loved one had funeral insurance or burial insurance. If you are looking for assistance for funeral costs, starting a GiveForward page is the perfect way to help a family through this difficult time. Here’s how:
Choosing a Title
It is best to choose a title that clearly conveys who the fundraiser is about or what the fundraiser is for. Consider focusing on the family being supported after their loss (e.g. The Rozier Family) or focus on the person that the fundraiser is in memory of (e.g. Loving Memory of Pam and Daniel Decker, Todd Waltz Memorial Fund). If the page is for more specific fundraising efforts, this is the perfect time to highlight that (e.g. The Kristen Foster Memorial Bench Fund)
Calculating a Goal
Potential donors may not understand the cost associated with losing a loved one. The average price of a funeral is $8,500 and includes many individual costs highlighted here that can be overlooked initially. If this individual had life insurance, there can still be a lengthy waiting period to receive those funds, and can be well after a funeral is planned and paid for, especially if cause of death has to be investigated or factored in. Supporters also may not know that the average time off given to someone who loses a child is only three days according to the MISS Foundation, not to mention those who may rely on hourly wages. Funds raised on GiveForward is meant to allow time away from work to mourn their loss. These are all factors to take into consideration when deciding on a goal amount, and to include in the description of your fundraiser.
Writing a Description
This is a sensitive time for the family you are raising money for, so always speak with a representative of the family first before creating a fundraiser. Explain that by creating this page, friends and family are empowered to show their support and share their condolences. Be sure to find out what information they are comfortable sharing and whether or not to make the page private. Those close to the family will most likely know the situation, but donors outside the network of friends and family will still need to understand what happened, who they are supporting and how the donations will be used when they read the description. Feel free to highlight any pertinent factors about the funeral costs that helped you calculate a goal amount.
Naming a Beneficiary
The beneficiary of a fundraising page is the individual who is accepting the funds raised from this page. The name of the deceased should not be listed as the beneficiary, as this name is directly connected with the final payment method. It is best to list the closest surviving member of the family who is handling the final expenses, ideally a spouse, sibling or parent. Generally, explaining the relationship of the beneficiary to the deceased might alleviate any concerns or questions on the legitimacy of the fundraiser as you begin your fundraising efforts. So you may wish to include a sentence at the bottom of your description explaining who is listed as the beneficiary & their relationship to the deceased and that they are handling the arrangements.
Adding Important Details
This fundraising page may be used as the central hub for sharing information, memories, and relevant news. Make sure to include photos that accurately commemorate their life: a clear featured image to highlight their happiest days and biggest smile, family and friends, and anything else that may help remember their legacy. The “Links” section in the left margin should be used to include any news articles, obituaries or memorial information. Links can be edited in the Dashboard within the Details tab. Later on in the fundraising efforts, Updates can be used to share locations and details of any services or memorial events.
Making the First Donation
The first donation will set the tone for the entire fundraiser, meaning that future donors will follow the pattern of those before them. By making an initial contribution, it sets a good example of the generous amount to give, as well as displays dedication to the cause and trust in the site. Many potential donors may wish to show their support, but may not feel comfortable being the first to donate, so it is best to take the initiative; use this donation as a place to share personal condolences that may not be appropriate to include in the description. The most impactful part of a memorial fundraiser is the online community created on the GiveForward page that surrounds this family during their time of need. So the memories, words of support, and prayers will be just as inspiring as the financial support being provided to the family.
Sharing the Link
Promoting the fundraiser to mutual friends, family members, groups that the person may have been involved in, co-workers, etc. is the best way to insure that everyone whose lives were touched by this loss can be involved with the fundraising efforts. You may even consider inviting team members to help show this family the support that they need as they mourn the loss of their loved one with you.
Feel free to browse memorial fundraisers on GiveForward to see what others are doing to successfully raise money for funeral costs.