How do you fundraise for a funeral? While this isn’t the kind of question that you want to burden your loved ones with, death is inevitable, and we aren’t always as prepared for the grief and the high expenses that come with giving a loved one a deserving send-off. And when backed to a corner, we are forced to do that one thing that would be hard at first – ask for help.
When it comes to funerals and burial expenses, however, asking for help might require some tact and even use of non-traditional methods, all in a bid to help families handle to huge financial burdens often associated with funerals.
Most people will think of pre-paid funerals, life insurance, and even funeral loans. Unfortunately, these options aren’t available to everyone, and sometimes, it’s just too late to opt for these options. And when your family and friends don’t seem able to raise all the cash needed, you may have to seek the next best option, albeit a less publicized option – funeral crowdfunding.
In this article, we’ll take you through everything you need to know about funeral crowdfunding – what it is, how it works, and why it might be a good option for you.
So, let’s get started!
What is Funeral Crowdfunding?
Funeral crowdfunding, also known as crowdsourcing, can be defined as a fundraising avenue that allows you to set up a campaign online to collect funds to cover the funeral expenses of your loved one. Once the fundraising is published online, it can be shared via social media to your family, friends, and strangers who would make small donations towards the set funeral budget goal. It generally is an amazing tool that’s helpful to the vulnerable people that really need it. The best part is that funeral crowdfunding shows just how kind and generous people are generally.
While you don’t have to crowdsource online, the presence and use of online tools make it possible and easier for more people to be reached and for the target goal to be reached faster.
How does funeral crowdfunding work?
Crowdfunding works through the use of different websites that allow you to set up your funeral campaigns. With new sites popping all the time, you’d have to choose from some of the specialized funeral crowdfunding sites to the memorial financial options and even broader sites that will raise money for pretty much everything from covering hospital bills to paying for home repairs.
To set up or raise money through crowdfunding, you’d have to set up a campaign. To do this, you first register with the selected crowdfunding site, then create an online memorial for your loved one on the platform you’ve settled on. Once the campaign is set up, you’d have to ask for donations from different online communities, specifying that the funds would go to the funeral expenses or other related costs like memorial costs. During setup, you should create an apt description for the campaign and also upload good quality photos, and set a time period plus a goal for the campaign. You are also required to provide relevant bank information for receiving the payments. When funding for funerals, for example, you could choose to direct funds to the funeral home you’ve chosen for your loved one.
When done, the final step is to share the created crowdfunding page via social media and email.
For most people, setting up a crowdfunding campaign takes a little time, especially if you know what to say about the funeral campaign. It might, however, take a bit of time and effort to set up the campaign.
As you set up the campaign page, there are some basic considerations you’d have to pay attention to.
In most cases, you’d have to cover the cost of the credit card fees for all donations made this way. Depending on the site, you may be given some time to pay this fee, or the site may deduct the money from the donations. Often, the credit card fees vary, but the most common amount charged is 3% of the total amount.
Besides the credit card fees, other sites charge per-transaction fees on the credit cards, as well as processing fees, up to 5% of the value of the donation.
What this means is that out of the total donations collected, you’d have to pay up to 7% of the collected amount from each donation to the fees.
Is funeral crowdfunding right for me?
With the above information in mind, is crowdfunding for a funeral a good option for you?
Essentially, funeral crowdfunding as a way of defraying the high funeral expenses offers a quick and effective way of generating money, especially after the unexpected death of a loved one and if there was no money put aside for the funeral expenses. In such cases, spreading the message and sharing the campaign either by email or social media allows for a quick turnaround on the payment. A quick look at one of the bigger crowdfunding sites shows that many funeral crowdfunding campaigns have been run successfully, and the targets met or even exceeded.
Unfortunately, success isn’t guaranteed. And for the success of your campaign, you’d have to set aside a significant amount of time setting up the campaign and making sure that it reaches as many people as possible. This isn’t always easy, especially with the best and the most successful campaigns being the ones that are not only well-written but also the ones that tell a deeply personal story.
Also, success depends on the number of friends, family, and acquaintances of the deceased the campaign reaches. So, you have to mobilize as many of your friends and mutual friends for the message to be disseminated far and wide. And not just via social media but also through the use of letters and emails.
The other thing you should know as you navigate the crowdfunding waters is the fact that these contributions are not tax-deductible to donors, but for tax purposed, they are considered gifts. So, that single donation might offer great gift tax consequences on the donors, especially if they exceed their annual exclusion amounts.
Think of it this way – everyone’s situation is unique/ different, and whether to raise funeral funds through crowdsourcing or not is a deep and completely personal matter.
Generally, however, funeral crowdfunding offers an incredible avenue for you to raise funds to cover the funeral and the memorial expenses for your loved one.
How to raise money for a funeral with crowdfunding
Funeral fundraisers through crowdfunding offer one of the quickest and often the easiest ways of raising money from friends and loved ones. But asking for these donations isn’t always the easiest thing to do, at least not to everyone.
And since it feels awkward asking for money, even for the noblest of reasons, here is a simple and short guide to help you as you crowdfund for funerals.
- Determine what to write – This is crucial. The wording you choose for the campaign must be straight to the point – stating that you are accepting donations for specific things like the funeral service and the deceased charity.
- Determine what the appropriate amount of the donation should be – This is a personal thing, but use your budget and what’s offered by the funeral homes around to set a donation goal. Make sure that the donation goal is specified on the campaign, and if possible, use the funeral home’s payment details for people to make payments easily and for transparency.
If you are setting up a crowdfunding page to raise money for a funeral for the first time, here are the steps to follow:
- Find an ideal platform – Choose between the general and the dedicated sites, determine the percentage that will be taken by the site, and have something like an online obituary for the people donating to have an idea of the actual purpose of their donations.
- Set up the crowdfunding page, as previously directed above.
- Spread the word about the fundraising
Best Crowdfunding Options
GoFundMe is, without a doubt, one of the biggest and the best-known crowdfunding sites on the internet today. It’s a general crowdfunding site, and though not specific to funeral funding, it is one of the best places you could run a funeral fundraising campaign from.
Crowdfunding on GoFundMe could be an excellent way for you to honor the memory of your loved ones because it allows you to ask for assistance with the funeral costs, memorial, and the funeral service.
To fundraise here, you only need to tell the story of your loved one in the most honest ways possible to inspire people to donate – be authentic. Also, explain the funeral’s urgency and how you need to raise a certain amount by the stated date. You should also list the specific funeral expenses that you need help covering.
The best part is that GoFundMe offers templates for donation requests that you can use, making the whole process a breeze. Also, these templates are customized for who you’d like to get donations from – friends and family, strangers, or community members.
Everloved is a funeral-expenses-specific crowdfunding site that works well if you are fundraising for funerals. It is an excellent resource for people who just got bereaved, and they not only offer free funeral crowdfunding services but go a step further and give you this comprehensive platform from which you can compare funeral needs prices, including the prices of headstones and caskets.
From the website, you get to not only run campaigns but also can publish a free obituary online and collect stories and photos of the deceased from the site while also sharing events and getting the financial support you need.
Also, you get to choose a funeral home based on what’s important to you. After sharing the information about what’s important to you, you will also receive estimates from the local funeral homes. So, you don’t have to search for the funeral home after. Essentially, Ever loved allows for easy planning of funerals, and the ultimate funeral donation website.
Next on the list is Just Giving. This is another reliable crowdfunding platform that allows you to fundraise for a funeral. You can also use the platform for fundraising for a charity organization. Each week after the campaign starts running, the raised money is sent to the pre-determined organization or funeral home.
The other crowdfunding sites you may consider include:
This is the other big name in the crowdfunding world, and though known for helping entrepreneurs and tech experts, it might be a good option for you too if you are looking to reach a larger audience to raise money to cover a loved one’s funeral expenses. You only need to complete the campaign for donations to come in, and the best part is that credit card fees are only charged if the campaign goal is met. But there is a 14-day waiting period for the release of the funds.
This is used often for community projects, tech innovations, and creatives. There are flexible and fixed funding options, and the former means that you get the money collected even if you don’t meet the campaign’s target.
Other ways of funeral fundraising
Besides crowdfunding, there are other things you could do to raise enough cash to cover the funeral expenses of a loved one. They include:
- Hosting a memorial dinner – You could invite your family and friends to gather for dinner in honor of the loved one lost and to fund the funeral. The guests at the dinner would be asked to donate food and drinks, and there will be a donation jar that people can put their contributions through the evening. You could also host a memorial night where the attendees have to make donations in order to attend the event.
- Bake Sale – Bake-sales have passed the test of time when it comes to easy money-raising options. It is an easy approach that often works effortlessly. Just bake pastries, bread, can cookies, and then ask your community to attend the bake sale. Don’t forget to mention the purpose of the bake sale.
- Create a simple charity auction – You could do this by soliciting item donations from some of the local businesses that the deceased was a huge part of. Send out invites once you have some vendors who’ve signed up for some items; also, you need a caterer and an auctioneer. These things would be auctioned off to the highest bidders.
- Sell flowers – Not something you could think about on top of your head, but it is an option that works, especially if you are selling flowers that were loved by the deceased. Just sell them for a profit, but also let people know why you are selling them.
- Selling T-Shirts – Create custom t-shirts, then sell them at a profit to support your fundraising options.
Not just fundraising
- Opt for Funeral Assistance Programs
If the options above aren’t ideal for you, you could opt to seek the help of the funeral-assisted programs from the city. There are charitable and non-profit organizations that offer these services; you only need to ask for their help.
- Funeral Loans
You could take up a funeral loan to cater to the funeral expenses of your loved one. This loan is obtained in the same way you’d access a home or a car loan, but it may not take as long.
- Follow up with life insurance.
If the deceased had a life insurance cover, it might be safe to claim for the life insurance payout to be used to fund the funeral. Often, the payout is more than enough to cover all the funeral expenses.
Tips for easing the cost of funeral expenses on your family
You can send off your loved one without huge bills by following these tips:
- Shop around for the funeral home services you can afford. Don’t pay for services and products you don’t need, and ask for discounts. Some caskets made of biodegradable softwoods, for example, are cheaper.
- Opt for natural burials – this is a cheaper option that will take less time and fewer resources – but only if that’s what you know the deceased would have wanted.
- Stick to the budget, always. Stick to your plan, and tell the funeral home exactly how much you can afford.
- Avoid the upsells offered by the funeral homes. Oftentimes, you don’t need them.
- Opt for direct cremations to keep down costs and choose to either keep the ashes in an urn or have them scattered or buried somewhere meaningful
- Buy the casket online.
- Skip embalming because it’s not only expensive but often unnecessary
- If the deceased was in the military, take advantage of any of the VA benefits offered.
These are the options you could use to fundraise and pay for a funeral/ memorial if your loved one dies without life insurance.
But before you choose the crowdfunding path, make sure that it is what you and your family need to do. Done right, crowdfunding is an effective way of sourcing for funds to help give your loved one a good send-off.