Grieving the loss of a loved one is already difficult, but the situation can become exponentially worse when you have to worry about all the costs involved in planning a funeral or memorial service.
Based on a 2015 study, the average cost of a funeral was over $8,000 (source). This cost, however, doesn’t take into account the price of the cemetery marker or the cost of flowers and an obituary, which could put the actual total cost around $10,000.
With the weight of a lost loved one and funeral expenses to bear, it’s common for individuals to start a fundraiser to help raise money to cover some (or all) of the costs.
In this article, we’ll go over some basics of fundraising for memorials and funerals to help you get through this difficult time.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- Common reasons to fundraise for memorials and funerals.
- Our top fundraising ideas for memorials and funerals.
- Fundraising best practices to help you raise more.
Keep reading to learn more.
After someone passes away, there are a lot of expenses that need to be covered. Therefore, you can raise funds for many different reasons.
We’ll cover some of the most common causes to help give your fundraiser some direction so that you can clearly explain your cause to potential donors.
Funeral, cremation, or memorial expenses
As we mentioned earlier, memorials and funerals can be expensive, and cremations — though less expensive than a traditional burial — can still be a financial burden on grieving families.
Not only do these families have to handle the burial or cremation costs, but they also have to account for plenty of other costs associated with having a memorial or funeral.
By creating a fundraiser, you can ask family members and friends to support you by covering some of the expenses.
The aftermath of losing a mother, father, wife, husband, or another provider can be a huge financial toll on the family. Not only will they be dealing with the emotional effects of losing a loved one, but they will also need to continue everyday life by supporting their family.
Those directly affected will need the support of their friends and family. If you know someone who has lost a family member, you can offer them some financial support by creating a fundraiser.
Dedications or scholarships
To keep a loved one’s memory alive, some people decide to dedicate something — a building, bench, tree, or another tribute item — to honor the life of the person who has passed away.
Alternatively, some families set up a memorial scholarship fund (usually after someone young has passed away) to honor the individual’s passions and spirit.
You can set up a fundraiser to raise money for a dedication or scholarship and honor your loved one.
Final thought: When you set up your fundraiser, it’s important to explain to donors exactly why you’re raising money. When potential donors understand how the money will be used, they’re more likely to contribute.
Let’s get right into our three favorite ways you can raise money:
Crowdfunding (Our Top Choice)
If you’re looking for a simple (yet effective) way to raise money for a memorial or funeral, crowdfunding is a great option.
Crowdfunding uses social media to share your story and can potentially raise a lot of money in a short period. Additionally, setting up a crowdfunding page is quick and simple, which means that you can focus on more important things.
Let’s take a look at what a typical crowdfunding campaign looks like:
The purpose of this campaign is to help support John’s family. This fundraiser includes a goal and a time frame. They’ve already raised over half their goal from 417 donors.
One of the most important steps to setting up a crowdfunding campaign is choosing a platform. You might be familiar with the crowdfunding platform GoFundMe, but there are many other platforms available.
In fact, there are around 200 crowdfunding sites in America alone (source).
All those options can be a little intimidating, so we’ve compiled a list of features you should consider when choosing a crowdfunding platform:
- Social sharing buttons (in prominent locations on your page)
- Mobile-friendly fundraising pages
- Space to explain your cause (and add visuals)
- Visuals (like a fundraising thermometer) that show the campaign’s progress.
Tree Planting Event (The Environmentally Friendly Option)
Often at memorial services, balloons or lanterns are released to honor and remember the person who has passed away. However, balloons and paper lanterns are not great for the environment.
Another way you can honor your loved one (and be environmentally friendly) is by planting trees. A tree planting event can be a symbolic way to honor the life of someone who has passed away as well as help new life flourish.
For this memorial fundraising idea, you can raise money by selling saplings (or flowers) to attendees.
To make this fundraiser a reality, you’ll need a few things, including:
- A place to plant your trees or flowers. You can have your event in the family’s backyard or a more public location like a park or town square (with the right permission, of course).
- Plants and flowers. You can always go out and purchase the plants yourself, or you can ask a local plant nursery if they’d be willing to donate saplings for your event.
- Gardening supplies. Make sure you have enough gloves, shovels, and spades so your attendees can plant their saplings.
The tree planting event will give you an opportunity to raise money, and you’ll have a place people can come to when they want to remember the individual who passed away.
Sell Merchandise (Celebrate Your Loved One)
In addition to your other funeral and memorial fundraising ideas, you can sell merchandise that honors your loved one. For instance, you can put a phrase they always said or their picture on a t-shirt to sell.
Selling t-shirts is a great way to remember someone who has passed away and celebrate their unique character.
Of course, you can sell other merchandise, like:
- And so much more!
The merchandise you sell can be worn during other fundraising events (like a walkathon or tree planting event) or at a memorial service.
If you want to sell merchandise as one of your fundraising ideas for memorials and funerals, you need to find a company that will print your customized shirts.
Try to find a company that will ship the t-shirts for you (like Booster). That way, you don’t have to worry about storing hundreds of shirts, and you’ll only pay for the items you sell.
Final thought: You can use one, two, or a combination of all three ideas to help you raise money for a memorial or funeral.
Once you’ve created your fundraiser, the work isn’t over. You’ll also need to share your event or campaign and get the word out about why you’re raising funds.
Thankfully, it’s not as hard as it sounds. We’ll cover three best practices to help your fundraiser become a success.
Tell your loved one’s story
While it may be difficult, telling your story and explaining why you need the funds is the best way to generate support. When you get personal, potential donors will connect with your cause, giving them more reasons to donate.
You don’t have to be extremely detailed and recount every detail of your loved one’s life, but be sure to highlight the most important information.
For instance, if you’re creating a scholarship fund for students going to art school, you might want to explain the individual’s passion for art and why creating this scholarship is so important.
After you’ve written your story, place it on your crowdfunding page or share it on social media if you’re planning an event.
Much like your story, visuals can be a way to connect with potential donors and convey your cause in an engaging way. Photos and videos are also a way for you to share the memory of your loved one with other people.
Whether you’re creating a crowdfunding campaign or organizing an event to honor a loved one, you can use visuals to grab people’s attentions.
Not sure how to incorporate images and videos? Check out this list of creative uses:
- Post a gallery of images on your crowdfunding page.
- Share an image of your loved one on social media with information on how to donate.
- Compile a video of their favorite memories to share on social media or your crowdfunding page.
Share, share, and share
You probably noticed a theme throughout the previous best practices: sharing is the only way to inform people about your cause.
While there are plenty of ways you can share your fundraiser (letters, phone calls, etc.), social media is by far the most popular platform. There are millions of users on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram; all potential donors that you can reach out to.
Social media as many advantages, including the ability to:
- Easily insert links to your fundraising page as well as images and other visual content.
- Create a Facebook event or page to promote your fundraiser.
- Immediately share your fundraising milestones and update donors on your progress.
- Publicly thank those who have made contributions.
Plus, sharing on social media is completely free!
Post updates about your campaign every couple of days or when you’ve made any progress. Donors are more likely to contribute if they see that you’re close to reaching your goal.
Final thought: If you want to raise the most funds for your fundraiser, it’s important to connect with potential donors and make sure that you share your campaign.
With these tips, you can start a fundraiser and hopefully ease some of the stress that comes with losing a loved one.
If you want additional fundraising help, check out these helpful resources:
- 80+ Amazing Fundraising Ideas. Want more fundraising ideas for memorials and funerals? Check out a list of over 80 fantastic fundraising ideas. You’re bound to find exactly what you need.
- Crowdfunding for Individuals: The Beginner’s Guide. This ultimate guide takes you through the basics of crowdfunding—the quickest and easiest way to raise funds online.
- Crowdfunding Tips: Quick and Easy Ways to Raise More Money. If crowdfunding sounds like a great way to fundraise, check out Fundly’s article on crowdfunding best practices.
- Top 9 Crowdfunding Websites for Individuals. Before you can start a crowdfunding campaign, you’ll need to find a platform. Check out our list of the best crowdfunding websites for individuals.