Funeral Fundraising Guide: Raising Money With Crowdfunding & More
For many families, the cost of a funeral is a huge financial burden that causes a lot of stress.
For those interested in all the options, you can read this guide about paying for a funeral.
One less publicized way is through funeral fundraising, which is usually done these days online with funeral crowdfunding.
In this guide, I’ll explain how to start a crowdfunding campaign, give you some strategies to keep funeral costs down, and also provide other fundraising ideas.
What Is Funeral Crowdfunding?
This is a method of funeral fundraising which makes use of an online platform to quickly solicit and obtain donations.
As such a platform is easy to share, there is the potential to reach a large number of people who can contribute.
How Does It Work?
A wide range of online platforms exist which can be used for funeral crowdfunding.
Some are just for general fundraising, while others are specifically designed to raise funds for funerals.
Setting up a campaign
Begin by creating an online memorial to your loved one on your chosen platform.
Next ask for donations from the online community, either to go towards funeral expenses or to a cause of your choice.
Finally, share the crowdfunding page via email and social media.
There are a number of reasons that you might choose this method to raise money for funeral expenses.
Here are some of the perks.
Quick and easy way to raise money
If you are faced with funeral expenses unexpectedly, crowdfunding allows you to secure the money you need quickly.
Just by looking at past campaigns posted on the sites, you can see that they have all met or exceeded their goals fairly quickly.
Easy way to reach out to family and friends
A huge perk of crowdfunding in general is that it unites people who are devoted to a common cause.
In this case, that common cause would be your shared love for the deceased person.
How To Ask For Donations
It definitely feels awkward to ask for money, no matter how noble the reason may be.
But keep in mind that everyone knows how expensive funerals are. Many will want to help and not know how.
What do you write?
The wording of your campaign may simply state that you are accepting donations in lieu of flowers.
Or you can say that you will split the donation money between funeral expenses and your loved one’s favorite charity.
What is an appropriate donation amount?
Ultimately, this is a personal choice that each potential donor has to make for themselves.
Come up with a goal based on the total projected cost of the funeral, and communicate that goal in your campaign.
This allows each individual to decide how much to donate based on the overall amount that is needed.
Best Crowdfunding Options
As funeral crowdfunding grows in popularity, there are more sites than ever to meet the demand.
This means you have plenty of choices when it comes to choosing the best crowdfunding site for your needs.
Here are our picks for the best.
This site is a fantastic resource for the newly bereaved. In fact, I’d recommend it as my preferred platform.
Not only does it offer free crowdfunding, but it also provides a platform to comparison shop for expensive items like caskets and headstones.
This classic fundraising site has some features especially designed for memorial crowdfunding.
Because of its familiarity, it is easy to raise money on GoFundMe, as evidenced by the many success stories posted on its website.
Besides raising money for funeral costs, this site is often used for things like memorial benches and plaques and charitable donations, as well as support for grieving families.
Other Ways To Fundraise
If you are uncomfortable with the idea of soliciting donations online, there are other effective ways to raise the needed funds for a funeral.
Host a Memorial Dinner
Invite friends and family to gather at a dinner in your loved one’s honor.
Ask guests to donate food and drink, and place a donation jar in which people can place their contributions throughout the evening.
Have a Bake Sale
Bake sales are a time-honored way to raise money quickly and relatively effortlessly.
Simply bake some pastries, breads and cookies and ask family members to do the same.
Then notify the community about your bake sale before setting up a table in some highly-trafficked area.
Host a Memorial Night
At a memories night, friends and family gather informally to share memories of the deceased person.
Food and drink is provided, and loved ones make a donation in order to attend.
Create a Charity Auction
Begin by soliciting donations of items from local businesses.
Then send out invites, hire a caterer and an auctioneer, and let these items go to the highest bidder.
Have a Community Yard Sale
This option not only helps you raise funds, but also helps ease the additional burden of figuring out how to dispose of personal belongings left behind.
Simply take a pack of 100 envelopes and write a number on each, from 1 to 100.
Then stick them on a corkboard in an area that gets a lot of traffic.
Supporters take an envelope and donate the amount written on the envelope.
Custom t-shirts are a wonderful way to honor your loved one’s memory and raise funds at the same time.
The right t-shirt provider will help you settle on colors and design.
Contact a low-cost flower provider to purchase some of your loved one’s favorite flower bulbs in bulk.
Then sell them at a profit to help with funeral costs.
Other Funding Options
If none of the above options seem appealing to you, there are other ways to secure the funding you need.
Here are some popular methods.
Funeral Assistance Programs
There are a number of nonprofits and charitable organizations that offer Funeral Assistance Programs.
Also check with organizations like the Funeral Consumers’ Alliance, Final Farewell and Children’s Burial Assistance.
You can take out a personal loan to pay for a funeral in the same way that you would do to purchase a car or a home.
Depending on what your loved one had as a life insurance policy, the payout can be used to help fund a funeral.
Life insurance can also be used to give the family more financial stability after a loved one’s death.
Cheap Funeral Advice
A funeral doesn’t have to break the bank.
It is possible to have a meaningful send-off without the exorbitant costs.
To hold a funeral inexpensively, it just requires some intention and planning.
Here are a few helpful workarounds to ease the financial impact of a funeral.
Each funeral home is required to provide you with an itemized list of products and services, along with their prices.
This allows you to shop around for the best prices on the specific products and services you want.
Besides saving money, it also gives you the opportunity to get to know staff at different funeral homes, so you can make an informed decision about which one is best for you.
Stick to a budget
Research funeral costs carefully, always keeping in mind which services might be a priority for you.
Then estimate what your costs are going to be, and stick with the plan.
This is an excellent strategy to control funeral costs, because it prevents you from spending money on goods or services that are overpriced.
Be wary of the common funeral home practice of marking up caskets and urns, or even for smaller merchandise like memorial cards.
A budget and some research are the best tools in your arsenal to combat this.
Additionally, planning ahead can make it easier so that you are not held hostage to the funeral home’s prices in your time of need.
Choose direct cremation
This is by far the most affordable option for disposing of remains.
Your loved one’s body is transformed to ashes through exposure to high heat.
You then choose to keep the ashes with you in an urn or some other container.
You can also choose to scatter or bury them.
Buy a casket online
Funeral homes often try to push their most expensive caskets.
To avoid this, find a simple casket from an online third-party seller.
Caskets purchased online are often much cheaper than those which can be purchased from the funeral home.
The artificial preservation of remains through embalming is a long-standing tradition. But in many cases, it’s unnecessary.
We now know that the formaldehyde used in the embalming process is harmful to the environment.
It’s also very expensive.
By burying or cremating the remains immediately after death, you eliminate the need for embalming.
Take advantage of VA benefits
The VA will cover all or part of the funeral expenses for military veterans.
If you think your loved one might be eligible, check out the VA website.
In general, the VA provides a $300 burial allowance for a non-service-related death, and $1200 for a service-related one.
Should You Fundraise?
No matter what method you choose to raise funds for a funeral, it’s worth asking yourself some serious questions first.
You will need to be able to dedicate some time to set up your fundraiser and share it with potential donors.
A successful fundraising campaign is one that’s well-written and carefully planned.
But if you can devote the time and effort to a good fundraising campaign, it can be a highly effective solution to the problem of paying for a funeral.