FuneralFundMe Explains How Funeral Crowdfunding Can Help You Get Paid Fast
Crowdfunding is a global phenomenon brought on by the connectivity of the digital age. The model is not new – its like passing a donation hat around a small audience at a local music show where everyone throws in $5, except with crowd funding, that hat is passed to hundreds of people over a few days. The result is a large total donation with hundreds of small-amount backers. Funeral crowdfunding is especially effective, often inspiring entire communities to come together to help cover a family’s funeral expenses and in turn getting the funeral homes paid faster by financially struggling clients. This is such a major advancement that we’ve identified crowdfunding as one of the most iconic news stories shaping the future of death care. Read the rest of the list here.
FuneralFundMe is a funeral crowdfunding community that specializes in funding end-of-life expenses. We talked with the founder Kate MacDonald about the benefits of crowdfunding for funerals, strategies for running successful campaigns, and how to get started offering the service to your community.
Connecting Directors: What inspired you to start a funeral crowdfunding business?
Kate MacDonald, FuneralFundMe: I found it distasteful seeing a fundraiser for a child’s funeral displayed on the same platform as a fundraiser for someone’s new tattoo or vacation. I also heard of instances where funeral homes would take care of arrangements for a family with the promise of getting paid through an alternate crowdfunding source, and when it came time to pay for the services the funds were spent on things unrelated to the cause they were originally collected for. There is a certain level of dignity and respect that is expected from those in the funeral industry- and I felt there was an immediate need for a crowdfunding solution that was safe, effective and upheld those values while not undermining the compassion that each cause deserves. My goal was to take one niche market of the crowdfunding industry, improve it, and offer a reputable solution trusted by donors, recipients and industry professionals alike.
CD: What problems did you see in existing funeral crowdfunding platforms that you wanted to solve?
KM: Like most industries, the crowdfunding industry is flawed- but in the same breath it can make a world of difference in someone’s life when there is need. It was important for me to create a service that people could use confidently with as much transparency as possible. Every campaign created on FuneralFundMe must align with our community standards and fall within the realm of loss of life. This preserves the dignity of each cause and allows us to focus on providing the best possible service for our users. FuneralFundMe has a 1-800 number that takes you directly to a live customer service representative- which none of the most popular crowdfunding websites offer. We won’t make you read through pages of FAQ and submit “tickets” to automated systems just to get a simple answer. Real people, real answers. Release of funds was another thing we improved. We have the shortest hold times of any platform- which means you get your money faster with less hassle. FuneralFundMe also added value to the traditional credit card donation process by offering our free t-shirt creator. You design the shirt and we print, package and ship it whenever someone makes a purchase. You also collect a portion of all the t-shirt sales for your cause.
CD: Why is it important that the funds go directly to the funeral home?
KM: Campaigns that are created by the providing funeral home will reap the benefits of being the beneficiary to the funds. This ensures that the funeral home is compensated for their services before any additional funds are distributed. It gives donors a sense of confidence that their contributions are going where they’re supposed to, and it gives the funeral home security of knowing they don’t have to risk the possibility of providing a service and never receiving payment. This is one of many things that separates FuneralFundMe from the other crowdfunding services. In addition to this, every donor, visitor and individual to see the to the campaign on social media will clearly see who the providing funeral home is- in turn, giving a certain level of promotion of services to their business.
CD: How long do campaigns typically run for?
KM: Campaign durations are set by the campaign creators and therefore have no limit to how long they can run. Funds however, cannot be withdrawn until the campaign has ended. Campaigns for funeral expenses typically have the shortest run time- mainly because people would prefer to get their arrangements taken care of promptly after the loss of a loved one. Other campaigns range from days, weeks to even months.
CD: Who typically contributes to the funeral crowdfunding campaigns?
KM: It depends. In the case of funding funeral expenses, most donations come from family and friends of the person who passed and their family. In the instance of a campaign where there is a lot of media coverage, you will have not only family and friends but people completely unrelated to the cause who were moved by the story and want to contribute. We’ve had entire communities come together for people who were on the verge of losing their home due to the loss of the breadwinner in the family. You’d be surprised just how generous people can be- you never know who will hear your story and want to help.
CD: What are some good strategies for successfully funding a campaign?
KM: I have 3 basic tips when it comes to creating a successful FuneralFundMe campaign:
1. Upload a good quality photo that is relevant to your cause. Campaigns that display powerful, eye-catching and relevant photos/videos are significantly more successful than those that do not upload a photo, or whose photo is of poor quality/impersonal.
2.Take advantage of the “description” and “short description” sections when creating your campaign. The “short description” portion serves as a synopsis for your campaign story. It should be short, compelling and clearly explain the reason for the fundraiser. The “description” is the full story behind your campaign. This gives you a little more room to elaborate on your cause and give a few more details/backstory.
3. Share your campaign. Social media serves as an amazing tool for getting information in front of a large audience in a short amount of time. Facebook, text, email, Twitter, Instagram- those are all great ways to get your campaign in front of potential donors. Another great tip is to make your post pubic. This will allow other people who see your post to share it with their friends as well.
CD: How does a funeral home get started using FuneralFundMe?
KM: FuneralFundMe has a network of funeral providers across the country that use our services and who are regarded as trusted professionals in the industry. We are offering free enrollment into this program for funeral homes that wish to offer FuneralFundMe as a solution for families who require financial assistance at the time of need. The funeral home benefits by being the beneficiary to every campaign they create and in turn is guaranteed to receive the funds collected in a timely manner. In addition, their business is listed as a FFM affiliate on our website under their specific city and state. This way, people who are already using FuneralFundMe and looking for a provider have a list of funeral home options in their immediate area that are familiar with our services. Providers wishing to be a part of the FuneralFundMe network can contact one of our service representatives (email: firstname.lastname@example.org, phone: 1-800-863-9091 or by mail: 7107 S Yale Ave #424 Tulsa, OK 74136)