Category Archives: Crowdfunding for Funerals and Memorials

Crowdfunding for funerals and memorials is can help with medical bills, cover costs of funerals or memorials, or help a financially support a family after the loss of a loved one.

Learn how crowdfunding for funerals and memorials works and what your options are for setting up a crowdfunding campaign.

In Case You Missed It: Intro to Crowdfunding Webinar Link

unnamedOur Webinar: Intro to Crowdfunding to Raise Money for Memorial Costs and Funeral Funds, had a great turn out!  I’m Sorry to Hear and our partner Deposit a Gift brought you an educational presentation on online fundraising for funerals that involves engaging your social networks to help raise funds for funeral or memorials costs.

If you missed the presentation or would like to watch it again,  we can provide you with a link to the presentation and slide deck to easily view the webinar.  Just send us an e-mail requesting the webinar and/or slide deck.

E-mail: vendors@imsorrytohear.com

Crowdfunding is on the rise  since it makes it easier for families or persons in need to raise money in order to cover the necessary costs for when they die. This new tool in fundraising for funerals and memorials collects money faster, easier, and from a larger audience.

In our fast-moving world, often people have so much already weighing on their mind that the thought of funeral preparation escape them. Many do not even plan ahead or save money for their funerals.  Sadly when the time comes, the families and friends left behind are made not only to carry the burden of grief, but heavy expenses as well. Crowdfunding provides an easy source in covering necessary funeral funds when money is short and time is running out.  A funeral that reflects that life once lived is important. So be sure to check out our webinar presentation if you haven’t so already.


For more information on funeral planning and resources to guide you through planning a funeral, visit the I’m Sorry to Hear article library and Resources to download a Funeral Planning Checklist, review the Casket Guide, find Funeral Planning Tips, and access Funeral Consumer Advocacy links.

A Comparison of Crowdfunding Platforms for Funerals and Memorials

Sample of Crowdfunding CampaignWhether a death is sudden or expected, it is always sad and often stressful pulling together details and finances in a short amount of time. Given that most people do not save for their funeral, those remaining are not only left with grief, but also a lot of expenses. You can solve this by setting up a funeral or memorial fund online.  There are a number of different crowdfunding platforms available to do this.  To learn more on the topic of crowdfunding, read the article: Crowdfunding For Funerals and Memorials.

We’ve partnered with crowdfunding sites, Deposit a Gift and WeCare Card, because we feel they will take extra special care of you.

Deposit A Gift_Logo_FNLDeposit a Gift has the lowest rates out there and gives options to lower the transaction fee by participating in a different pricing tiers ($0 has 4% +cc fee, $49 has 3% + cc, $149 has 2% +cc fee) ]

wecare_card logo

WeCare Card has an 8% flat fee (includes credit card processing fee), but offers a new way to cash-out using a pre-paid debit card in addition to ACH direct-deposit, and check.

 

Both have platforms tailored to fundraising for funeral and memorials, helping set the right tone for your campaign.

We’ve done a good deal of research on this topic and have found and compared a variety of crowdfunding platforms.  What we found is that no matter which way you slice it, you can budget 8% being deducted from the total amount raised or added onto campaign dontations to use one of these services.  It’s your choice whether you want the donors to brunt the cost and pay the 8% on top of their donation, or if you will bare the burden by having it deducted out of the total once the campaign closes – just be sure you pick the right platform for you.

Here is the round-up of all of the crowdfunding sites that we compared:

Name Platform Fee CC Fee Total Fee Who Pays the Fee How to Cash Out When You Can Cash Out Notes
Deposit a Gift 4%* 3.5% 7.5% Comes out of total amount raised Via ACH direct deposit or check Anytime *Also offers the option to raise funds at 3% or 2% if you choose to pay $49 or $149 upfront
WeCare Card 5% 3% 8% Donor Loaded onto Debit Card as funds are donated, or direct deposit or check Anytime
Plumfund 0% 2.8% + $0.30 2.8% + $0.30 per credit/debit card donation Comes out of each donation paid for by credit/debit card Via your WePay or PayPal account Anytime
Funeral Fund 5% 2.9% + $.30/donation 7.9% + $.30 per transaction Donor Via ACH direct deposit or check
Give Forward 5% 2.9% + $.50/donation 7.9% + $.50 per transaction Donor can opt to pay the fee, otherwise the recipient pays it Via check Unclear
Donation To 5%* varies 5%* + CC Fee Donor can opt to pay the fee, otherwise the recipient pays it Via ACH direct deposit or check Anytime *For the Free plan. They also offer monthly plans which eliminate the platform fee while adding the the credit card processing fee to the total amount billed to the donor
GoFundMe 5% 2.9% + $.30/donation 7.9% + $.30 per transaction Comes out of total amount raised Via ACH direct deposit or check Anytime
Fundly 4.90% 3% 7.90% Comes out of total amount raised Via ACH direct deposit or check Unclear

To learn more on the topic of crowdfunding, read the article: Crowdfunding For Funerals and Memorials or visit the Crowdfunding section at I’m Sorry to Hear.


For more information on funeral planning and resources to guide you through planning a funeral, visit the I’m Sorry to Hear article library and Resources to download a Funeral Planning Checklist, review the Casket Guide, find Funeral Planning Tips, and access Funeral Consumer Advocacy links.

Webinar: Intro to Crowdfunding To Raise Money for Funeral Costs and Memorial Funds

Webinar Details

Date: November 19th
Time: 1pm EST

register-now-button

Fundraising Progress BarCrowdfunding is quickly become a new tool in the fundraising toolbox to tap into your network to raise more money, faster, from a larger audience. It is especially effective in times of need, like when someone dies, and the family is unsure how they will cover the funeral expenses.

The vast majority of people do not plan ahead or save for their funeral, so those left behind are not only left with grief, but also a lot of expenses. Whether a death is sudden or expected, it is often stressful trying to pull together the finances in a short amount of time. This can create a push and pull with the funeral home and the family – but what if you could be a resource and show them how they could raise the money to pay for the funeral and alleviate that burden? People are always offering help, and creating a memorial fund makes it easy for people to get involved and offer their support in a constructive way. The funeral home can be the resource that points them in the right direction.

Deposit A Gift_Logo_FNLPlease join us November 19th at 1:00pm EST for a webinar with our partner, Deposit a Gift, a leading fundraising and crowdfunding platform, to learn what it entails and how you can use this tool to be a resource to your customers.

This workshop is designed to give participants an overview of crowdfunding for funerals and memorials, as well as step-by-step direction for how you can take advantage of what a crowdfunding platform has to offer for funeral or memorial funds.

register-now-button

Workshop Leader: Dana Ostomel

Dana headshot with computer_march 2014Dana Ostomel is a marketing and branding expert and the founder and Chief Gifting Officer of Deposit a Gift, the crowdfunding platform that lets you raise money for anything that matters to you. Use it to raise money for any organizational or personal need, from charity to school fundraising, memorial funds, help with medical bills, disaster relief, pet rescue or crowdfunding a personal project or business. Deposit a Gift’s interface is the easiest to use for both campaign organizer and giver, and they offer the lowest fees in the crowdfunding space.

Learn more about their all-in-one platform for donations, sponsorships and ticket sales and start your campaign today: http://www.depositagift.com

Follow Dana and the Deposit a Gift team on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube!


I’m Sorry to Hear is the premier online destination that connects families and funeral professionals.  Complete with funeral planning resources, guides, vendor listings and reviews, families access funeral planning resources quicker so they can connect with the funeral professionals they need.

Getting started is quick, easy, and inexpensive – all funeral homes have a FREE Profile at I’m Sorry to Hear.  If you don’t have a profile yet, visit our Vendor Pagechoose a profile type, and enter your business information to instantly enhance your online presence, reach funeral consumers directly, and market your services directly to the families who are looking for them.

If you already have a profile but need access, just email us to obtain sign-in name and password.

Crowdfunding for Funeral and Memorials

memorial scholarshipWhat is Crowdfunding?

Crowdfunding is a means of fundraising for a particular, product, project, or event.  Many of us are familiar with the crowdfunding site, Kickstarter, which is great for creative and entrepreneurial endeavors, but they don’t do anything for funeral, memorials, or charity events.  However, there are a variety of crowdfunding platforms out there that you can use to fundraise for a funeral, memorial, or even a scholarship fund in the name of your loved one.  We have partnered with crowdfunding platforms Deposit A Gift and WeCare Card due to the unique offer each of them has, and because we think they will take extra special care of you.  See the article, “A Comparison of Crowdfunding Platforms for Funerals and Memorials” for a comparison of other popular platforms.

What Can I Raise Money For?

While it is beneficial to be as transparent as possible with how you will use the funds that you raise, it is up to you to determine if you will specify the expenses you are aiming to cover, or whether you will figure out how to allocate it once all is said and done.

Below are some suggestions for use of funds:

  • Pay for funeral or memorial expenses
  • Residual costs from the death or medical expenses
  • College funds for the children of the deceased
  • Scholarship funds in honor of the deceased – related to a specific hobby, sport, or topic that was important to them
  • Immediate funds to support the dependent family
  • Charity for a cause they cared about
  • A tribute piece like a bench or a plaque

How Can Crowdfunding Be Used to Pay For a Funeral or Memorial?

Creating a crowdfunding campaign for a funeral or memorial works in the exact same way as you would for other projects:

  1. You sign up with a crowdfunding site
  2. Create the campaign
  3. Set a goal
  4. Share it via email and social media with your friends, family, and networks.

However, unlike raising funds for a new company or product, you don’t need to prepare gifts or incentives to encourage people to donate, and depending on the platform you choose, you receive the funds whether or not the goal is hit (see below topic: How Does Crowdfunding Work?).

How and When Do You Receive the Funds That Are Raised?

Depending on the crowdfunding site, you will have the option to “cash out” while the fundraising so, for example you can pay for funeral expenses, or you will have to wait until you hit your goal or the campaign has come to an end to cash out all at once.

Funds are normally transferred to the family via ACH (direct deposit) or check, however new methods are launching to allow for it to be loaded on a pre-paid debit card (see WeCare Card).

How Does Crowdfunding Work?

There are 2 types of crowdfunding campaigns:

  • Flexible Funding” You still set a goal with Flexible Funding, however if the total is not met, the campaign is still funded.  There may be a clause that if you don’t meet your goal, then you will pay a higher fee.  Goals are great motivators and help you & contributors feel good about the campaign’s progress. All of the crowdfunding platforms we list are Flexible Funding platforms.
  •  “All or Nothing” In order to receive any of the funds that were contributed to the campaign, you have to meet your goal; otherwise the funds are returned to the donors. A well known example of this is Kickstarter.

What Are the Costs to Use a Crowdfunding Platform?

Generally there are no upfront costs to setup or administer a campaign. But don’t be mislead – either the donating party pays a fee as they donate or a percentage of the total donations is deducted following the completion of the campaign.

Before you get upset that these websites are taking your money, here’s how it breaks down:

Platform Fee: Generally 2-7%  goes to the crowdfunding company to cover their operational costs.  Remember, they are businesses and in order to build, maintain, and improve the technology, they too need money.

Payment Processing Fee: 2.9%-3.5% goes directly to the payment processing company such as PayPal or WePay to handle the cost of processing the payment.  This is no different than what your credit card company charges the businesses you purchase from when you pay via credit card.

We’ve done a good deal of research on this topic and have found and compared a variety of crowdfunding platforms.  What we found is that no matter which way you slice it, you can budget 8% being deducted fromthe total amount raised or added onto the donation amount to use one of these services.  It’s your choice whether you want the donors to brunt the cost and pay the 8% on top of their donation, or if you will bare the burden by having it deducted out of the total once the campaign closes – just be sure you pick the right platform for you.

To see a comparison of crowdfunding platforms, read our article: A Comparison of Crowdfunding Platform for Funeral and Memorials and visit the Crowdfunding section at I’m Sorry to Hear.


For more information on funeral planning and resources to guide you through planning a funeral, visit the I’m Sorry to Hear article library and Resources to download a Funeral Planning Checklist, review the Casket Guide, find Funeral Planning Tips, and access Funeral Consumer Advocacy links.

Paying For a Funeral: What Do I Do If I Can’t Afford a Funeral?

Money ManPlanning a funeral can get pricey.  The fees for hiring a funeral director, having a service, buying a casket, and anything else you want for your loved ones can add up.  The average funeral in America in 2012 topped $12,000 including cemetery plots and fees.

However, funerals don’t have to to cost that much!  You can have meaningful funerals and memorials at any price point.  Below are some tips to keep funeral costs low as well as alternatives to a “traditional” funerals that will you save money on your own or your loved one’s send off.

Compare Funeral Home Costs

Costs of funerals vary greatly from funeral home to funeral home, even within the same neighborhood or city.  That’s because the cost for funeral home services is not regulated by the government – only the professional license is (in most states). This means that all funeral homes have the ability to set their own prices.

By calling a few (3-5) funeral homes that you are considering and requesting information on their services and pricing, you can cut your funeral costs dramatically.  Be sure to ask for the prices of services à la carte so you can compare apples-to-apples. Keep in mind that the least costly funeral options are direct cremation and immediate burial.

Some local Funeral Consumers Alliances conduct and publish a regional price survey of area funerals home. These prove to be great resources in additional to your own research.

Green/Natural Burials

In past articles we have talked about green burials and how they are able to help the environment.  Green burials are also helpful for your wallet.  By going green you can save yourself from many of the expensive funeral costs.  Two ways to go green and save money when paying for a funeral are:

1. skip embalming

2.  seek a cemetery that doesn’t require use of a burial liner or a burial vault (natural burial grounds are great for this!)

On average if you cut these two expenses you can save around $1,900.  Here is a link to our past blog about green burials.

Body Donation

Body donation is another great way to save money on a funeral.  When you donate your body, the organization you donate your body to absorbs most, if not all, of the costs of donating your body and the subsequent cremation.  There is a a feel good factor as well – by donating your body you are also helping advance medical technology and teach aspiring doctors.  Click the following link if you have more questions about saving costs and saving lives via body donation in lieu of a traditional funeral.

Infant Funerals

In most states, you have the option of caring for your child at home and without the care of a funeral director, which can help reduce funeral costs. If you choose to use the services of a funeral director, know that some locally-owned funeral homes and cemeteries offer burial and cremation services for babies at a discounted price or free of charge. Do not hesitate to inquire with several local funeral homes to see what accommodations they will make. In addition, financial aid assistance is available to those in need and are offered by the following organizations:

The Tears Foundation a nonprofit organization, aims to lift any financial or emotional burdens following the death of a child. They offer free support groups and provides funding for current infant funeral and burial expenses for families in need.

Angel Names Association offers programs designed to ease the financial burden burden following a stillbirth and provides support. The Securing End-of-Life Expenses (SEOLE) program provides needy families assistance with autopsy, funeral, burial and cremation expenses and the Grief Recovery Assistance Program (GRASP) provides funding and assistance to uninsured families seeking counseling services following a stillbirth.
SIDS Foundation, or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Foundation, provides short-term assistance to individuals and families suffering an emergency hardship due to the sudden loss of a child to SIDS.

Veterans Burial Benefits

If you or your loved one is an honorably discharged veteran, you are likely eligible for veteran burial benefits.  These benefits include getting a free burial plot in a national cemetery including opening and closing costs or a burial allowance  to cover funeral costs.  You are also entitled to a burial flag, government headstone,  and a presidential memorial certificate.  Here is a link to an article dedicated to the ins and outs of veteran burial benefits.

Direct Cremation and Immediate Burial

Direct burial and direct cremation can save a ton of money compared to a “traditional” funeral.  Direct cremation saves because you don’t have to pay for expenses like embalming, a viewing, a casket, or a burial plot with opening and closing fees.  You can still have a memorial service for your loved one at the time of cremation or at a later date in a meaningful place for the deceased.

Direct burial saves money by getting rid of the unnecessary cost of embalming, viewing, and time required by the funeral home to host the extra services and viewing.  You may request to have a graveside service hosted by the family, clergy, a celebrant, or the funeral director or host a life celebration for them anywhere else you wish.

The good thing about both options is that you can have a meaningful ceremony that honors the life of the deceased whenever and wherever you want.  Here are the definitions of direct cremation and direct burial courtesy of the I’m Sorry To Hear Glossary.

Home Funeral

You can skip the cost of funeral homes all together by having a home funeral.  To have a home funeral you just need to pay for death certificates, a burial plot, and a casket.  Home funeral guides often operate on a volunteer or donation basis to assist you in preparing and honoring your loved one after they die.  You can find a home funeral guide by visiting the National Home Funeral Alliance website and reading more about home funerals and home funeral guides in our prior article.

Social Assistance Programs or Welfare Funeral Benefits

If the deceased was part of a social assistance or welfare benefit program, there is a good chance that the state they live in also has a program that will help you pay for a funeral.  This is usually called an “indigent burial”.  In this case, the state government will help you pay in full or in part for the funeral.  We compiled a list of known funeral assistance programs in the states that I’m Sorry to Hear covers.

Raise Money for a Funeral With Crowdfunding

A funeral or memorial fund is a personal donation site where people can honor the memory of your loved one with a contribution towards the funeral or memorial expenses. There are a variety of platforms available, like Deposit a Gift and WeCare Card, that allow you to setup a campaign in minutes (see our platform comparison) providing you with a simple link to print in an obituary and share via email or social media. Now when friends and family offer to help, you’ll be ready with a real way to lend a hand. Simply ask them to donate online and help spread the word by sharing the link.

Learn more about crowdfunding for funerals and memorials and compare crowdfunding platforms in these articles on Crowdfunding for Funeral and Memorials.

Payment Plans and Personal Loans For Funerals

In instances where you have exhausted all viable cost-reducing and fundraising options and the funeral costs are still over budget, consult with your funeral home of choice to see whether they offer payment plans. Some funeral homes offer in-house payment plans to spread the cost of the funeral over a longer period of time. Others may partner with a 3rd party finance company to offer financing programs for goods and services rendered.

  • Funeral payment plans are offered at each funeral home’s discretion, may or may not charge interest or a fee for this service, and approval is not guaranteed.
  • Financing from a 3rd party consumer-lender will be dependent on credit worthiness, down payments, and since the loans are generally unsecured loans, higher interest rates are generally charged.

The following are programs we found which offer payment plans or consumer lending programs and work with those in need of funeral financing.*

1. Springleaf Financial: A personal loan from Springleaf Financial can help you get the cash you need quickly by means of secured or unsecured loans. If approved, the funds are distributed directly to the consumer to pay for funeral expenses. You can find a full list of locations here: Springleaf Financial Locations. To apply for a loan, use the button below:

Apply Now for a Personal Loan from Springleaf Financial Services

2. At-Need Credit: At Need Credit offers both a payment plan solution via funeral homes as well as direct-to consumer lending:

  • Simple Funeral Payment Plan – a solution powered by CareCap and offered to funeral homes to help faciliate payment plans between the funeral home and the family. Funeral homes can enroll in this program and offer you payment plans at their discretion. Inquire with your funeral director to see if they are a participating provider.
  • Funeral Pay Plan – a direct-to-consumer lending product structured as an unsecured loan. The FuneralPayPlan (FPP) loan application process is powered by Avant.com. A consumer applies for a loan via Avant.com, and if approved, FuneralPayPlan will have the funds deposited into the consumer’s account for distrubution to the funeral providers.

At Need Credit funeral pay button

*I’m Sorry To Hear does not endorse any financial loan service. If considering a loan as your funeral payment method, we highly recommend researching each company, their processes, rates, and their lending policies thoroughly before making a decision.

Seek Advice from the Funeral Consumer Alliance

Another great resource for navigating the funeral planning process is to contact your local Funeral Consumers Alliance who can give you advice and guidance on individual state laws and assistance available.  As the local experts, they can steer you in the right direction to have a meaningful funeral for yourself or your loved one no matter what your budget is.

Click here to find a Funeral Consumers Alliance Affiliate close to you.

At least one of the above options are available to help you keep funeral costs low and/or pay for the cost of a funeral.  Be sure to explore all options to find the one that best meets your family’s needs and help you avoid an unnecessary financial burden when it comes time to pay for a funeral for yourself or your loved one.


Be sure to use our Funeral Planning ChecklistCasket GuideFuneral Planning TipsFuneral Term Glossary, and Funeral Consumer Advocacy information to assist you during the planning process.