It is a story that is all too familiar to funeral professionals – a family experiences the tragic and unexpected death of a loved one. Your funeral home may reduce the cost or even donate services to the family, but still needs to cover cash advance items like the obituary placement, cemetery open and close, death certificate filing and more. In an effort to help the family cover those costs, a friend or relative sets up a fundraiser using a popular online fundraising platform.
What begins as an innocent attempt to help this family in their time of need inadvertently sheds a negative light on the funeral home, making it look as if the funeral home is not willing to help this family unless they get paid. The reality is that the funeral home already donated services and paid for the funeral, but the messaging doesn’t reflect this. “When a community is coming together to help a family, that’s good. When they are coming together to pay a funeral bill, that’s bad,” shared Jimmy Altmeyer, President of Altmeyer Funeral Home and Founder of Treasured Memories.
Stories like this motivated Altmeyer’s team to create Treasured Memories Community Funding (TMCFunding), an online fundraising platform created for funeral professionals, by funeral professionals. Funeral homes now have the ability to secure funds for families in need and serve their community, all while controlling the story and creating positive messaging for their firm.
Community funding not only helps a family pay for their loved one’s funeral, it can also help raise money for memorial donations, charitable events, sponsorships and other community donations. “When we built the site, I thought it was mostly for families in need,” explained Altmeyer. “What I actually found out is that only 30% of the fundraisers are for families in need. The other 70% of the funds raised are for successful community outreach.”
Crowdfunding can help funeral providers with all types of fundraisers:
- Family Support - Raise funds for families in need of assistance with a funeral bill and other unexpected expenses.
- Memorial Donations - Raise funds for charities and organizations in someone’s name or support a family in need.
- Charitable Events - Raise funds for a specific event happening in your community.
- Community Fundraisers - Raise funds for a local organization in need of support.
- Support for Veterans - Raise funds for Veterans’ medical assistance, housing or other necessities.
- Loving Pets and Animals - Raise funds for furry friends in need of medical assistance, shelter and other efforts.
Crowdfunding solutions open a door for many funeral homes to increase awareness and publicity in their communities. When a fundraiser is created, the funeral home has the opportunity to tell the family or organizer’s story about why funds are being raised. Both the family and funeral home can begin sharing the fundraiser on social media and generating interest in the community. Once the fundraiser is complete, the family and funeral home can present a check to the recipient, take a photo and share it on social media again.
"Treasured Memories Community Funding has helped us build relationships in our community and given us some great opportunities to show how families can create an impact on charities in their loved one's name," shared Craig Roe, Vice President and General Manager for Michigan Memorial Funeral Home in Flat Rock, MI.
The increased publicity for the funeral home can also lead to increased at-need market share. In addition, it presents opportunities to follow up with the charitable organizations for future community engagement and outreach events, which – if implemented properly – has the potential to create a cycle of education, community involvement and positive attention for your funeral home.
For more information about community funding and how to increase involvement in your community, contact your Homesteaders Account Executive.