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Things we can learn from crowdfunded funerals

by | Sep 19, 2016 | Funeral Payment Options

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Crowdfunded funerals continue to rise. So much so that it can’t be ignored as just a fad.

As crowdfunding continues to grow, it’s important to look at what we can learn from it. So what are some takeaways from the rise of crowdfunded funerals?

Crowdfunding a Funeral Isn’t New

The first modern concepts of crowdfunding launched more than a decade ago and have steadily gained traction. It first started as a way for artists or entrepreneurs to raise funds to back their ideas.

By 2009, crowdfunding was a $1.5 billion business and several new websites dedicated to crowdfunding popped up. In 2015, crowdfunding exploded into a $34.4 billion business.

Since 2009, crowdfunding has made its way into the realm of funerals. Right now there are more than 90,000 crowdfunded funerals across various platforms.

But the idea of crowdfunding a funeral or memorial actually goes back quite a bit. The first recorded crowdfunded memorial was in 1885 for President Ulysses S. Grant and his memorial tomb.

Americans Are Really Comfortable with Crowdfunding Funerals

The Giving USA Foundation found that in 2015, Americans made more charitable donations than ever before — with donations totaling more than $373.25 billion.

A study conducted by the Pew Research Center found that in 2015, one out of every five Americans donated to a crowdfunding campaign. And they weren’t just donating to entrepreneurial ideas or fancy new products — the most popular category for donating was helping individuals in need.

We also looked at data from our Tribute Pay’s crowdfunding feature and found that out of all the people donating, women were the most generous when it came to making a donation to a funeral fund.

Crowdfunding Helps with the Unexpected

While life insurance and preplanning a funeral are great ways to plan for funeral expenses, not everyone can afford that luxury. After the recession, many Americans don’t have enough savings to cover an immediate $1,000 expense.

But death can come when we least expect it. According to the CDC, accidental deaths are the fourth-leading cause of death in America, and suicide is the 10th. For those between the ages of 15 and 24, suicide is the second-leading cause of death.

So even with the best of intentions, we can’t predict death. Crowdfunding has proven itself time and time again as a powerful way for communities to aid a family faced with unexpected loss.

Crowdfunding Unites Us in the Wake of Tragedy

Here are few recent tragedies that were aided by crowdfunding and communities:

  • Just one day after the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, more than $4 million was raised to support the victims and their families.
  • More than $225,000 was raised to support the funeral and family of a Dallas police officer killed after the deadly shootings in Dallas.
  • More than $9,000 was raised for a young West Virginia boy’s funeral costs after he accidentally drowned.

In the wake of unimaginable tragedies, crowdfunding can be a light in those dark moments.

Crowdfunding Forces Us to Confront Death

It’s no secret we avoid discussing death. It makes many people uncomfortable. But by viewing and donating to a funeral crowdfunding campaign — especially when the death is unexpected — we are forced to think about death. In turn, we may start to realize the importance of being prepared and planning on how to pay for our own funerals.

Crowdfunding shows no signs of slowing down. That’s why we need to understand the factors behind it and the lessons we can learn from it. The more your funeral home knows about crowdfunding, the more you can make it work for you.


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