It’s sometimes shocking to realize just how expensive a memorial or funeral service can cost. Aside from learning how to ask for donations for funeral expenses outright, it’s helpful to have some ideas for fundraising or crowdfunding on your own or with others.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Why Collect Money Through Fundraising or Crowdfunding?
- Ideas for Raising Funeral or Memorial Funds Online
- Ideas for Raising Funeral or Memorial Funds With an Event or In-Person Requests
What is crowdfunding? This is when you use a software or online tool to ask for donations for a single cause. Whether you’re hoping to gain money for a memorial fund in someone’s honor or create a touching funeral service, there are a lot of ways to put these fundraisers or crowdfunding efforts to good use.
How do you encourage others to give their money to a cause that matters to you? This is especially difficult when reaching into your greater community to people who might not have known the deceased personally. To start, try these 20+ unique ideas for memorial fundraising or crowdfunding.
If you're interested in other unique ways to honor a loved one, you may consider a custom urn from a store like Foreverence or even have a memorial diamond made from ashes with a company like Eterneva.
Post-loss tip: Raising money to cover expenses or to donate to a charity might be just one of the challenges you're facing for the first time. If you're responsible for more complex tasks, our post-loss checklist can help you sort through it all.
Why Collect Money Through Fundraising or Crowdfunding?
What’s the reason behind collecting money in the first place? There’s no one-size-fits-all. Many people find they have different needs after losing a loved one.
These donations are often collected from family, friends, community members, and even online strangers to serve any number of purposes. Some of the most common reasons are these below:
- Funeral costs: The first and most common reason is to cover the cost of the funeral or memorial service. These can cost thousands of dollars, so this helps reduce the burden on the family.
- Burial or cremation expenses: Similarly, the burial or cremation is also very expensive, ranging between a few hundred or thousands of dollars depending on the individual’s wishes.
- Support the family: If the loss was sudden, the family might be struggling financially. This is especially true if the deceased was a financial provider for the family.
- Charity: It’s common to donate to a charity that mattered to the deceased, and this is a touching tribute.
- Scholarship: The fundraiser might also be used to raise money for a loved one, typically a child, after the passing of a parent. These funds are used for college or other important milestones. If they didn’t have any children, a scholarship might be created in his or her honor.
- Dedication: Lastly, the family might wish to dedicate something (tree, bench, park, etc.) in their loved one’s honor.
Ideas for Raising Funeral or Memorial Funds Online
The easiest way to raise funeral or memorial funds is online. By using an online crowdfunding platform, you can easily collect donations and gifts from the community without having to worry about organizing in-person.
1. Charity auction
An auction is an easy way to raise money quickly, especially online. Local businesses and crafters donate their goods and services to the cause, and these are auctioned off virtually to raise money.
2. Send cards
Another option that’s also simple to organize online is to ask for donations in exchange for cards or other small trinkets. Many people want to know what’s in it for them, so sending something they can hold onto in remembrance is a great way to encourage sign-ups.
3. Text-to-give campaign
When asking for donations, you want to make it as simple as possible to give. A text-to-give software is an easy way to do just that. By texting a certain number, people are prompted to give a specific monetary contribution. It’s that simple.
4. Memorial website
Another option is to put together a memorial website for the cause. Share the life story of the deceased, images, videos, and other tributes that create a meaningful narrative. From there, share what the donation means to you and your family and make it easy to give online.
5. Virtual walk-a-thon
This is a fun way to get a bit more active while also raising money. Hosting a virtual walk-a-thon is when you ask people to pledge money for every mile walked. Then, virtually capture your “race” as you walk to the finish line.
6. Host a digital class
If you or a loved one is an expert, why not host a virtual class to raise money? By sharing your skill digitally, anyone can log in to be a part of it. Charge a reasonable fee or ask for an optional donation to raise the funds you need.
7. T-shirt fundraiser
Another excellent idea is to design a t-shirt that commemorates your family of the life of your loved one. Sell the shirt online to raise funds. If you use an online t-shirt printer, you can usually keep a percentage of the profits from each sale.
8. Choose a worthy cause
If you’re raising money for a charity, share your loved one’s story alongside the charity’s story. Maybe they loved animals, or they always wanted to volunteer with children. Ask for donations to make a gift in honor of your loved one.
9. Virtual dinner
We all love to come together over a common cause, so why not offer a way for people to get together virtually? Host a digital dinner party for a small fee, and go all out to make it special. Share some of your family’s favorite recipes for everyone to make on the big day.
10. Chat room or Zoom call
Last but not least, simple is sometimes best when it comes to raising money. If you have friends and family to call upon, odds are they’re looking forward to helping you. In exchange for a small memorial gift, share a private chat room or Zoom call with your loved ones.
Ideas for Raising Funeral or Memorial Funds With an Event or In-Person Requests
While a digital event is a flexible, easy idea, don’t limit yourself to raising money online. There are a lot of great in-person events that can be equally worthwhile.
11. Bake sale
Don’t underestimate the power of yummy baked treats! If you or a loved one has a passion for baking, create some baked goods for your local event or farmers market. Put all of the funds towards your memorial needs.
12. Volunteer day
If you’d rather people donate their time rather than money, a volunteer day is a wonderful idea. Invite friends and family who would rather give their time over money to join you for a day of giving back with a local charity.
13. Garage sale
One easy way to raise money that won’t break the bank is a garage sale. You can do this at your house easily. Ask friends and family to bring some things they no longer need and see how much you make in just a few hours.
14. Penny parade
Though it might seem strange to specifically ask people to donate their change, you’d be surprised just how much everyone has laying around their homes. Asking for donations in the form of pennies (or any change) can really add up, plus it’s a lot of fun during the big reveal.
15. Tree planting
The environment really brings people together for a shared cause even beyond your own personal network. Invite members of the community to join you for a tree planting day at your local park. While there, encourage donations to your cause.
16. In-person class
Again, if a loved one knows a special skill, offer an inexpensive in-person class. For example, you could teach yoga in the park in exchange for a small donation. This is not only a great way to get together, but you’re sure to generate a lot of awareness.
17. Movie night
Another inexpensive idea is to host a movie night. All you need is a projector and a streaming service or DVD. Charge a small fee to join and make sure you have plenty of snacks and drinks for sale.
18. Clothing swap
We all likely have clothes in our home that we no longer wear. Host an event for people to shop each other’s closets. For just a small donation, you can easily create a space for swapping fashion.
19. Coffee donations
If you know a few local coffee shops, you might be able to raise a bit of cash quickly with a donation jar. Ask the shop if it’s okay for you to leave a donation jar somewhere visible. Many small businesses are looking for ways to give back, so this is an easy way to come together in your community.
20. Community fun day
Last but not least, plan a day of community fun as a way to raise money. By bringing services and businesses in your community out to a public space in exchange for a donation, you can easily earn a pretty penny in just a few hours. Just be sure to check with local permits before you start.
Raise Memorial Funds Fast
While there are many charities that help with funeral costs, it’s sometimes helpful to know how to take matters into your own hands. Whether you’re donating to a charity in your loved one’s honor or planning an expensive funeral, raising a memorial fund can be a good way to reduce this burden from falling on the shoulders of the family.
You don’t have to go all-out to do something awe-inspiring. From digital to in-person options, the opportunities are endless when it comes to drawing upon the help of others. Which of these memorial fundraising or crowdsourcing ideas stand out to you?
If you're looking for more ideas, read our tips on how to have a low-cost funeral or memorial service.