Struggling families use crowd-funding to finance funerals

Struggling families use crowd-funding to finance funerals

Crowd-funding is now being used to generate funds to pay for funerals which can cost up to $10,000 for a standard ceremony.

Traditionally the capital-generating method has been used by small businesses and entrepreneurs to raise funds for a specific project from numerous parties.

Some businesses have sold small portions of their assets to multiple funders as an incentive for investors to get involved.

But for most crowd-funding projects, the benefit to the creditor is knowing they have contributed to helping a company or person achieve a meaningful goal.

The benefit to those supporting a family’s funeral costs might simply be peace of mind that they are helping people at a difficult and desperate time.

There are now several crowd-funding platforms, including  Giveforward, DonationTo, and Graceful Goodbye, which offer people the chance to ask potential givers for support.

Graceful Goodbye is a crowd-funding site dedicated to remembering loved ones – and helping to create a ‘memorial fundraiser’.

Founded by Josh McClung, a finance expert from Chicago who has formerly worked at Lehman Brothers, Morgan Stanley, KarpReilly, says he came up with the idea for the funding page after seeing the Sandy Hook elementary school shootings unfurl on TV.

‘This unfathomable event coupled with having recently learned about the exorbitant expenses associated with funerals got me thinking about the importance of community and ways in which to help families cope with this financial burden,’ he says on his page.

‘I wondered, “how do families pay for funerals, when they cost on average $10,000?” In search of the answer, I reached out to funeral directors, friends, and families who had lost loved ones.

‘I heard incredible stories and discovered just how common it is for families to struggle with the financial burden of saying goodbye. It just didn’t seem right. Through these conversations and my commitment to make things a little easier, Graceful Goodbye was born.’

Graceful Goodbye is a crowd-funding site dedicated to remembering loved ones - and helping to create a 'memorial fundraiser'

Graceful Goodbye is a crowd-funding site dedicated to remembering loved ones – and helping to create a ‘memorial fundraiser’

 

On his site, people can not only raise the funds they need, but also use it as a hub to share memories of loved ones who have passed away.

Vice.com has raises some interesting points on the novel funeral-fundraising method. The magazine points out that funerals needn’t cost quite so much, if cheaper options are chosen.

The $10,000 quoted by Mr McClung would, on average, include the body being embalmed, rested in a lined casket, placed in a room for people to visit, a ceremony at a funeral home, driven to the cemetery in a hearse, lowered into the ground and buried, with some flowers placed at the headstone.

Funeral directors get around $6,600 of that, and the rest goes to the cemetery, according to vice.

Mr McClung, on his Graceful Goodbye website, points out that he takes 4 per cent for every dollar raised.

Mike Pearl, of Vice.com writes: ‘I’m not saying there’s anything inherently wrong with this. Just that, personally, I didn’t have any potentially profitable ideas when I was reading the news about Sandy Hook, but that’s my problem, not Josh McClung’s.’

Other sites are general crowd-funding platforms, which also include appeals from families to raise funds to cover pricey and unplanned for funeral costs.

While Giveforward started out as a fund-generating site for Americans who could not afford costly medical bills, particularly for those with chronic or terminal diseases.

The site founders realised adding a funeral crowd-funding platform was a logical step for the struggling families.

 

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