Moving more of your donations online benefits the funeral director, the charities receiving funds and the family.
For the funeral director, it drives donors (most of whom will live within your trading area) to your website, whilst at the same time significantly reducing the administration required. For the charity, it increases the funds raised as a majority of donors will claim Gift Aid, (which enables the charity to reclaim an extra 25% on the funds raised) and also enables people of all ages and in all locations to donate. For the family, it provides a facility for donors to pass on personal messages of condolence.
We have many years of experience managing thousands of donations and in the process, have learned a great deal about the practices that lead to an increased percentage of online donations:
When making the funeral arrangements
It is important to explain the benefits of donating online to your customers so they can tell friends and family that they can donate online and pass on the details. We appreciate you have a lot to cover, so have created a document that explains the service and its benefits. It’s a Word document that you can personalise for your requirements and give to families at the arrangement.
When placing an obituary notice in a Reach publication
When you place a notice in a Reach newspaper the same notice is shown on their funeral-notices.co.uk website, which is the largest portal of its kind in the UK with over 1 million visitors each month.
As an InMemory customer, you can link a donation profile for a deceased person to the notice on funeral-notices.co.uk. Donations made on either your website or funeral-notices.co.uk will be deposited into your charities account and the total shown on both sites will be the same, so viewers of the funeral notice can donate directly to your collection. Linking the notice to the donation profile takes a single click when making the booking and our clients are finding that they get more donations earlier in the process through this channel.
Non InMemory users
When placing a notice, you will be offered the option to raise funds in memory, which can be for any registered charity in the UK or for any good cause the family have chosen. We handle all the administration for you and send a report to the charity when we send them the funds raised. We also send you a report showing how much was raised so you can pass this on to your customer.
When placing a notice, many funeral directors use standard wording at the end of the text such as “donations in lieu if so desired to XYZ Funeral Directors…” followed by their postal address. A simple change to this standard wording to something like “Donations in lieu can be made at www.yourwebsite.co.uk or to XYZ Funeral Directors at 1 High St…” or “Donations in lieu via funeral-notices.co.uk or to XYZ Funeral Directors at 1 High St…” will result in more traffic to your website, more donations being made online and less administration for you.
In the service sheet
Typically, the last page of the service sheet also has a block of text similar to the wording used at the end of the notice. Updating this text to direct mourners to your website or funeral-notices.co.uk will further boost online donations and reduce administration.
The person most like to affect donors’ behaviour is the service officiant. Many of the people who donate will have attended a service and the officiant will have their full attention. It therefore makes sense to tell the officiant when confirming the booking who donations are for, as well as asking them to direct mourners to donate online so they can add Gift Aid and leave a personal message for the family. This is especially valuable as many donations are now made from mobile devices, so mourners can make their donation before they leave the service. Our customers have found wording similar to the following to be very effective:
“Bill’s family are collecting donations for XYZ charity. A collection will be made however the family would prefer donations to be made via the funeral director’s website so the charity can recover Gift Aid on the money you give, which boosts the total raised by up to 25%. You will also be able to leave a personal message for Bill’s family when making your donation.”
A quote from one of our customers demonstrates how well this approach can work: “I asked the officiant to tell people about the online donation option during the service. My phone is set to give me a notification every time a donation is made, and while in the superintendent’s office during the ceremony at my local crem, my phone started pinging. I checked my phone and saw that all the donations being made were for the service currently underway!”
The announcements section on your website will soon become your most visited page as locals get to know where to look and this will naturally lead them to consider donating online. It does take time to break habits, but in our experience most people are receptive to donating online if they know there is an option; aside from all the benefits of simplicity and Gift Aid, it also means they don’t have to search high and low for their cheque book!
We hope the ideas and suggestions above will help you to drive more donations online and start to save you time. Good luck and if you find any other ways that work for you, please let us know and we will share it!