We started looking at InMemory in 2015 because we found we were wasting lots of time each month logging, processing and banking donations that came through for the funerals we undertake. As we continue to grow, even though we only have two offices and undertake circa 200 funerals per year, we realised this was not a situation that was going to improve. In the end, we worked out that we actually spent about 12-13 man weeks a year processing donations and that’s what motivated us to consider InMemory. At the same time, I had also just created a new website and was looking for ways increase traffic and awareness of our services.
Whenever I walk into our town centre, I see first-hand the ‘Smartphone Society’ as more people are increasingly using phones and tablets to pay for things online or in person, rather than cash or cheque. So it made perfect sense to make it as easy as possible for everyone to donate, by going through our website and donating by card whilst at the same time increasing awareness of our services. Plus, as cheques are slowly phased out in the next year or two we needed to provide another option for our donators. We also had read about how these online systems helped to add more Gift Aid and despite our best efforts it was rare that donor added Gift Aid.
I really like the ‘InMemory’ donation system, it is really easy to learn and use and uniquely the system allows us to manage every type of donation; cash, cheque and card, easily and with minimum input. It sits in my website and looks exactly like one of my pages – so it’s our service which creates a seamless journey for the donor and I retain complete control of the admin end. I also love the fact that I don’t have to worry about backing up my system as that’s all managed within the service.
I used to acknowledge every donation by post but stopped because of primarily the time but also the cost – now it’s automatic, every online donation instantly receives a personalised acknowledgment from me which I think enhances our service and costs nothing in terms of time or money.
Using the system, each donation page takes around 4-5 minutes to set up and provides relevant information for any of the deceased family and friends – biography, photos, charity details, funeral service information and messages of condolence. It even means that anyone abroad or who is unable to attend can easily be involved too. One of the best bits of functionality is that Gift Aid is added to each donation by simply checking a box – no more filling out and signing forms – so the total raised for each charity increases instantly by 25%!
Although calculating and banking the donations was one person’s responsibility, we have found that by freeing up their time and removing the admin burden, we were able to leverage that extra time to grow the business. We now also have full traceability for all the money that comes through the business which gives us huge peace of mind. Since we launched the ‘InMemory’ system in late October 2015 we have processed 1,015 donations, (we get a detailed report annually showing us the overall picture). In 2016 we managed to get 57% of those donations online and this number is increasing every day. Of those donating online 485 (82.2%) added Gift Aid, whereas just 10 cheque donors added Gift Aid! This meant I achieved my objectives in that my administration burden has decreased whilst seeing ever more traffic through my website.
By being pro-active within our community and offering this extra service, we have also found that this is helping to raise awareness of our services locally and it has definitely helped our business to continue to grow (and we have the time to deal with that growth).
Lastly, we really like the fact that nothing is deducted from any donation; the £6 charge per funeral is small given the quality of the software and we even choose to absorb the card processing fees, as we were saving so much time ourselves. So every last penny goes direct to the charities – many of which are local and our families raise the absolute maximum in memory of their loved ones.