What is Crowdfunding?
Crowdfunding is a means of fundraising for a particular, product, project, or event. Many of us are familiar with the crowdfunding site, Kickstarter, which is great for creative and entrepreneurial endeavors, but they don’t do anything for funeral, memorials, or charity events. However, there are a variety of crowdfunding platforms out there that you can use to fundraise for a funeral, memorial, or even a scholarship fund in the name of your loved one.
See the article, "A Comparison of Crowdfunding Platforms for Funerals and Memorials" for a comparison of crowdfunding platforms.
What Can I Raise Money For?
While it is beneficial to be as transparent as possible with how you will use the funds that you raise, it is up to you to determine if you will specify the expenses you are aiming to cover, or whether you will figure out how to allocate it once all is said and done. Below are some suggestions for use of funds:
Pay for funeral or memorial expenses
Residual costs from the death or medical expenses
College funds for the children of the deceased
Scholarship funds in honor of the deceased – related to a specific hobby, sport, or topic that was important to them
Immediate funds to support the dependent family
Charity for a cause they cared about
A tribute piece like a bench or a plaque
How Can Crowdfunding Be Used to Pay For a Funeral or Memorial?
Creating a crowdfunding campaign for a funeral or memorial works in the exact same way as you would for other projects:
You sign up with a crowdfunding site
Create the campaign
Set a goal
Share it via email and social media with your friends, family, and networks.
However, unlike raising funds for a new company or product, you don’t need to prepare gifts or incentives to encourage people to donate, and depending on the platform you choose, you receive the funds whether or not the goal is hit (see below topic: How Does Crowdfunding Work?).
How and When Do You Receive the Funds That Are Raised?
Depending on the crowdfunding site, you will have the option to “cash out” while the fundraising so, for example you can pay for funeral expenses, or you will have to wait until you hit your goal or the campaign has come to an end to cash out all at once. Funds are normally transferred to the family via ACH (direct deposit) or check, however new methods are launching to allow for it to be loaded on a pre-paid debit card (see WeCare Card).
How Does Crowdfunding Work?
There are 2 types of crowdfunding campaigns:
“Flexible Funding” You still set a goal with Flexible Funding, however if the total is not met, the campaign is still funded. There may be a clause that if you don’t meet your goal, then you will pay a higher fee. Goals are great motivators and help you & contributors feel good about the campaign’s progress. All of the crowdfunding platforms we list are Flexible Funding platforms.
“All or Nothing” In order to receive any of the funds that were contributed to the campaign, you have to meet your goal; otherwise the funds are returned to the donors. A well known example of this is Kickstarter.
What Are the Costs to Use a Crowdfunding Platform?
Generally there are no upfront costs to setup or administer a campaign. But don’t be mislead - either the donating party pays a fee as they donate or a percentage of the total donations is deducted following the completion of the campaign. Before you get upset that these websites are taking your money, here’s how it breaks down:
Generally 2-7% goes to the crowdfunding company to cover their operational costs. Remember, they are businesses and in order to build, maintain, and improve the technology, they need money, too.
Payment Processing Fee:
2.9%-3.5% goes directly to the payment processing company such as PayPal or WePay to handle the cost of processing the payment. This is no different than what your credit card company charges the businesses you purchase from when you pay via credit card.
We’ve compared a variety of crowdfunding platforms. What we found is that no matter which way you slice it, you can budget 8% being deducted from the total amount raised or added onto the donation amount to use one of these services. It’s your choice whether you want the donors to brunt the cost and pay the 8% on top of their donation, or if you will bare the burden by having it deducted out of the total once the campaign closes – just be sure you pick the right platform for you.
To see a comparison of crowdfunding platforms, read: A Comparison of Crowdfunding Platform for Funeral and Memorials.
Photo Credit: Media24by7