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Charities urged to update funeral support in line with Covid-19 restrictions

Charities urged to update funeral support in line with Covid-19 restrictions

With Covid-19 restrictions impacting funerals, Legacy Foresight is urging charities to update their funeral support.

In-memory motivated giving is worth around £2.2bn a year to UK charities, while funeral collections account for half of all donations and a third of the total value of gifts made in-memory. However, this year’s restrictions mean many people have been unable to attend funerals or give their loved ones the send-off they would want for them. As a result, Legacy Foresight is predicting that there could be a wave of ‘compensatory’ memorial events in spring/summer next year or as soon as restrictions are lifted.

To assess the information offered to supporters around funeral giving during the pandemic, it has reviewed the websites of 40 charities and hospices.

Research findings

  • Two thirds of charities made no acknowledgement of the coronavirus pandemic to their bereaved supporters, how difficult this might be for them and how the restrictions might be affecting their needs
  • Only 10% signposted supporters to the latest Government guidelines on planning and attending a funeral – including up-to-date news on restrictions
  • Just one charity offered to support the donor with any future/‘compensatory’ memorial event that they might be considering for a later date
  • Less than two-thirds of charities offered supporters an online collection page as an alternative to a physical collection at the funeral – focusing instead on methods that are (at least temporarily) redundant, such as collection envelopes

Advice for charities

Legacy Foresight notes that since lockdown began, many funeral directors have been proactive in offering families the option of an online funeral notice, allowing them to collect donations. Online platforms like tribute fund pages are also increasingly being sought out to memorialise loved ones and donate in their name.

It is urging charities to ensure they are also offering support, such as offering an actual presence – or charity collateral – on the day itself for those planning future memorials, and offering fundraising platforms to help celebrate, memorialise and fundraise in memory of the loved one, if they were a supporter.

Kate Jenkinson, head of in-memory consultancy at Legacy Foresight, said:

“Charities have an unprecedented opportunity to support families who are planning memorials for their loved ones, but they urgently need to make their information about funerals more agile and responsive to the times. Offering dynamic and reliable information around funeral giving – including relevant donation options – is one of the best ways charities can help those who come forward in memory of a loved one. It should be a core part of their overall strategy of support in these times.”

Jonathan Davies, Trustee of MuchLoved, added:

“Commemorative postings on MuchLoved tribute pages have more than doubled since Covid-19 started as bereaved families suffering severe funeral restrictions look for ways to grieve and share memories. With cash or cheque collections often not possible, online donations on the pages have also doubled, showing the continuing desire to support charities in response to a death. With the ongoing impact of Covid-19, we believe there is a particular need and opportunity for charities at this time to reach out to their supporters to provide information and assistance with bereavement, both at the time of the funeral and in supporting them afterwards.”

 

Melanie May is a journalist and copywriter specialising in writing both for and about the charity and marketing services sectors since 2001. She can be reached via www.thepurplepim.com.

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