Until you experience the death of someone close to you, it’s hard to understand just how expensive dying can be. According to most estimates, the average cost of a funeral today is somewhere between $7,000 and $10,000. That’s average cost. Depending on the burial options you choose, you may end up spending less, or much more.
To make things worse, funeral expenses often come on top of medical bills and other costs relating to illness or emergency. So it’s not hard to understand why people are turning to alternative sources for funeral funding. One such method that is increasing in popularity is funeral crowdfunding.
What is funeral crowdfunding?
Crowdfunding (also called crowdsourcing) is a way to raise money by requesting donations from the general public. In other words, many people contribute small amounts of money toward a designated cause or business venture. Crowdfunding really doesn’t have to be done on the Internet, but using online tools makes it easier to spread the word and handle payments.
Today, people use crowdfunding to set up campaigns to generate money for all sorts of causes. Paying for funerals is just one of these.
How does funeral crowdfunding work?
There are many websites that will allow you to set up a funeral fundraising campaign with new sites appearing every day. Your options range from specialized sites dedicated to funeral and memorial financing such as Funeralfund.com and Deposit A Gift to large, general sites that raise money for everything from hospital bills to home repair.
One of the newest entries to the crowdfunding for funerals marketplace is fundthefuneral.com. This site was designed to be used by funeral directors to help their customers pay for funeral expenses. The funds generated go directly to the funeral home.
GoFundMe.com is probably the best known of the general crowdfunding sites, but there are many others such as Youcaring.com and Crowdrise.com. Each of these sites has unique characteristics but the steps to set up a donation page are basically the same.
- Register with the site.
- Create a description of your campaign and upload photos.
- Set a time period and goals for your campaign.
- Provide bank information so that you can receive the payments.
If you know what you’d like to say about your campaign, you can have it up and running in just minutes.
Keep in mind that even the most altruistic sites have to generate income in order to stay in business. In all cases, you will have to cover credit card fees for the donations. The site may offer the person donating the chance to pay the fee or it may deduct it from the donation. Credit card fees can vary, but most charge around 3%. Many sites also charge a per transaction fee on credit cards along with a processing fee is required. GoFundMe, for example, assesses 5% of each donation in addition to the percentage for handling payment. In general, you can expect that at least 7% of each donation will go toward fees.
Is funeral crowdfunding right for me?
Using a crowdfunding site to defray funeral expenses can be a quick and effective way to generate money. This is especially true if the death is unexpected and no money has been set aside for this purpose. It is easy to spread the word on social media and by email and you can get a quick turnaround on the payout. Just one quick search on GoFundMe using the term “funeral” yields thousands of results. Many of these have met or exceeded their goals.
To ensure your campaign is a success, you’ll need to set aside some time to set it up properly and communicate it. The best campaigns are well written and tell a personal story. Most of your contributions will come from friends, family, and others who have a personal connection with the deceased. You will need to make sure they are aware of your effort. Social media, emails, and letters can all be used to let people know you need help.
Contributions are not tax-deductible to the donors. Instead, contributions will most likely be viewed as gifts for tax purposes. As such, large single donations could have gift tax consequences for the donor if they exceed the annual exclusion amount. See the IRS website for more information on gift taxes.
Because everyone’s circumstances are unique, only you will be able to decide if raising funeral funds through a crowdfunding campaign is right for you. With a little research, a well-formulated campaign, and a concerted effort to spread the word, it is likely that you will be able to raise at least some portion of the money needed for creating a special funeral or memorial for someone you care about.