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How do you pay for a funeral with no money?

After a loved one passes away, family and friends are often left to pay the funeral bill, which can be costly. Added to the high cost of burial (which can include embalming, casket, hearse, cemetery, headstone, and other costs) is the emotional difficulty of asking friends and family to help out with expenses. Facing these expenses is usually the last thing we want to think about in the aftermath of a loss.

Start a funeral fundraiser

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Raise the funds you need to honor your loved one

Crowdfunding has become a proven and popular way to raise funds for funerals from family and friends who knew the deceased and want to help pay for funeral expenses. We’ve seen many families raise the funds they need on GoFundMe. You’ll find that people are often glad to be able to help in a concrete way. Beyond raising money, your crowdfunding campaign can also give family and friends a place to post loving words and remembrances.

  • Funeral services can help family and friends share memories and honor the deceased.
  • According to Funeral Tips, a traditional funeral service costs an average of $8,000 to $10,000.
  • The National Funeral Directors Association projects that the cost of a funeral service will increase by 71% by 2030.

Four funeral fundraising ideas

1. Benefit sports tournament



One way to honor a loved one while raising funds is to hold a benefit tournament playing your loved one’s favorite sport.

  • Parks and community centers can make good venues, and the space is usually free or inexpensive to reserve.
  • Whatever the sport, organize small games (perhaps four-on-four), so many people can participate at once.
  • Have participants pay for their spot on a team by making a donation to your GoFundMe fundraiser.

  • Bring a phone or tablet to the event so people can donate at the event.
man cooking

2. Restaurant fundraiser and storytelling night



Partner with a restaurant to raise funds for your loved one’s funeral.

  • Ask the restaurant to donate a small percentage of sales from a given night.
  • The event brings in new customers, and by giving back the restaurant gains a halo effect in the community.
  • Invite family, friends, and community members to participate in a night of good food and good company that will raise funds for your loved one’s funeral expenses and help others share their memories.

  • You can even turn the event into a storytelling night, where family and friends tell their favorite stories about the departed.
little girl painting

3. Community mural project



If your loved one was an integral member of the community, look into creating a public mural on a wall donated by a local business or civic institution. For a less public celebration, you can create a portable mural on canvas. Public parks, fields, or community centers can be good locations.

  • Provide paints, tiles, and brushes, or ask art stores to donate supplies.
  • Ask for donations to your fundraiser. (Again, bring a phone or tablet so people can donate.)
  • Once the mural is finished, raffle it off as a prize, or ask the city to display it to honor your loved one for years to come.

women in a group

4. Healing together

 with a ritual

Mourning is a process that involves healing on many levels–both individually and collectively. One way to encourage healing is to through an event where family and friends participate in a healing ritual.

  • You might decide to make a community quilt, create a scrapbook of memories, read poetry, sing in a circle, or plant a tree.
  • If you’d like, offer participants food and drinks.
  • Before the event begins, ask for donations to your fundraiser.

Set up your funeral fundraiser

Start by setting up the funeral fundraiser on GoFundMe, and include the name of the deceased in the title. Add pictures and a description. Share the fundraiser with family and close friends first; once you’ve received donations from them, share the link more widely on social media. You can also explore our fundraising tips page for more strategies to ensure that your fundraiser is a success. Funerals bring people together to mourn, celebrate, and heal. Although the expense can be high, crowdfunding is a proven way to raise the funds you need while bringing people together in the name of your loved one. If you haven’t already started a funeral fundraiser, start your campaign today.

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