How to Set up a Meaningful Memorial Fund: Pay Tribute to Your Loved One


by Jenna



In the days after a loved one has passed away, it can feel impossible to find the strength to plan a funeral or memorial. And when sorting through the details of choosing a location and deciding on burial arrangements, the added stress of coming up with the necessary money can seem insurmountable.


The average cost of a funeral runs between $6,000 to $8,500, and that’s not including food and drink for guests, or other personalized details. With the average American stowing away less than $1,000 in their savings account, planning an $8,000 funeral can be a financial blow.


We know it’s important to provide a funeral service or special memorial tribute that honors and preserves your loved one’s memory in just the right way. Crowdfunding for funeral costs can eliminate financial stress and allow you to do just that.

Receive Help with Memorial Costs While Honoring Their Legacy


Asking for help is never easy, and it can be especially difficult when coping with the death of a loved one. Starting a memorial fund keeps sharing costs with others simple, and can easily become more than just a fundraiser. A memorial fundraiser provides a central place for others to offer condolences and come together to reflect on your loved one’s life through photos and written memories. Here are some other benefits:


  • A memorial fund gives direction: Friends and family members often feel helpless during this kind of tragedy. They may even feel embarrassed reaching out to you and to ask what they can do. A memorial campaign closes the gap between you and your social network and allows others to seamlessly support you.
  • A memorial fund makes sharing costs easy: Reaching out to others to ask for financial support can be time consuming and may feel awkward. With a memorial campaign, you can share your campaign link on social media, or ask a designated person to share it with your network. It’s a low-pressure way for others to donate what they can when they’re able to.
  • A memorial fund is an information hub: You can easily post updates on your campaign to keep everyone in the loop on funeral or memorial service times, or other memorial events you have planned.
  • A memorial fund makes it simple to thank supporters: You can send individual thank-yous to your donors, or send a group thank-you to everyone within minutes in the form of an update to all contributors to the memorial fund.


A Memorial Campaign For Every Need


Photo by Don LaVange

Whether you’d like to commemorate your loved one with a memorial bench or tree, or you have upcoming funeral expenses due to a sudden, tragic accident, GoFundMe can help. Take a look at some of the different types of memorial funds that are created on our site every day for different needs:


1. A Fund for End-of-Life Costs


End-of-life and palliative care can be expensive. One study shows that nearly 10 percent of a household’s income was spent on medical needs in cases where one family member required extensive medical care.


Many families choose to pool their resources and share the burden of medical and hospice expenses. Here’s just one GoFundMe campaign in which a family raised over $40,000 to cover end-of-life expenses.


2. A Fund for a Memorial Landmark


Commemorating a loved one with a permanent fixture in the community, like a park bench, public plaque, or tree, serves as a celebration of this person’s life, and is becoming a more frequent choice in lieu of a traditional funeral service.


3. Funeral and Burial Expenses


Funeral home fees. Caskets. Flowers. Funeral costs can really add up quickly, and the average American doesn’t have funds earmarked to cover them. A run-of-the-mill casket, for example, costs over $2,000, though it can run as high as $10,000. More and more friends and families are turning to crowdfunding to help share the various expenses. That’s exactly what this family did when their mother passed away, and they wanted to give her the type of end-of-life celebration she had talked about.


4. Scholarship or Education Fund


Some people start a scholarship or education fundraiser to commemorate a cause their loved one strongly believed in. Others start a fundraiser when their loved one’s life is suddenly taken away and there is a gap in monthly income. In this case, the Campaign Organizer started a campaign to raise funds for the college education of two children whose father tragically passed away. They ended up raising over $400,000 for the family.


5. Travel Expenses to the Funeral or Memorial


People frequently find that their loved ones are hundreds or even thousands of miles away from them when they fall very ill or pass away. Traveling to a funeral or to be with family is often on short notice, which makes for very pricey flights. There are numerous campaigns on GoFundMe to raise funds for airfare, or to transport a loved one home. Here is just one example.


6. Paying Off Outstanding Debt

Coping with the death of someone you love is heartbreaking, and learning that they may have left behind substantial debt can add an incredible amount of stress. Mortgage payments, home equity loans, and even some student loan and credit card debt isn’t forgiven upon death. In this particular campaign, funds were being raised to help pay off outstanding student loan debt that wasn’t forgiven.

Lessen the Burden: Start a Campaign for Someone You Know


If you’d like to step up and offer relief to a friend or family member who lost someone they cherished, you can create a memorial crowdfunding campaign for them. This person may be so focused on dealing with their own grief that they don’t have the time, energy, or know-how to create a memorial campaign for themselves. Having someone else take care of it for them can be a lifeline.

Here are some things to keep in mind when getting started:


  • Ask them what they need most, then provide donors with a list on the campaign page. If they simply need money to cover general funeral expenses, then be sure to let donors know that as well.
  • Include as much information as you can about their circumstances and how important it is to support them.
  • Include lots of photos of them enjoying their life.
  • Be sure to include your connection to the beneficiary of the campaign, and how you plan to get the funds to them—that way, your campaign is completely transparent.

To see what a difference this can make, take a look at the GoFundMe campaign that a Georgia State Patrol Trooper set up for a family who truly needed some help. Nathan Bradley was on duty on Halloween night when he had to deliver terrible news to the family of a couple who had been in a fatal car accident. Bradley was shocked when he was greeted at the home by four children in Halloween costumes, the oldest of whom was just 13 years old.


Bradley had to make a tough choice to keep the news from the children until their grandmother arrived from out of state. To occupy the time, Bradley took the children out for dinner and watched movies with them at the police station. After their grandmother arrived, Bradley wrote down his number for the 13-year-old child and told him to call him if he needed anything.

The boy later contacted Bradley, saying it was going to cost $7,000 for a funeral. So Bradley took action and started a GoFundMe campaign, which has raised almost $500,000 to date.

Worry Less About Costs

Planning a funeral service, settling financial matters, and fielding condolence messages from other is an immense amount of stress to deal with. In the face of tragedy, remember that your network of friends and family want to help, and GoFundMe can give them the tools to do so.

Spend more time celebrating your loved one’s life, and worry less about the cost of their final arrangements. Take the first step by creating a memorial fundraiser for your loved one today.


Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn