Freeman Brothers is a funeral director based in Horsham, West Sussex. The company was first established there in 1855, and now has three further offices in Billingshurst, Crawley and Hurstpierpoint. Funerals have changed significantly during the time the business has operated, with one of the most significant differences being that people now often nominate a charity to receive donations in their memory. Becky discusses how people might go about making the choice…
Memory giving has become increasingly popular and powerful during recent years. Whilst flowers can and do help to brighten up the room at a funeral, they don’t last very long, and there’s the question of what to do with them in the meantime! They’re also recognised for – ironically – not being particularly environmentally-friendly due to transporting them and the amount of plastics which can be involved in creating a tribute.
We’ve noticed an even greater increase in donations since moving to an online platform. Donations now can and do come in from all over the world, being made with a few clicks of a button and at the convenience of the donor.
Sometimes, customers ask us which is the best charity to choose. Perhaps unusually, we don’t offer a specific recommendation, as we don’t want to appear biased towards any cause. However, we can provide guidance and suggestions for how to go about making this choice – read on for more details.
Charity or charities?
It’s common to want to support more than one charity, and with our help that’s certainly achievable. If there are two causes which are particularly close to your heart, you can nominate them both, and either split the pot evenly between them, or allow individual donors to choose which charity receives their donation.
One of the most important things to point out to those you share your charity details with is that, thanks to our online platform, charities can claim Gift Aid on your donation if it is eligible. This adds no additional fee for the donor, all they have to do is tick the box to state that they are registered as a UK taxpayer, and the rest is done by the platform administrators.
So – how do you narrow it down to one or two?
Home is where the heart is…
One of my own passions, particularly since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, has been to support local organisations. Whilst global companies and charities can have a powerful impact, there are also many others within our own communities which do a lot of good work. This is true of small villages, large cities, and all other areas in between.
For example, when I lived in London, I volunteered at a city farm in Vauxhall, which provided subsidised lessons for young people within the community to learn animal care skills and experience looking after animals that they may not be able to keep at home. As someone who grew up in the countryside, I took outdoor activities and keeping pets for granted, and it was great to see others find a way to experience this too.
Here in Sussex, where Freeman Brothers is based, there are charities and groups such as those for stroke survivors, social clubs for older people, and ones to support people who have caring responsibilities.
And there’s another way in which local charities may be particularly special…
Local versus global charities
Many of us as well as helping organisations locally will actually have received help from them too. A frequently-chosen charity among our customers is our local hospice, which has cared for a huge number of people. Like many hospices, St Catherine’s cares for those who remain after a death, as it provides bereavement support and other home-based therapies too.
It may be that you have enjoyed being part of a walking group, or another outdoor organisation, or perhaps were a regular worshipper locally. It might be that you’ve enjoyed participating with a local craft group or know someone who has benefitted from the work of a children’s charity. It could be that you’ve enjoyed the company of a rehomed pet thanks to the services of a local animal adoption charity.
Thinking more broadly, there are national and international organisations which support medical research, and particularly for those who have suffered from a rare disease, the importance of this action is heightened. Which leads me to my next point…
Build on your own work
Many of us are keen fundraisers or volunteers throughout our lives. The organisations we support may change, but lots of us will have a favourite, or one which strikes a particular chord. Whilst fundraising tends to be something which generates a lot of attention, there are other ways you might have supported a charity during your life.
Opportunities are ever-increasing – for instance, I spend some of my spare time reviewing research funding applications for a national cancer charity, as they wanted to gain a patient perspective as well as that of professionals within the field – so the scope to participate has moved beyond running marathons and climbing mountains. Of course, you may have done this too! It might even be that your professional life involved working for a charity which became close to your heart. Either way, this is another method of making a choice.
Finally: your heart knows the way
And, of course, one of the most straightforward ways of making a decision is simply to follow your own passions. Be it a charity linked to sport, the arts, outdoor pursuits, education, animals, or any other love of your life. What better way to acknowledge a life lived than to share donations with something you truly enjoyed?
For those wishing to look up charity details, we recommend find that charity – unlike the UK Charities Commission, this website includes smaller organisations, such as Community Interest Companies (CICs) and Community Interest Organisations (CIOs) which aren’t eligible for full charity status, but are registered non-profits.
Remember once you have made your choice to share it with the person likely to be making your funeral arrangements – you can find our leaflet to outline your wishes here.