Fundraising Milestone Achieved!

Freeman Brothers was first established as a funeral director in Horsham, West Sussex, in 1855. The company now has a further three offices across the county – in Billingshurst, Crawley and Hurstpierpoint – and benefits from many generations of expertise. This year, a milestone in terms of charity donations approached, and Becky shares an update… […]

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Branded graphic stating: "Freeman Brothers Funeral Directors - we're very proud to have raised over £1,000,000 through our partnership with MuchLoved, all thanks to the generosity of the families we work with"

Freeman Brothers was first established as a funeral director in Horsham, West Sussex, in 1855. The company now has a further three offices across the county – in Billingshurst, Crawley and Hurstpierpoint – and benefits from many generations of expertise. This year, a milestone in terms of charity donations approached, and Becky shares an update…

I’m delighted to be able to share that, on 1st October 2023, we passed the milestone of receiving over £1,000,000 in online donations since starting our partnership with MuchLoved in August 2018. Having moved past £800,000 at the end of 2022, and with that year and the year before seeing over £200,000 donated each time, I was reasonably confident that we’d pass £1,000,000 during 2023.

Donations this year have again been consistent in amount and number, though a difference this year has been that a few charities have experienced a surge in popularity.

I’m sure that it will surprise nobody that there are some perennially preferred charities among our customers. One of our local hospices, St Catherine’s in Crawley, has received the greatest amount in donations every year, and 2023 is no exception. It is often the case that someone who has died has received care via St Catherine’s, and this tends to mean that the charity is close to their loved ones’ hearts. The hospice also provides ongoing support to those who are bereaved, and means that they continue to be part of the community after a bereavement.

The second most popular charity among our customers is Cancer Research UK, and at the time of writing, it occupies second place in our 2023 top 10 too. With one in two people experiencing a cancer diagnosis during their lifetime, it’s unsurprising that a large cancer charity would be popular. There are two other cancer charities in the lifetime top 10 – Macmillan features in the third spot, and the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity comes tenth… though that is largely because this year our customers have donated more than ever before to this organisation.

Other entrants to the top 10 this year are St Peter and St James hospice, which is local to our Hurstpierpoint office, Motor Neurone Disease Association, and The Brain Tumour Charity. The remaining charities currently in this year’s top 10 are regularly featured – the RNLI, Dementia UK, and the Alzheimer’s Society.

It has always been our view that customers should choose their charity or charities without suggestion from ourselves. Whilst my colleagues and I have causes which are aligned with our own values, when it comes to fundraising, we think that this should be linked to whatever is important to each individual.

Online tribute pages have had significant benefits for ourselves and our customers. It means that they are able to fully personalise the page themselves, when it is convenient to them, and the pages are very easy to share with friends and family around the world – sharing the link to the page is as simple as pasting it into an email, text message, or adding it to social media pages, and this has definitely contributed to an increase in donations. It also allows them to easily add Gift Aid – this previously involved a piece of hard copy paperwork which many people weren’t able to complete, whereas now this is factored in to the online transaction by ticking a box and adding some simple details.

As we looked forward to our MuchLoved Million, we ran a guessing game among the team – each of us suggested a date we thought we might hit the target, and this helped to keep interest going. Whilst nobody got the exact date right, we have got a proud winner, who has nominated a charity to receive a gift from those of us who participated. We’ll be celebrating our achievement in the Spring of 2024 – at the moment, we are building to our annual Community Remembrance Service in December, and we’d like to honour each occasion separately, so stay tuned for more details in due course!

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Written by Becky Hughes

Community Co-Ordinator

October 4, 2023

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