Freeman Brothers was first established as a funeral director in 1855. The company’s first office in Horsham, West Sussex, remains the hub of the business today, with a further three branches now located in Billingshurst, Crawley and Hurstpierpoint. Always keen to innovate, Freeman Brothers proudly adopted an online charity donation platform in 2018, and recently accomplished a new milestone via this. Becky explains further…
I love a positive statistic, particularly at the moment when autumn has hit with full force, and world news continues to be pretty gloomy. And so I’m delighted to bring you the news that, on 9th November 2022, our online donation platform achieved a new record.
For the second year in a row, the amount donated via our MuchLoved pages exceeded £200,000. 2021 was the first time our customers accomplished the feat, and we were both proud and impressed that this happened at the end of November. Throughout 2022, I’ve kept a keen eye on the numbers ticking upwards again, and wondering when we’d get to celebrate this year. That it’s happened several weeks earlier is very impressive.
We started using MuchLoved in August 2018, following extensive research into online donation options. We really appreciated that MuchLoved is a charitable organisation, maximising the amount donated for charity usage, rather than taking a substantial fee themselves.
As we’ve continued to use the platform, we’re pleased that they’ve increased the available features. We had always been impressed by the customisation of the Tribute pages, and as time has gone on, these have gone from strength to strength. Our favourite recent update is that you can now upload an Order of Service, so that those attending remotely can still have a copy and follow along with the Service.
Historically, the choice of charities made by our customers was quite limited – we would see the same handful of worthy charities repeatedly selected. However, in recent years, the range of charities chosen has expanded enormously, and we regularly find ourselves learning about new charitable causes thanks to our customers.
I’ve blogged on the topic of choosing a charity previously, and it’s clear to us that some people pick a charity which has helped them and their loved ones, and others will select a cause they believe in – both of these are fantastic reasons, and it’s never for us to judge a decision, merely to support the following of a wish.
Consistently our top charity via MuchLoved is St Catherine’s Hospice – our local hospice in Crawley. It’s both the most frequently selected and the biggest beneficiary. However, as I write this piece, our customers have chosen 143 different organisations this year, ranging from local community groups, to hospitals and care homes, as well as national charities supporting specific health conditions, and many more besides.
Whilst St Catherine’s remains at the top, the others in the top five at the moment according to amount donated are: Cancer Research UK, Macmillan Cancer Support, Pancreatic Cancer UK, and British Heart Foundation. In many ways, the popularity of cancer charities is unsurprising, given that one in two people in the UK will receive a cancer diagnosis during their lifetime. Pancreatic cancer is particularly difficult to diagnose and treat, so it’s great to see such a specific cause receive vital funds.
The other causes in the top ten as I write are: St Wilfrid’s Hospice, Alzheimer’s Society, Bowel Cancer UK, Dementia UK and Lymphoma Action – again, two charities specifically linked to cancer, and a further two linked to Alzheimer’s and Dementia, other increasingly common health conditions. So far, nine of the top ten causes are receiving in excess of £5,000 each thanks to our customers, and the top five are all, in fact, due to gain in excess of £10,000 each. Both of these are incredible, meaningful figures.
Contrary to popular belief, there is no minimum donation amount when using MuchLoved – all donations are gratefully received and, if the donor is an eligible UK taxpayer, GiftAid (a government contribution to the donation at no further cost to the donor) can be claimed on donations providing the correct box is ticked at the time of payment.
The grand total for donations at the end of 2021 was almost £230,000, and we’re now busy guessing what the total for 2022 might be! Excitingly, we now have an even larger overall total in our sights – with our fifth anniversary of adopting MuchLoved taking place in August 2023, it now seems likely that we will exceed £1,000,000 in total donations during the next year, for which there will be a much bigger celebration.
A funeral is typically something that very few people feel comfortable arranging, but to know that something positive can come of the event in order to help a good cause is something which may provide some comfort.