Memory Giving Update

First established as a funeral director in Horsham, West Sussex, in 1855, Freeman Brothers is a strong part of the local community. The company now has three further offices across the county – in Billingshurst, Crawley and Hurstpierpoint – and remains keen to move with the times. Part of this was establishing a means of […]

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First established as a funeral director in Horsham, West Sussex, in 1855, Freeman Brothers is a strong part of the local community. The company now has three further offices across the county – in Billingshurst, Crawley and Hurstpierpoint – and remains keen to move with the times. Part of this was establishing a means of customers donating to memory giving tributes via online pages, meaning that a partnership with MuchLoved began almost six years ago…

Adding online tribute pages to our offering was both a much requested service and something that some of our customers weren’t so sure about. They had existed for several years already, and we had always welcomed customers to set up their own pages prior to this being something that Freeman Brothers offered, but it became clear that this was another way in which we could support our customers by helping with a task.

Our service includes setting up a tribute page should a customer require one, and then administering donations received via cash or cheque to ensure that they all get attributed to the correct page. Managing the system as colleagues means that we can easily support our customers if their Funeral Arranger is unavailable, and has also meant that we can track statistics in several ways which were previously more challenging.

When we first partnered with MuchLoved in 2018, tribute pages still weren’t particularly popular with our customers. Many preferred to donate via cash or cheque, and there was lower engagement in the other features, such as leaving messages or sharing photos.

All of this suddenly changed in March 2020. With funeral attendances strictly limited, many people engaged via tribute pages instead. Freeman Brothers also took the decision to temporarily suspend the acceptance of cash donations – this impacted only a small number of people, due to attendance being so low – and so online donations surged. Confidence in and familiarity with the technology increased significantly, and it was brilliant to see that the amount raised via memory giving was exceeding anything we’d seen previously.

I’ve been tracking trends ever since, and pleased to see that one of the positive impacts of a tough few years is that useful technologies have thrived. As well as maintaining connection with communities via the pages, online donations make it far easier for charities to administrate GiftAid – a scheme which costs donors nothing, and instead allows charities to claim additional contributions via the government on donations made by UK taxpayers.

2024 has been another year when we’ve hit the milestone of £100,000 in donations during May. When this has happened in the past, we’ve seen the total double by the end of the year, which is a staggering amount of money. For smaller causes in particular, the amounts that they receive via donations such as these can be incredibly powerful. Causes which are popular with our customers tend to be either based in the local community – such as the nearby hospices, St Catherine’s, St Peter and St James, and St Barnabas House – or linked to medical conditions – those such as Macmillan Cancer Support, Cancer Research UK, or Alzheimer’s Society.

Even if a charity you’d like to support isn’t one which has been seen by us previously, you are welcome to send funds in that direction. As long as they are able to be set up via MuchLoved – whose support team is fantastic – it is something that we can arrange. You can also nominate more than one cause per page – you have the option to split donations equally, or to invite donors to choose themselves at the point of donation.

The choice is always yours! We hope that 2024 continues to be a positive year for charity donations – come back to find out as the year progresses.

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Written by Becky Hughes

Community Co-Ordinator

June 12, 2024

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