The Changing Face of Memorial Donations
Funeral directors and nonprofit development directors know one another well. They have long-standing relationships that go way back. Memorial donations are most definitely not a new thing, but like most areas of fundraising, memorial donations are benefiting from the Internet and other advances in technology.
Not surprisingly, the "offline" memorial donations process is quite labor-intensive. Funeral directors employ staff or volunteers to hand out collection envelopes, collect cash and checks, write donation cards, transcribe donor information (if it is even available), and account for and deliver donations to each charity. Funds can trickle in for months after a service as donors rediscover those donation envelopes hidden away in their suit jacket pockets. All too often, the intended donation never even gets made as a result of the process.
Once these donations make it to the nonprofit, charity staffers are left to piece together donor information if it’s available, enter it into a database and send out donation acknowledgments. It’s a laborious and inefficient process for the nonprofit, funeral director and donor that results in more work for all involved and fewer donations ultimately getting to the cause.
Like other sectors, funeral homes are employing the Internet and technology to automate and improve processes. Funeral homes that use technology that creates a record and tracks details of each funeral service are becoming the norm. Funeral directors are even able to offer webcasts of services and provide an online "Book of Memories” that is an enduring tribute to a loved one.
MemorialDonations.org has emerged as a link between more than 1,000 funeral homes in North America and nonprofits as a way for individuals to make memorial online donations via credit card to the family’s designated nonprofit or any charity of the donor’s choice provided that the nonprofit is signed up as part of the program. The Memorial Donation Handler service was introduced in July 2010 and is associated with FrontRunner Professional, a leading funeral home automation company in North America. (Disclosure: Memorial Donations Handler uses Artez Interactive as the donation processor.)