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Online Funeral Donations Support Charities During Coronavirus

The coronavirus pandemic has had a major impact on funerals and even at level 3 it is expected that no more than 10 people will be allowed to attend a funeral. This has had a big effect on charities which benefit from donations being made in memory of a loved one. With very few people attending and the raised awareness of the risks of handling cash there is a growing trend towards people making the donations online.

A Christchurch company, Memorial Gifting, has been collecting online donation for the past 3 years and Managing Director Terry Fullerton says that the lockdown has accelerated the move to a cashless society with older people now becoming a lot more comfortable making payments online using their credit cards. The virus crisis has also raised people’s awareness of the risks of infection from handling cash and the health and safety risk that this exposes donors and funeral home staff to when collecting the money on behalf of the charity.

Donating online in lieu of flowers works by the family choosing which charity they would like people to make a donation to in memory of their loved one. The funeral director then includes a short link in the death notice which takes people to a dedicated page on the memorialgifting.com website where people can make a donation.

As Terry says “The challenge was to come up with an easy way for the funeral director to be able to include a donation link in the death notice without having to wait for someone to set up a page on one of the normal donation websites. Like most good ideas the answer was simple. All that the funeral director needs to do is to include the name of the charity and a link using our standard bit.ly format in the death notice and email us a copy when they send it to the paper. We then set up a dedicated page for the collection on our website before the newspaper is published the next day.

The funeral homes like the online donation system as it is simple to use and takes away the time and trouble of looking after cash donations. Also because people can donate from anywhere around New Zealand or from overseas we find that we normally collect three times as much online as would be collected from a donation box. This increase in revenue is great for the charities which also get the opportunity to thank the donor and send them a tax receipt unless the donor has asked to remain anonymous.”

The system has now been used for over 700 funerals throughout New Zealand and many of the funeral homes have decided to only accept online donations and do away with having a collection box.

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