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25 Fundraising Ideas for Churches: Making Memorials Possible

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memorial candles

Funerals and memorial services are an important way the church meets the needs of community members grieving the loss of a loved one. We come alongside those in pain at one of life’s most difficult times, helping plan a service to celebrate the legacy of someone God has called home.

As part of our series on 25 fundraising ideas for churches, we’re sharing ways to grow your giving program. Today’s idea outlines how to create pathways for memorial gifts through your funeral or grief ministry.

A simple way to help families facing the overwhelming burden of planning a memorial or funeral service is to have a guide to your church’s process. A simple one-page flier, brochure, or section of your website can outline the suggested steps to planning a service – from how to book the space and pastor, what the church provides (i.e., bulletin, music services, etc.), and any costs. In their time of grief, simple steps for the family can make this process so much easier. 

In that flier, include language for the family to include in the obituary – the church’s address and any special location instructions – especially for the delivery of floral or other remembrances for the service. The guide should also provide suggested language for memorial gifts, such as:

 “Many families include suggested memorial contributions in lieu of or in addition to flowers. Suggested language is as follows: In lieu of flowers, gifts in Alison’s memory may be made to the First Hope Chapel, ℅ Alison Smith Memorial Fund, 123 Oak Street, Pembroke, KS 66223. The church will receive, track, acknowledge, and report on any such gifts to the family so they may thank donors as well.”

We often see families decide to establish a permanent fund in the loved one’s memory – an endowment that can carry their name and support a ministry in perpetuity. While this is most often a personal conversation that occurs in meetings with family, there is nothing wrong with including this in a list of ways to honor a deceased loved one in your materials. Some churches have a memorial garden with personalized bricks or a memory wall where families can choose to purchase a brick or plaque on the property. Again, this can be listed in the guide as options for families to consider in their planning.

The church community plays an important role in coming alongside grieving families planning a funeral, so it’s important to have those support services outlined in a way that members and nonmembers can access when they need it. Memorial gifts can honor the loved one by funding the missions and ministries of the church. We simply need to create clear pathways for families to invite those gifts as part of their remembrance.

If you’d like help thinking through this or any other stewardship or donor issue, our partnership with ACST enables us to come alongside churches looking for guidance.

About Tim Smith

Tim has over 30 years of experience in Church, Non-Profit Administration, Management, and Fund Development.  Serving as an Executive Pastor and Chief Development Officer in growing Churches and Non-Profit Organizations. He has provided a wide range of expertise and resources. Tim serves as the Founder and CEO of  Non-Profit DNA. A boutique firm committed to helping nonprofits and churches. By building their capacity through fundraising, leadership, team building, staff recruiting, and coaching.

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