Tribute Giving, whereby the primary motivation for the gift is the memory of a loved one who has died, is a long established method of giving. Many donations and fundraising events are prompted by such a desire and the concept behind a formal Tribute Fund scheme is to create an ‘umbrella’ across all such donations. By offering a service that records in-memory donations in a sensitive and personalised manner, Tribute Funds enable a charity to raise both money and build long-standing supporter relationships.
Will it achieve results?
Tribute Fund schemes work better with some causes than others. You are more likely to achieve significant results if you are a cause related to death, operate a tangible site (such as a hospice or shelter) or have a well established national profile.
Another good indicator is your current level of in-memory (and to some extent legacy) income. If your in-memory income is already above £25,000 p.a. and you fit some of the above criteria, then a Tribute Fund scheme should be successful if implemented with care and commitment.
Scheme planning & set-up
Do take time to create a strategy. This can be very simple and short but it will help formalise your ideas and importantly get the scheme up and running.
As part of this you should set some achievable objectives regarding launch date, recruiting numbers of Tribute Fund holders and increasing in-memory income.
The scheme needs to be named with possibly its own brand to give your fund a distinct identity e.g. The Butterfly Fund or The Remembered Forever Fund.
This is also the time to pay considerable attention to the tone and style of the scheme in both design and copy content in order to reach the right balance for your charity.
Start to create marketing & PR plans for launch date, cultivating relationships with Funeral Directors in your area and raising awareness about the new scheme. Please remember that any promotion planned should be entirely on an opt-in basis only.
Finally but crucially you must select a dedicated in-house Scheme Administrator to ‘own’ the project. This will be key to the on-going success of the scheme.
Using an online Tribute service to underpin your scheme
The most successful Tribute Fund schemes offer multiple ways to raise money, encompassing both traditional as well as ever more ingenious alternative ways of fundraising.
A platform such as MuchLoved will offer the dual role of both processing the online donations for each fund, and also recording and keeping track of overall fund progress.
Offering an online Tribute site service, with its many remembrance and commemorative features, can therefore prove a sensitive and appropriate method for underpinning the whole Tribute Fund scheme.
The MuchLoved integrated donation service securely processes all online donations including Gift Aid and acts as a real time record of the fund’s running total for all relevant people to be able to view.
As well as supporting the success of the scheme, the memorial website facility will also reduce your charity’s administration time and is a helpful way of keeping in touch with all Tribute Fund holders over the medium to long term.
Ensure that there is extensive training and promotion of the scheme internally. This should include:
Training of all staff who will have phone or other contact with Tribute Fund holders. Once the scheme is underway, they should be made aware of the names of all the key Tribute Fund holders so that they recognise them personally.
Nominating a specific person to be the online Tribute site champion (who may or may not be the Scheme Administrator). They can then positively assist new Tribute Fund holders create and develop their Tribute website, which is also a great way to help build a relationship.
Getting ‘buy in’ from other teams and departments, so that they are both keen and authorized to help promote your scheme.
Spreading the word through internal newsletters, bulletin boards or intranet, highlighting successes and achievements.
Ensuring that the scheme is well integrated into your charity’s website with a high visibility link through to a specific information and registration area.
The long term success of the scheme will depend on excellent communication and relationship building. Here are some ideas for helping make certain that this is the case:
Create a donor communication strategy outlining how and when to thank them, also whether or not to introduce them to other fundraising opportunities.
Explain how donations are spent, for example with a shopping style list showing examples of what different sizes of donations can be used for, to act as a focus and/or motivation for continued fundraising.
Consider good ways to thank supporters for their efforts, such as site visits, presentations and other tokens of appreciation in order to build and maintain lasting relationships with your fund holders.
Contact previous In Memory donors about your scheme, perhaps including a card that they can keep or pass to a friend or relative.
Create articles in newsletters, promoting the scheme regularly and consistently within regular feedback media.
Consider publicity in local newspapers and other media. Highlight/celebrate a successful or poignant fund if you have the full support of the fund holder.
Build prospect lists – Adding a simple tick-box asking whether people are walking, running or cycling In Memory of a loved one when they register for an event can create opportunities to promote the concept of Tribute Funds.
Producing a Tribute Fund Literature Pack
There is a whole range of materials that you can create to support your scheme, particularly in relation to prospective Tribute Fund holders.
An explanation leaflet is essential and preferably this should be developed into a branded Tribute Fund pack sent to everyone who enquires or responds to a marketing effort, including the following sections:
Why donations are so crucial to the charity (and thanking them for considering fundraising)
An explanation of the scheme and a couple of testimonials / case studies
Instructions on creating the online tribute site
Next Steps…. Other Fundraising Ideas
Useful Leaflets and Cards: pre-printed Pew Cards, Funeral Directors Leaflet, Notification cards, Regular Giving Forms
Scheme Administrator Contacts Details, Helpful Bereavement Organisation links
Other Things to remember
Each Tribute Fund Scheme can, and should, be unique but certain things will be common to all:
Remember to say Thanks, a lot.
Keep everything personal – have one named contact for Tribute fund holders and ensure personal contact is maintained. If there is a change of Scheme Administrator, let everyone know.
Don’t forget the donors as well as the fund holders. They are all potentially new long term supporters.
Always remember that becoming a Tribute Fund holder requires a significant on-going and emotional commitment on the part of the creator. In the event that a prospect decides against creating a Tribute Fund themselves, they might prefer to set up a regular giving gift or nominate another person to run the fund instead.
Finally, and most importantly, Good Luck!
Produced in partnership with John Grain Associates, In Memoriam Giving experts