12/06/2015 07:28 BST | Updated 11/06/2016 06:59 BST

Crowdfunding is Popular: But Would You Crowdfund Your Funeral?


Image by Nathan Rupert

Most of us are familiar with crowdfunding - it is, more or less, a way of securing investment for your product or idea in order to bring it to market. Your investors will expect something in return, but not necessarily in the form of company shares. They might want to get their hands on the product before everyone else or be involved in key company discussions and decisions. It's popular with all sorts of small businesses - maybe they've been turned down for a bank loan or don't have any personal savings to use, or aren't willing to part with the ownership of their business.

At least, that's the traditional crowdfunding definition. While it's still accurate and a viable source of business funding, crowdfunding has been harnessed for all kinds of not-so-traditional campaigns. We've all heard of the viral ones (such as the man who raised over $55,000 to make potato salad - yes, really) and people have started catching on to this phenomenon. Want to raise some cash so your band can release an album? You got it. Pay for your degree? Sure. Travel the world? Of course! As a travel blogger, I was intrigued to find that a few travel crowdfunding platforms exist - if only I knew about them when I was backpacking through Australia. Still, I'll remember that for when I'm planning my next getaway. What I'm trying to show is that there's a lot of opportunities out there. If your campaign goes viral, even better, but that's no longer necessary to bring in some funding. It seems that as long as something costs money (yes, potato salad included), it can and will be crowdfunded.

Crowdfunding isn't just limited to campaigns that will personally benefit you or your business. We've seen quite a few instances of individuals starting campaigns for other people in order to support them financially during tragic circumstances, or simply just to be nice. With that in mind, though, I was a little surprised to find that even funerals are being crowdfunded. I'm not sure why (perhaps I always had it in my head that this was 'off limits'), but in an article published earlier this year by Golden Charter, they found that the reason for crowdfunded funerals is simple - funerals are expensive and they're not getting any cheaper (the average cost of a basic funeral in the UK is £3,456). Some people have money saved for their funeral, but the majority don't, and it's their family who need to find a way to pay.

Personally, I don't think it's something I would do (mainly because I can't say that I've thought about my funeral!), but I can understand the reasoning behind it. Not everyone has money saved for a funeral and the costs associated with a funeral continue to rise, so we may well see more funerals being socially funded. Thinking about how to find the money for a funeral is often the last thing a grieving family want to do, so although crowdfunded funerals sound quite odd, they're certainly going to appeal to a lot of people. It also allows friends and the extended family of the deceased to contribute in a more practical way than sending flowers and cards, if they so choose to.

It's yet to be seen whether or not funeral crowdfunding will really take off, but with the number of dedicated funeral crowdfunding platforms already out there, there's certainly an audience for it. It seems that nothing is truly off limits, but that's not necessarily a bad thing - if it eases the financial strain on families and allows people to contribute in a way they see fit, then it can only be a good thing. Would you crowdfund your funeral?

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