JustGiving reports a 331% rise in crowdfunded funerals

18 January 2017

Last year, more than 52,000 people donated money to provide a funeral service for someone they may never have known.

Crowdfunded funerals

Figures released today from the business behind the donation website, JustGiving, show that the number of crowdfunded funerals in 2016 was more than 331% higher than the year before.

When Peter Toulson, a Big Issue seller in North London, died aged 53 last December, his community set up a JustGiving page to encourage those in the area to help finance his funeral. The appeal was a huge success and, with donations from over 300 people, raised a grand total of £5,073 for Mr Toulson's funeral. A surplus of £2,000 was given to charity.

According to JustGiving, this heart-warming story was just the tip of the iceberg. In 2015 there were just over 9,000 donations for funeral services. But in 2016 that number multiplied, with 52,630 people donating money to provide a funeral service for someone they may never have known.

The spike in crowdfunded funerals is being attributed to rising funeral costs and the popularity of online crowdfunding generally as a means to finance ideas, proposals, and other expensive life events.

In many cases, crowdfunded funerals take place because there is no clear alternative. Often, services require funding from the government, which means vastly reducing the service.

Charles Wells, chief operations officer for JustGiving, said: "Thinking about the costs of a funeral is the last thing a grieving family wants to do but with the cost of funerals rising JustGiving has seen increasing numbers of people turning to crowdfunding to help say farewell to their loved ones.

"It can also be a practical way for friends, family and the community to come together and help take the strain off families when they're mourning their loss."