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Getting Started With a Memorial Fund

Shutterstock.com / Aliaksei Kruhlenia

Getting Started With a Memorial Fund

While keeping your lost loved one’s memory alive by creating a memorial fund can be therapeutic and helpful on many levels, it can also be a lot of work. That’s where CharitySmith comes in. Operating as a 501.c.3. non-profit, their unique mission is to handle all the details of setting up and administering a memorial fund for you. 

The process starts with a conversation about what you are trying to accomplish. CharitySmith follows your lead on how your memorial fund should look, what it will be called, and its the purpose. They handle everything from building your web site, to setting up a bank account and online donation handling, to detailed donation reporting, preparing tax receipts, and fund disbursements. CharitySmith also ensures that your fund complies with all the legal and tax statutes governing non-profits. 

In short, CharitySmith quickly and cost-effectively sets up and administers your memorial fund, freeing you up to focus on fundraising and honoring your lost loved one.

Not only does CharitySmith help with the nuts and bolts, but they can also provide strategic guidance on appropriate fundraising options and alternatives, based on their wealth of knowledge in administering over 120 funds. That saves you the headache of “re-inventing the wheel” or a trial-and-error approach to finding the right fundraising strategy.

A Summary of CharitySmith’s Services:

• Complete memorial fund set-up in 4 days or less
• Website creation and administration
• Donation processing via phone, mail or online
• Tax receipts creation for all donors
• Open accounting and supervised banking
• Monthly reporting for administrators
• Provide advice on charitable giving and fundraising
• Manage fund disbursements
• Assure compliance with all tax and legal regulations

Charitysmith charges an annual maintenance fee plus a fee based-upon the amount of annual donations. In most cases, these fees are a fraction of what it would cost to establish and maintain your own fund.

Here’s a checklist of what you’ll need to get started creating your CharitySmith fund:

• A name for the fund
• Photos and a biography or brief write-up of your loved one
• Purpose/cause – what would best reflect your loved one’s interests?
• Outreach database of addresses/emails – You will need to compile a list of names, addresses, and email addresses that can be used to contact potential donors/supporters
• Fundraising strategy - i.e. what type of events will you put on to raise funds, will you consider mass mailings or general donation solicitation? Can you identify potential corporate donors, community foundations, service organizations, or other community resources that might support you?
• Process to determine how the funds will be disbursed – the true benefit for having a memorial fund is in giving the money to the needy cause or individual. You will need to think through the process by which someone would find out about, and apply for the money, as well as the decision criteria for it to be awarded. Here, it helps to solicit the help of a few close friends whom you trust to help in the decision-making.
• (Optional) FaceBook page – the most efficient way to get the word out will be online, and FaceBook is incredibly efficient way to get the word out that you have a memorial fund.

With the help of a service such as CharitySmith, it is relatively easy to get started building your own memorial fund. Once you are up and running, you will not only have a living memorial for your loved one, but also be able to “pay it forward” in their honor. For more information contact CharitySmith, www.charitysmith.org, 800.276.6546.