Coronavirus and the in-mem giving conundrum

Ben Brill By Ben Brill

The way that we’re grieving has changed – for the time being at least.

The lockdown means that we can’t come together as we normally would to mark a loved one’s life.

And that means that many more people must be struggling to find outlets to share so many of the memories – and emotions – they’ll be feeling at the moment.

Adapting to a changing landscape

The Coronavirus crisis has seen the smartest charities flex their role to provide support and comfort during difficult times.

And it’s becoming clear that in-memory giving could play an important role in supporting people who’ve lost loved ones during the crisis.

In-mem’s always had a powerful symbolic value – and as a growth area in the sector, many causes have been tapping into this emotional potential over recent years.

But it’s still a subject to approach with sensitivity right now. So how can you make sure you’re pitching your in-mem comms right?

Get the basics right

Start by reviewing your current available content. Is in-mem giving clearly explained and easy-to-find? Does your messaging need reshaping to address where we’re at?

With traditional funeral collections impossible, you’ll need to make sure that you’re leading with advice on how to set up tribute funds.

And with print fulfillment a challenge right now, you’ll to need to make sure that all content’s easily accessible online.

It’s also worth making a case for giving in-mem giving more prominence on your website – is there a case for including relevant content on your homepage, for example?

Be there for people

You should be thinking of in-mem givers as high value donors. So offer them one-to-one support and stewardship, and try to personalise their experience to meet their needs.

Think of other ways you can use your resources to offer expert support as well.

So if your cause already supports people through the bereavement process, try to find ways to share that knowledge more widely. Adapt resources so they can be shared online, and point people towards support they might otherwise struggle to find.

Look for new opportunities to connect

Sadly, in-mem giving may have more relevance for your audiences now than it did a couple of months ago. Approach it sensitively, and you can increase awareness of the role it can play in your supporters’ lives.

Look across all your supporter journeys for opportunities to introduce in-mem to your audiences – and reach out to other teams to ensure they’re comfortable talking about in-mem giving.

Keep your eyes peeled for stories of your supporters doing in-mem fundraising as well – sharing stories of real people can help normalise in-mem giving, and provide your audiences with inspirational examples to follow.

Remember – this isn’t about you. People are looking for ways to honour their loved one’s lives; you’re there to help them do it.

Up engagement – and be patient 

Shouty acquisition ads definitely aren’t the order of the day right now. But there are ways to engage supporters using your in-mem messaging, and use it to strengthen their affinity with your brand.

Invite people to share memories, anecdotes and words of wisdom from their loved ones.

Start looking for easy-to-fulfil ways of turning their stories into valuable mementos.

And remember – if you can help them through these difficult times in any way, you’ll be one step closer to creating the enduring relationships that every cause craves.

Ben Brill

Ben Brill

Creative Director

Ben came to us from Save the Children, where he was the creative powerhouse behind some of their best-known campaigns. Our story and strategy-led work brought him agency side, and he’s consistently wowed clients with impressive conceptual work. Read more about Ben on our blog.