When I die, I hope that people will remember me for my love of music, cats and the environment. These are some of the things I have loved in my lifetime, and I would be honoured to know that charities that reflect my passions would benefit from gifts in my memory.
That’s why I wasn’t surprised by the latest Performance Benchmarking findings from In-Memory Insight, which showed that non-health charities (also known as ‘loved in life’) are definitely the ones to watch when it comes to in-memory giving.
For the first time, charities in our non-health benchmarking group are now spending 49% more than health charities on in-memory activity. More importantly, they’ve also enjoyed almost ten times higher year-on-year growth in in-memory income.
So what’s behind this exceptional growth, and what’s changing in the in-memory landscape?
In my opinion, one area of in-memory fundraising that has sometimes been overlooked is the growing importance of products – and I believe that charities who are innovating and investing in this area are the ones who are reaping the rewards.
Unlike funeral collections, which are limited to the period immediately after a loved one has died, in-memory products open up unlimited ways to remember someone special. Whether you’re making a dedication, taking part in an event, purchasing a commemorative item, or volunteering, there are hundreds of ways to remember loved ones through charities, leading to long-lasting relationships.
(As a side note, did you know that some charities invite supporters to sponsor a cat cabin or dedicate a concert hall seat in memory? These would be fitting tributes for someone who happened to love cats or music…)
To explore the importance of in-memory products in more detail, my colleague Nancy and I delivered a session at CIOF Convention 2023, where we showcased and celebrated some brilliant in-memory products, alongside a panel of charity representatives from a variety of causes.
Stephen from North Devon Hospice told us about their annual Floating Bye event, where supporters congregate at the beach and send messages to their loved ones on a floating wicker sculpture decorated with orange gerberas.
Megan from MND Association shared how their online tribute funds provide a focal point for families remembering a loved one, and how staff across the organisation were working collaboratively to maximise their success.
Next, we heard from Keeley at Wakefield Hospice who showed us their Material Memory Bears. Each bear is completely unique and handmade by a volunteer using clothing that had belonged to the loved one.
Finally, David from RNLI talked about Launch A Memory, where supporters can have their loved one’s name engraved on the side of a lifeboat – ensuring they are always there for every life-saving mission.
It was so inspiring to hear from our panel and to hear how they had managed to develop a successful in-memory product, despite vast differences in cause area, organisation size and expenditure budget. All the examples were deeply personal and put the memory of the loved one front and centre. You can see why families take so much comfort from them.
I’m fascinated about the changing landscape of in-memory giving and what the future holds for in-memory products so I’m really excited that we are going to focus on it in more detail in In-Memory Insight for the coming cycle. Things are evolving so fast and there’s still so much to discover.
In Memory Insight is a consortium research programme, run by Legacy Foresight, which explores the size, shape and scope of in-memory giving in the UK. Every year it focuses on a different theme and our new programme will focus on In-memory products. It will map the current in-memory product landscape and will look to the future and explore what’s next for in-memory products. You can read the prospectus or for more information about the programme or to subscribe, please contact Claire Truswell: firstname.lastname@example.org