Integrating online media into your in-memory strategy

Categories: Community Engagement.

We know that social media is a powerful force for change, enabling friends, families and their wider communities to share information, spread ideas and encourage social action.

Platforms such as Facebook, GoFundMe and JustGiving are increasingly being used to inspire donations in memory of those who have died.

Some stories capture the national imagination – like Claire Squires whose untimely death at the 2012 London Marathon triggered over £940,000 of donations for the Samaritans; or Stephen Sutton, who raised over £5.5m for the Teenage Cancer Trust. Others are far more private, although just as heartfelt.

By its very nature, social media is fast-moving and mercurial, with a global reach. It has become a way of life for younger people in particular – often a difficult group for charities to engage with.

While fundraisers cannot – and should not – control social media, how can you harness and respond to it appropriately as an integral part of your in-memory fundraising strategy?

The internet is also an important source of information for bereaved people, who are looking for imaginative, fitting ways to remember their loved ones. The messages and tone that charities communicate through their websites are key to engaging with potential in-memory donors.

As Nigel Seymour, director of fundraising and communications at Princess Alice Hospice, says: “Nowadays, the web is the first place people go for information and advice, and increasingly to act too – we want to develop online tools to give in-memory donors the experience that’s right for them.”

Collecting and using evidence to inform in-memory strategies

In-Memory Insight is a rolling programme of research and analysis on in-memory giving. Each year we explore a different theme – from events to in-memory products.

The theme for the coming year is the use of social media and digital marketing in in-memory fundraising.

This research will explore important questions such as:

  • How are social media and digital marketing being used in-memory? By the public? By charities?
  • What is the role of third party influencers and intermediaries (such as funeral directors and fundraising platforms)?
  • How does social media link with other media, on and off-line?
  • How do in-memory donors engage with digital fundraising sites, and how well do those sites meet their needs?

As usual, we will deploy a range of research methods including focus groups and in-depth interviews, best practice case studies, and survey research.

The findings will be shared at a full-day workshop in spring 2017, with group discussions and presentations from expert speakers.  

In-Memory Insight is a consortium project to research, analyse and debate the growing in-memory giving sector. We work closely with a learning circle of leading charities – over 60 of them in the past five years – who agree to pool their budgets, experiences and data to help building evidence and insight.

We are now inviting new members to join this year’s programme. In recognition of hospices’ important role in in-memory giving and their more limited resources, Legacy Foresight is pleased to offer any local hospice that is a member of Hospice UK a 50% reduction on the standard annual fee.

Further information about Hospice UK’s partnership with Legacy Foresight is available on the Hospice UK website or you can contact Meg Abdy, director of Legacy Foresight, for a copy of this year’s proposals at

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