Millennials Choosing Crowdfunding


Millennials Choosing Crowdfunding


The Funeral and Memorial Information Council, (https://www.famic.org/famic-study/ ) has been studying consumer attitudes towards funeralization in the United States for years. According to their most recent survey, they have found that “younger adults (ages 20-39) have distinctly different expectations when making funeral arrangements and interacting with funeral professionals than those who are older. They are more likely to use the internet to ‘crowdsource’ funds for funeral and memorial costs: (17 percent versus 4 percent of those age 40 and older).”

For the sake of this article, we will assume that to use the word “crowdsource”, means that this age group is four times more likely to use fundraising sites like www.myrespects.com as a way to gather the funding needed to pay final expenses.  We will also make the assumption that they are equally more likely to donate than the older age group.

Every person that creates a fundraiser has unique reasons for doing so, but what I am suggesting is a bigger picture reason for the disparity between these groups.

According to the Pew Research Group, (http://www.pewinternet.org/fact-sheet/social-media/) 69% of the public uses some sort of social media, and 64% of people in the 50-64 age group are engaged in one of the popular social media platforms.  We can assume that the younger group is comfortable socializing via the internet, but the over 40 group is almost as present on social media as the younger group.  This begs the question: If similar numbers of people are using social media, why is one four times more likely to turn to crowdfunding?

Certainly, it’s not that they’re more socialized into funeral rituals.  The younger group has lived during a time when traditional funerals in funeral homes has seen a constant decline.  They likely haven’t experienced entering brick and mortar establishments to pay their respects, as frequently as their parents in their younger days.  This is not necessarily a cause-and-effect thing, but the correlation is interesting. As society continues to decline traditional funeral rituals, the age group most marginalized in that downturn has increased the use of crowdsourcing for funerals.  It is possible that this is because their opportunity to attend memorial services has decreased, and in turn, they have enlisted crowdfunding assistance on the internet, where funeralization and memorialization has become a part of the loss experience.

It is also possible that this age group is more financially vulnerable and less capable of paying for a funeral.  It does seem that the generational perspective regarding charity and seeking help has shifted, and given way to the acceptance of a broader, more community-oriented response to loss.  Whatever the reason for the massive incline in crowdfunding, the fact is that more and more people continue to gather digitally to give and receive the financial support they need from their social community.

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