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Become a Major Undertaker on this #GivingTuesday!

On this #GivingTuesday, how about donating to the only nonprofit in the US that stands up for the rights of grieving consumers? Yep, we know that every nonprofit is asking for your dollar today. Funeral Consumers Alliance isn’t every other nonprofit, though. We help with a universal human need, but we’re the one consumer group no one thinks about until the very end.

This fall we’re launching our Major Undertaking Campaign. We need to raise $50,000 by the end of 2016 to keep our modest budget ship-shape and propel us into 2017. If you’ve never given to us before, Giving Tuesday is a great reason to start!

Why should you be a Major Undertaker? Here’s a quick list of what Funeral Consumers Alliance has done for the grieving public with your help and support for more than 50 years:

  • 1970s—Our volunteers worked for a decade with the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the funeral industry’s practices. The result was a 550-page report recommending the adoption of federal rules to safeguard the grieving.
  • 1984—The FTC made the “Funeral Rule” effective, giving millions of Americans the right to buy only what they wanted and could afford, and the right to truthful information and clear prices from the funeral home of their choice.
  • 1994—We testified in support of amendments to the Funeral Rule giving families the right to buy discount caskets without being hit with a penalty at the funeral home. We won.
  • 2000s—We co-drafted and lobbied for three separate Congressional bills that would have expanded the Funeral Rule to cover cemeteries while tightening existing protections.
  • 2015—In partnership with the Consumer Federation of America, we released the first-ever national survey of funeral home websites. Our work showed how most funeral homes keep their prices secret from the Internet marketplace. Want to shop before you drop? Most mortuaries don’t make it possible.
  • 2016—FCA formally petitioned the Federal Trade Commission, calling on regulators to amend the Funeral Rule to mandate online price disclosures. The effort is ongoing.
  • 2017—Watch for the mid-winter release of our next national survey comparing cremation prices at chain funeral homes owned by multinational corporations to those at locally owned funeral homes.

Everyone dies, but almost no one thinks about how to plan for it. That’s why 2.6 million families face what may be the costliest bill they can remember, handed to them on the worst day of their lives. FCA, founded in 1963, is there for them. We handle thousands of phone calls and emails from families every year. We How can I afford this funeral? What can I do if we’re choosing  between paying the rent and burying my father?

We do all this on $200,000 a year or less, with only two staff. FCA’s board and staff take pride in using our modest nest egg frugally. But effective advocacy takes money. Example: $50,000 is about enough to pay for one full-time staff position for one year. Small nonprofits with a big job rely on passionate staff to work with volunteers to do a job that looks like it took a lot more money than it did.

We know FCA can do more than maintain from year to year. And as custodians of FCA’s mission and its future, we are responsible for making sure a grown-up organization operates on a grown-up budget. Many nonprofits you probably donate to have “angel” donors who write $50,000 checks for one project alone!

We’re asking you to become an angel donor for a small organization with a huge heart. Can you give $5,000? That would pay one year’s bill for the phone lines and web hosting that allow our staff to counsel grieving families and offer free, plain-English articles on how to get through a funeral with the least worry and expense possible. Can you give $1,000? That’s enough to print the 2,000 issues  of our twice-yearly consumer help bulletin that goes to families, hospice workers, hospitals and churches.

Whatever the size of your gift, it helps enormously. And it’s tax-deductible, as we are a charity. Thank you so much for being a friend.

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