Caring for bereaved supporters in a crisis

4 May 2020

Whether you're communicating with existing in-memory supporters, or dealing with families that have been recently bereaved, there's little doubt that the current climate makes everything that much more difficult. We all want to help as best we can, and continue to build strong relationships with supporters for the future, but how? We share some valuable insight from Catherine Betley, founder of GriefChat, the online bereavement support organisation.

Bereavement in isolation

The situation we now find ourselves in will enhance what your bereaved supporters are feeling at the moment. Their support networks aren't available, making everything that much harder - there's no popping round for a cup of tea and a friendly ear from family.

The overall feeling of grief and loss in society, loss of freedom, of work, whatever it might be, will cause bereaved supporters to feel echo grief, relieving their loss over and over. Recently bereaved supporters will likely have had to adapt their bereavement rituals, even if temporarily, it's likely they won't have been able to grieve in the way they normally would.

Some may welcome this change, while many may plan belated celebrations of life when restrictions end. Some may even be in shock because these rituals haven't been able to happen.

We hope that our tribute pages are a helpful way for anyone planning a belated celebration of life to co-ordinate with their families, and may lessen the impact of any missed events.

Communicating in a crisis

  • Create the same personal connections that you normally have with supporters through good information, phone calls, Facebook groups, webinars - use any technology you can to reach out and connect with supporters at the moment.
  • Supporter care now is more important than ever, not necessarily to ask for donations, but to build lifelong supporter relationships. Use personal communication to do this rather than mass comms
  • What can you offer? Anything you can offer that is of help to your beneficiaries will not only help get the conversation started but will be of comfort in these difficult times.
  • Supporters still want to be involved, by sharing messages or photos, or talking about their loved ones. If you can offer them opportunities to remember and celebrate the life of their loved ones this can cement their long term support and encourage future fundraising and donations. MuchLoved is the natural platform for this, and has the added bonus of allowing donations at the same time
  • If you know a particular day or date will be difficult for a bereaved supporter do contact them, now is the time to send messages of support
  • Give opportunities to remember. Anything you can do which honours the lives and celebrates the lives of those lost, gives bereaved people opportunity to remember will be very gratefully received
  • Empathise don't sympathise. It's hard to do, be with the person telling their story, but don't be part of their story. You can show care and understanding while still separating yourself
  • Offer practical support. Many bereavement support services have closed, churches aren't meeting, mental health services aren't open - lots of normal support avenues aren't there right now. Anything you can offer to support bereaved people will be of help, including signposting onwards to anything still available. If you have GriefChat installed on your website (free for Optimum partners) then don't forget to mention this as a great support tool
  • Refresh your bereavement care information; so many services have changed, this needs to be up-to-date to be of help to those bereaved.

And finally

We couldn't write this post without mentioning our services. The person who has died and their family are at the heart of everything that MuchLoved does, that's the reason we were created and why we do what we do. At the moment memorialising loved ones, and offering ways to remember them is more important than ever. Creating a MuchLoved tribute page is something practical and bespoke that you can offer your families, and lets them celebrate the life of their loved ones.

If your supporters aren't quite ready for a tribute page of their own, why not create a dedication page they can leave a message on? These are a shared page that you create, where people can simply add memories and a photo, with or without donations.

Free for our Optimum Partners they are a great way to help your supporters if they don't want to set up a tribute page. Have a look at our own dedication page, set-up for those bereaved by coronavirus to see how they can be used.

Finally, of course, there is GriefChat, the online bereavement support experts. Again free for Optimum MuchLoved partners GriefChat is a chat pop-up box that can be easily added to your website, and something else tangible to offer your supporters.

To find out more about either dedication pages or setting up GriefChat contact our support team on 01494 722818 or email support@muchloved.com

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© The MuchLoved Charitable Trust 2020, all rights reserved. The MuchLoved Charitable Trust is a UK Registered Charity No. 1118590.
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