Alpha This is a new service – your feedback will help us to improve it.

Contributed by
St. Paul's Cathedral

Overview

In May 2020, with external support, St Paul’s Cathedral set up Remember Me, an online memorial, to help people remember those individuals they had lost due to COVID-19 and to deal with the overwhelming sense of grief and isolation caused by the ever-increasing death toll of the pandemic.

Remember Me is for all faiths and none and will be open for entries for as long as is needed.

Recipe status

This recipe has been in use since May 2020.

We are not sharing this recipe as the perfect solution to a problem, but we believe St. Paul's Cathedral’s learnings could be very useful to other organisations.

Users and needs served

  • As a service user, I need a public space where I can remember the person I have lost during COVID-19, a space that will allow me to share the memorial with others whilst I am unable to gather with my friends and family to remember the person who has died with a usual funeral or memorial service

Software and tools used

WordPress

WordPress is a popular website builder tool and content management system.

Cost

Free for a basic account. Business accounts are £20 per month and offer more advanced design tools, storage, plugins and 24/7 live chat.

There are also a number of pricing options to register domain names and other associated hosting costs.

For this recipe, St. Paul’s Cathedral paid hosting costs of £245+ VAT per month.

Considerations

WordPress is easy to use for both administrators and users. It can enable the project to be launched quickly and for content to be created and maintained easily.

Recipe steps

1. Consider why you are doing this

When you are initially planning to provide an online memorial, consider why your charity wants to do this and how your brand fits into this service.

This can form the basis of what you feel your memorial should provide to users.

Figuring out your key motives can drive you to gather support from funders/donors, especially if you are working on little or no budget.

2. Get support for your project

Make the most of the existing networks that you have to gain support for your project and connect with individuals who can guide your project. Having a network in place as you start the project is really important.

3. Set up a project board

This can comprise both external volunteers and/or experts, as well as your own team. As a board, you can begin to brainstorm the tricky questions, such as what is required to accept a memorial on the site?

Decide on a project board manager who has experience in leading a project, so that you have a dedicated member of staff to give the necessary attention to the project.

Other members to consider having on the board include someone to assess and manage risk, as you need to be ready if the project fails or falls short.

Have external experts available, such as technical teams or those who have more experience in dealing with subjects like grief.

Ensure that your media and PR team are briefed on the project to carry out far-reaching comms to make the memorial as inclusive as possible.

Having one or two key donors on the board is helpful not only for funding but also because they widen your network depending on the needs of the project.

4. Choose software

Be mindful of busy periods of processing the memorials – you may need more of your team to process submissions during these times and you’ll want software that is easy for everyone to use. You also want software that designers can easily make changes with.

Through WordPress, you can receive submissions in an easy format to gather information and consent that’s needed from users.

It also enables organisations to gather and retain user information such as email addresses. This can help simplify and automate the data collection process.

5. Keep your users safe

Consider risks that may be involved for the families of those departed and how you can mitigate these risks. For example, you could make it a requirement that the death certificate number is included when people want to submit a person to the memorial. This can help people stop and think about their intentions and also reduce the likelihood of any false deaths being posted.

Be aware that families can disagree on having their departed on an online memorial service, and to be respectful of those who do not wish to have their departed loved one on the site.

Some individuals may be grieving heavily to the point where they may require external help. You can put together a list of charity partners or services that are there to support individuals with their mental health and bereavement.

6. Keeping in touch with users

Consider dedicating a member of staff to the project once it is live. They can respond to queries from users, process inbound requests, and manage social media platforms to maintain connection with users.

Many users who are using your memorial service may be at the beginning of a supporter journey. Consider how you can build a continuous journey with the user to validate their grief in a delicate way. For example, you can offer them a membership for free that gives them support and benefits such as updates on the project or additional material, such as digital content and podcasts, that forms a supportive community.

While you have these contacts, you should also refrain from hard selling or pushing donations.

7. Keep your service ongoing

A memorial can sometimes be produced as a reaction to something that has happened. By keeping it an ongoing service, you can move away from it being reactive and consider the legacy.

People grieve at different times, so having a platform that will stay up indefinitely is more realistic with the behaviours that people show when they have lost someone they love.

Consider how you can enable something to happen that will be visual and powerful as a feeling of rounding off for mourners. For example, holding a physical event or memorial but ensuring that these are recorded and distributed for people to see online.

Guidance

Create a timeline for the project and see whether you’re meeting the targets that you thought you would be, to understand if something is working or not.

Consider working in partnership with other memorial projects that may be relevant. Don’t reinvent the wheel either and waste your resources.

Risks

Make sure you have filters in place and other policies for safeguarding.

Your charity’s name and brand is attached to the memorial, so you should check through every publication before it gets released on the platform for moderation.

There can be issues with family members not being happy with another member being put on the memorial. Be aware that there can be personal issues from families brought up in this instance and be sensitive to everyone who is involved.

Some people can be heavily mourning, so you might need to redirect these people to partners who support mental health and bereavement.

Points of contact

For further information about this recipe, you can contact:

Nicky Wynne, Director of Development

Sarah Brothers, Remember Me Digital Officer

Thanks

Many thanks to St. Paul's Cathedral for contributing this recipe.

Licence

This recipe is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International Licence.

That means you are free to copy, redistribute, and build on the text of this recipe, but only for non-commercial purposes (if you want to use it for commercial purposes, get in touch with us at [email protected]). You must give credit to both Catalyst and St. Paul's Cathedral and link back to this page. If you build on this recipe then you must share your version under this same licence.

Recipe published on April 6th, 2021. Last updated April 7th, 2021