Why GatheringUs?

  • Welcome to the GatheringUs blog, where we go through the nuances and details of preparing to celebrate the life of your loved one. Here, we drill down on particular topics, such as writing the obituary, personalizing the ceremony and eulogy, choosing the venue, and the challenges of family politics. First things first, though - WHY did we make this tool?

     

    GatheringUs is a forum for gathering communities at the time of a death. During these times, we are often at our saddest and most in need of help. Over the last few years, I've had the honor and task of putting together 5 funerals (or 8, depending on how you count), and each and every time I thought, "I sure could use a tool to get this all organized." Eventually I made that tool, and now I'm sharing it so that others can use it.

     

    Use it to do what? Well, there's just so much. At a time of someone's death, there's so much information to share. I've had to call a hundred people to let them know of a loved one's passing, which is grueling enough. Then I coordinated with key family and friends about the timing and location of the service, arranged a venue, and once that was decided, I had to call those 100 people back to share all that information. The "phone chain" technique works, but takes so much time, can easily breakdown, and sometimes leads to headaches (like when "Uncle Johnny" gets angry that I asked "Aunt Audrey" for her opinion before I asked for his).

     

    GatheringUs offers a shared space that everyone can access to organize all of the people in your community, with the ability to create private groups for the key decision makers, and tools to disseminate all the key public details as they become available. It’s an iterative process, so you can update information in real time. And everyone in your community can see what’s happening and get updates on their phone or computer by logging in to GatheringUs.com.

     

    Often when a loved one passes, many people want to chip in, but few know exactly how. I remember one funeral where 30 bouquets of flowers arrived, but somehow no one thought to bring coffee. With GatheringUs’s events tool, you can add a wish-list of things needed for each event, so that your community can feel good about chipping in, while checking things off the list. And you can be certain there's enough coffee to go around.

     

    Perhaps the feature I most wanted for GatheringUs is crowdfunding. Funerals can be shockingly expensive (though we offer tips on ways to help keep costs down). With crowdfunding, family and friends can easily contribute in an unambiguously helpful way, helping to cover funeral costs or supporting the bereaved in the days and weeks after their loved one's passing. Communities can also choose to donate funds to a charity or create a legacy or memorial fund.

     

    At GatheringUs, we hope to help communities gather - on & offline, to find personal and meaningful ways to commemorate loved ones, and begin healing.

     

    - Noha Waibsnaider, Founder, GatheringUs.com

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