Our model, Values and Impact

Our Credo

A Community Undertaking

At Tender Funerals, kindness is our compass in everything we do.

Every day our community make informed choices aligned with their own values.

We will always be a not-for-profit and we will always be community-owned.

The power of informed choice:

  • Most of us don’t know what we don’t know.
  • Choice starts with a conversation to identify what is needed and what is possible.
  • We encourage all voices to be heard and inform meaningful decisions.
  • We affirm the choice to participate in the way that is right for each person.
  • Informed choice can include pre-planning of after-death care and options.
  • Your needs may change as you move through the process, and so your decisions can too. Take all the time you need.

Strength of community:

  • An informed and empowered community knows what to do when one of their own dies.
  • At Tender Funerals we open opportunities for people to recognise and connect with their community to look after their own.
  • We believe people are capable.
  • Capacity is developed as we learn together with knowledge embedded in the community.
  • We are a community venture, existing to redefine value.

Kindness is our compass:

  • It is a kindness to provide transparent options and support people in their decisions as to what is best for them.
  • We walk beside each other to build each other up.
  • At Tender we operate from a place of neutrality – so people can be just as they are.
  • We pride ourselves on operating ethically. 

Our Strategic Narrative:

Because

Many Australians pay high prices for funerals and don’t have the experience they want to have and end up going into debt
as a result

we believe

no one should be unable to access meaningful, affordable funerals and feel empowered to make the decisions that are right for them

so we provide

a network of support for communities interested in setting up a local Tender Funerals, a not for profit funeral service that provides customised affordable funeral services

that leads to

individuals and communities across the country having meaningful and empowering experiences that don’t leave them in large amounts of debt

and results in

an Australia where families and communities are able to farewell loved ones in a meaningful way, without experiencing financial hardship or distress

“My family chose Ashleigh and the team at Tender Funerals to be the directors at my father’s funeral. From the first meeting, we were put at ease with the kind and patient approach they had with organising a funeral at such a devastating and highly emotional time for our family. Post-meeting, Ashleigh had my father into her care that afternoon and offered us a large range of extra services that they could supply, most of which I didn’t know of and other companies did not supply. Those extra services like washing and dressing my father and having the time with his body to say a private goodbye, nothing was ever any trouble for Ashleigh to organize and we were very grateful to have been given the time and compassion to have all our wishes met. It allowed us to grieve in a safe and supportive place and it made the whole professional process they provide stress and worry-free. I would definitely recommend choosing Tender Funerals for your loved ones to give them the last goodbye they deserve.”

— Alison Curry, a member of the Tender Funerals Illawarra community

Our Model

The original Tender Funerals Illawarra and Sydney was established in 2016 in Port Kembla, NSW by Our Community Project (OCP) to provide funeral services to those in need.

Tender Funerals Australia was established as a not-for-profit to support and resource a network of Tender Funerals services – the Tender Funerals Network – based on the original operational model developed by OCP. Expressions of interest to start a Tender Funerals service must come from a community and the community is involved at every step of establishing, owning, and operating the service.

Tender Funerals services are not-for-profits and operate as franchises of Tender Funerals Australia. Tender Funerals has developed a unique social franchising agreement that binds Network members to operate in accordance with the principles of the Tender Funerals Credo, Vision Statement, business model and manual. Their common aim is to ensure that people in financial need are able to access affordable, customisable funeral services.

Under the social franchising agreement, Tender Funerals Australia provides Network members with key intellectual property, capacity building and specialised training. There is an upfront fee associated with entering the social franchising arrangement, as well as a small per-funeral fee. The sole purpose of these fees is to cover the support provided by Tender Funerals Australia and they have been kept as low as possible to ensure accessibility.

Our Impact

Tender Funerals achieves impact primarily through delivering affordable funerals that do not compromise the quality of the process and experience for grieving friends and family.

Funerals can be a major cause of financial hardship, particularly for people already experiencing financial disadvantage. There is currently a lack of affordable and meaningful funeral options available to communities across Australia. Choice Magazine has found that the average cost of the cheapest funeral package from the leading commercial funeral providers is between $5,600 and $9,100. Anecdotally we have heard of people paying up to $15,000 for a funeral. As a result of the high cost of funerals, an increasing number of families are going into debt to pay for a funeral.

While affordability is key, equally important is providing a meaningful funeral experience that supports healthy bereavement. The high cost of funerals means many families aren’t able to have the funeral they want to have. They may choose cremation because they believe a burial is too expensive or opt for a lower-cost funeral package from a commercial provider that doesn’t meet their, or their loved one’s wishes. Tender Funerals is different from other funeral services in that our model supports families to have the funeral that’s right for them at a cost that is affordable.

Tender Funerals operates using a not-for-profit model. We only charge what it costs to deliver the services requested. The average cost of a Tender funeral is between $3,000 and $4,500. Because we believe transparency is critical, we openly share our pricing as requested.

At the core of Tender Funerals is our mission to provide funeral services to those in our community who may be experiencing financial hardship. We have developed a model to make our services more accessible by offering a concession rate to families experiencing financial hardship. Our model is made viable by the families who use Tender Funerals and can afford to pay full price and is further supported via donations from the community.

Our impact is measured by the extent to which we achieve the following outcomes:

• Individuals and families have more affordable funerals

• Individuals and families participate in elements of the funeral

• Individuals and families are informed about their options

• Families had the experience they wanted to have

• Communities are engaged with Tender and Tender is engaged with the community

• The culture around death and dying is changing for the better in the community