Our Mission, Model, and Impact
Tender Funerals is a not-for-profit funeral service model that offers choice and transparency in delivering personalised, meaningful and affordable funerals in times that can create financial or emotional distress, and community education and empowerment around after death care.
Tender Funerals was created to provide authentic, affordable, beautiful funerals, without compromising the quality of the process and experience for grieving friends and family.
We empower members of the community in an inclusive manner and recognise their right to participate in the funeral process. We seek to honour and respect the dignity of the deceased, their family, their friends and their community.
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.
Our first replication – Tender Funerals Mid North Coast – opened on the mid north coast of NSW in June 2022.
Tender Funerals Australia is currently working with communities to establish Tender Funerals services in Brisbane, Canberra, Eastern Melbourne, Far North Queensland, Newcastle, Perth, Tasmania and Western Sydney.
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.
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. According to data published by Finder the average cost of a mainstream funeral in Australia is around $7,300. 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. The average cost of a Tender funeral is around $2,800 (not including burial or cremation). Because we believe transparency is critical we openly share our pricing.
At the core of Tender Funerals is our mission to provide funeral services to those in our community who may be experiencing financial hardship. Through our Benevolent Fund we offer a concession rate to families experiencing financial hardship. This 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 around 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