The Charity Box: An All-In-One Kiosk You’ll Want at Your Next Service
When you search Google for the phrase “donation box” you get all kinds of interesting results, like DIY wooden contraptions, wicker baskets, or ugly metal boxes meant to hold cash and checks. While those may be great solutions for a lemonade stand or 1950s fundraiser, it’s 2022. Today, people want — and expect — the ability to make donations digitally and conveniently, even at a funeral home. As a deathcare professional, you want to provide a simple, sophisticated solution that meets the needs of your guests, but also maximizes donations for the families you serve, serves multiple purposes, and perhaps even generates revenue for your business. You need The Charity Box.
The Charity Box is a freestanding kiosk that serves as a guestbook and donation center for your funeral home, crematory, or event space. The Charity Box allows guests attending a viewing, funeral service, or celebration of life to easily make monetary contributions or purchase a tree or memorial product in honor of the deceased in seconds using a debit or credit card. Guests may also digitally sign the family’s guestbook at the kiosk; after the service, the system can generate multiple pdf versions of the book to be shared among loved ones.
Origins of The Charity Box
Like many recent innovations, the idea for The Charity Box came together during the pandemic. As Toby Tyler visited with friends and family members who had lost loved ones he observed the funeral home operations from a unique perspective: That of a seasoned automated teller machine (ATM) professional.
Toby and his son Mikey own and maintain thousands of ATMs across the United States, and had recently become interested in the more compact kiosk versions, such as those being used to transact cryptocurrency. Although they weren’t planning to enter that line of business, the idea of using a similar kiosk style for donations began to percolate.
“He saw the potential of using kiosks for other uses,” explains Mikey Tyler, “and using them to raise money for charities was a natural progression. My dad is involved with a group of guys who have helped raise money for charities all over our hometown of Kansas City for more than 40 years now. He’s had a toe in the water of nonprofits for a long time, so those two things — charities and the ATM industry — all just sort of merged into this idea for the funeral industry.”
The result of this ingenuity was The Charity Box, which the Tylers introduced at both the 2022 ICCFA Annual Convention & Expo in Las Vegas and at the recent NFDA International Convention & Expo in Baltimore. In addition to collaborations with a number of Kansas City funeral directors, they used these events as opportunities to gather feedback from deathcare professionals so they can continue to innovate and improve their product.
“More than anything, we just want to learn,” says Mikey Tyler. “We’re new to the deathcare space. Everyone has been so helpful and friendly, and we’re hoping as we launch that we’ve covered as many bases as possible. With any product, there’s always going to be a learning curve. But we don’t want things to go wrong on the day of a service, so we’re going to make sure everything is covered before we go live.”
The Details Matter
The Charity Box isn’t just a repository for donations or a basic guest registry. The Tylers are paying attention to every detail of The Charity Box to maximize the device’s potential, guest options and convenience, features for families, and of course, revenue opportunities for funeral home owners — all while minimizing maintenance and manpower.
“We’re orienting ourselves toward long-term partnerships with funeral homes,” says Mikey. “We’re building The Charity Box so both we and the funeral home staff will have the ability to log in, quickly upload a picture or obituary, designate the family’s preferred charities, and make edits to text immediately, on the spot.”
Rather than making a large lump sum investment in The Charity Box and becoming responsible for its upkeep, funeral home owners will be charged per service for the use of The Charity Box in their lobbies or guest spaces. The Tylers and The Charity Box team will handle the ongoing maintenance and technology updates, and will be on hand to answer your questions.
Options Are Growing
The Tylers are also striving to give funeral homes and families as many useful options as possible, from a variety of easy-to-use screen templates to the addition of applicable charitable organizations.
“We’re working with several major charities now to make donations to them available through The Charity Box,” Mikey explains. “We’re also developing a streamlined process to obtain agreements from smaller nonprofits like local charities or churches in order to legally accept donations on their behalf so people can really give in a meaningful way at these funerals.”
At the conclusion of a service, rather than presenting the family with an envelope of checks and cash for them to deliver to their designated charities, donations will be made directly and digitally to the organizations through The Charity Box. Families will receive a detailed list of contributions that were made at the kiosk in memory of their loved one.
More Than Giving
The guestbook feature of The Charity Box solves a problem that has plagued families for decades: Deciding who gets the guest register after a funeral and where it should be kept.
“We’ve heard from people that nobody ever knows where the guestbook is,” relates Mikey. “You know, they want to look up a name or try to remember something, but one of the kids has it, it’s buried in an attic somewhere. Hopefully the person holds on to it, but nobody ever knows. And some people get annoyed that there’s only one copy.”
The Charity Box solves this problem by digitally preserving guest registrations, donations, and funeral details for later reference or to be printed. Families will receive a unique URL to a dedicated memorial webpage they can share on social media and access anytime.
Eliminating a physical guestbook doesn’t mean eliminating a source of revenue, either. Funeral Homes can set the cost for using The Charity Box to cover their own charges as well the cost of using it for donations and as a guestbook. These are still services you are providing for a family, even though they’re digital — and that’s not a bad thing.
“When you think about the way our grandparents or great-grandparents experienced a funeral, it’s almost identical to what you would experience today,” explains Mikey. “And in a lot of ways, that’s good, because it’s good to have traditions and things that bind us together. But we’re hoping that just a bit of technology can ease the burden on people when they’re suffering and increase the amount of good that could come out of these sad events when they happen.”
Reach Out Today
If you’re interested in placing The Charity Box in your facility, or if you just want to learn more, visit www.thecharitybox.com, request a call on the website, or give Mikey and Toby Tyler and their team a call at (913) 744-0656 today!