There are many reasons that a cemetery may fall into ruin. Elderly relatives struggling to care for loved one's graves and families moving away from the area are but a few. If these are matched by a lack of funds to pay for maintenance, it can take no more than a few seasons before the area is overgrown and has fallen into disarray.
If this has happened to your local cemetery, and you're wondering what you can do to address the problem, read on. Cemetery restoration can be expensive, but there are ways to mitigate the costs. This guide will help start you off on the right track.
Create a Cemetery Restoration Committee
This is not a job you can do by yourself—you'll need as many people on board as possible. Talk to organisations attached to the cemetery, such as religious groups and local funeral homes. Ask them to help you form a committee. You can then broaden the recruitment drive, speaking to local community groups, schools and local retailers. Once you have a committee, you can start fundraising.
Fundraising today has never been easier with the internet. Your first step should be to open a funding page on one of the many reputable crowdfunding platforms. Create a page that expresses your hopes for the cemetery and conveys its importance to the community. Add photos and as much info as possible to allow people to connect with the space in the way that you have. Share this fundraising page online with as many local organisations as possible. Encourage them to share with their friends, families and customers. The more shares you get, the more money you're likely to raise.
Ask local schools and community groups to hold fundraising events. Sponsored walks, school bake sales, and second-hand book fairs are all great ways to add funds to the pot. Get local companies and retail shops to help out too. Fundraising buckets can be added to places for people to drop their loose change in.
Organise Volunteer Clearing Days
Ask the local schools and community centres to get volunteer groups together. Getting children involved is a great way to teach them about the importance of community and teamwork. Organise clearing days over weekends and ask people to bring foods and drinks to share. Start by dividing up the cemetery and work on clearing it section by section. Begin with the simple jobs of clearing weeds and refuse. This will have an immediate impact on the look of the cemetery. You can then see just what other work is needed and direct the funds you've raised appropriately.