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How to send group flowers to a wake or funeral

Quick summary:

  • FInd common friends on Facebook
  • tell them what you plan to do
  • get financial commitments from them
    • Update: use Venmo instead and make them pay by app, which is easy
    • This is the only way I do this now, after losing about 10-20% each time I do this
  • call funeral home to find 2 florists local to the funeral home
  • call florist
    • get an arrangement that costs EXACTLY the amount of money that you have, including taxes, delivery, et cetera
    • get an arrangement that WON'T be bigger than those of the family, even if it has to be broken into 2 or 3 arrangements

Details:

  • FInd common friends on Facebook
    • go to the Facebook page of the friend whose relative is deceased
    • click on Friends
    • Find mutual friends
    • bulid an email to them
    • I put the mutual list of friends in one window, and type their names one by one in another window
    • Speed tip: type in the most unique part of each name. In other words, if the name is "Greg Sarno", type in "sar" and his name will show up first. assuming you know only one Sarno and multiple Greg's. Use the arrow to scroll down, then hit Enter.
      • note that Facebook is very unreliable in sending emails to multiple people. It shoudl work for up to 50 people at a time, but sometimes it just doesn't work, and for no reason. I've had to drop it to as few as 5 at a time to get it to work, bt you can always say "Add people" on the right to put more people on the list.
    • It should say something like:

Subject: group flowers for XXXXXX’s father’s wake on Thursday

Folks,

As you may know, XXXXXX’s father died, and the wake is today (Tuesday) in Dedham, MA. I am sending this to a random set of his mutual friends on Facebook.

The obituary says to send a contribution to charity in lieu of flowers, but I figured that if a bunch of us kicked in $10, we could send flowers from a group of us, and he’d appreciate it without it taking away from the charity idea.
Here’s the deal:

- if you want to contribute to flowers, send $10 to me through Venmo
- I probably have to know by noon, since the wake starts at 5:00
- when I get about 10-20 replies, I’ll send a bouquet of flowers from the people on the list
- couples pay $20 to both be listed
- VENMO me the money to <your Venmo address)
- Venmo is a simple app that requires very little set up other than a credit card
- Alternatively mail $10 CASH to me (no checks) to

<YOUR ADDRESS>

Feel free to add names for anyone else as long as you send me the money for them and work it out with them later. I'll also let you know when I stop taking money and someone else can do another set.

More information, including wake and funeral info, is at
<PUT URL>

  • I no longer accept cash, since I've lost 10-20% every time I've done this, since some people don't pay, assuming they'll see you someday
  • call funeral home to find 2 florists local to the funeral home
  • check Yelp or Google reviews for both florists, pick the best
  • call florist
    • get an arrangement that costs EXACTLY the amount of money that you have, including taxes, delivery, et cetera
    • get an arrangement that WON'T be bigger than those of the family, even if it has to be broken into 2 or 3 arrangements
    • get their email address, and send them an email with all of the names of all of the donors

The follow up email:

  • when I call the funeral home, i send an email to the list, saying:

    Folks,

    I’m freezing this. You contributed $590 toward flowers for Mike’s father’s flowers, which means a few things:

    - please check to see if your name is spelled correctly at http://www.patrickomalley.com/webb.html since that is the list I will give to the florist
    - you will get a cold drink in hell someday for being nice
    - you can use <CTRL/F> to find your name quickly
    - you’re still going to hell. I can’t save you, but I will send you drinks from my VIP room in heaven
    - people are in the order that they sent me money

    I talked to Mike, and he agreed that $590 is too much for flowers, so we will use $250 on flowers, and send the rest to his father’s charity, the VA hospital.

    The obituary is at http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/bostonglobe/obituary.aspx?n=edward-s-cahalane&pid=190211453&fhid=15270

 

Going a step beyond:

  • Each of your friends will also have mutual friends with your Facebook friend, but they are probably different than yours.
  • You can ask them to add more people to the exact same message by telling them to do the following:
    • in one window, open the message
    • in a second window, go to the Facebook page of your friend, and click Friends", then Mutual friends
    • they can then go to the right hand side of the message and add people to the list by clicking the "+" and adding names
      • it is best if they add new names in bunches of at least a dozen, since each addition or group of addions will add a new line to the message for everyone

Tech Tips:

  • getting JUST a list of names from Venmo is difficult, since most of its interfaces allow you to copy and paste with unnecessary text
  • the best way to get just a list of names (to pass to the funeral home) is convoluted:
    • go to your webpage on Venmo
    • click on "Statements"
    • look for the last 30 days (although it doesn't always have the most recent transfers)
    • click "Download CSV", which doesn't work
    • it will download a file, but that file won't have a CSV filetype, so it won't work
    • change the filename to have a CSV filetype
    • if you then open it with Excel, it won't work initially, but will work eventualy
    • copy the column that has the names of the paying friends

For people who say "but I don't have Venmo":

  • then send your own flowers
  • inevitably, about 10% of the people don't want to spend 5 minutes setting up Venmo, and want to send checks, cash, paypal, BOA, or be put on a monthly payment plan.
  • Here's the long winded email I sent one of them:

Doing this is a pain in the ass. I'm amazing with computers, and it still takes me 3-5 hours every time I have to do one. I have to deal with at least 5 bugs every time I do one, but I've figured out a system that minimizes my wasted time, and no longer makes me lose money.

For Mike I had to type in 160 common Facebook friends, then process 62 payments. For Webby, it will be about 60 and 30. If everyone does Venmo, I can download the list of people, put it on my web page, and give that list to the florist.

If I let people use cash, checks, BOA, paypal, and Venmo, then I have to assemble lists from 5 different places. I'm not doing it. It take FIVE minutes and a credit card to set up Venmo.

If you want to do these in the future, I've literally written up a whole web page on all the steps, and you can do it instead of me. I'll send you the $10. You can take as many payments as you want.

The only reason I wrote this is that I can now cut and paste it to the 3-5 people every time that don't feel like joining Venmo.

 


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