Tender Funerals

Funerals can be a positive experience that helps promote healing for grieving friends and family. They can also be a major cause of financial hardship, particularly for people already experiencing financial disadvantage. On average, funerals cost between $7,000 and $8,000 – but can reach up to between $15,000 and $20,000. 

In response to this issue, Tender Funerals was established in Port Kembla, NSW, in 2016 to offer personalised, meaningful and affordable funerals to people across the Illawarra region. Its not-for-profit funeral service model proved successful, providing over 300 personalised and authentic funerals that saved the community over $1.5 million in three years.  

By 2018, Tender Funerals saw demand to scale its not-for-profit funeral model nationally. At the same time, a coalition of organisations asked SVA Consulting to lead an initiative to solve the hardship people experience as they prepared for funerals. SVA Consulting and Tender began to explore how more Australians could access meaningful and affordable funerals, working closely with SEFA around establishing new sites and potential funding models.

The project (icon)
The project

Over four years we worked in partnership with Tender Funerals to explore, design and implement an approach to scale the Tender social enterprise model nationally.  

The objective (icon)
The objective

The Tender Funerals model has community at the centre. For replication to be effective, communities themselves needed to own the process of establishing and operating a ‘Tender’. This required a national not-for-profit body to guide and support communities, as well as a structure to enable replication. The goal was to engage up to 10 communities across Australia to begin the journey to establish a Tender Funeral.  

The role we played

We partnered with Tender Funerals to design the approach and structure for replication, then to walk alongside as this was implemented. This included: 

  • Developing a strategy for scaling the model.
  • Supporting the establishment of a new national charity, Tender Funerals Australia, to lead scaling and support communities (including incorporation of the new entity and achieving charitable registration). 
  • With pro-bono legal support from Herbert Smith Freehills, developing a social franchise structure to enable replication.
  • Supporting Tender Funerals Australia to document the intellectual property/toolkit to establish a Tender Funerals service.
  • Assisting Tender Funerals Australia to develop the network of community working groups planning a Tender Funerals service.
  • Facilitating pro-bono legal support from King & Wood Mallesons for each community to incorporate and take on the Tender social franchise for their community.
  • Walking alongside Tender as it raised capital and philanthropic funding for both Tender Funerals Australia and the individual communities sites.
  • Providing ongoing strategy support and approaches to determine the impact of the growing Tender network.

Jenny Briscoe-Hugh posing for a photo

“SVA [Consulting] has been a vital part of Tender Funerals Australia establishment and growth over the last 4 years. Over this time we have, among other things, forged a new organisation, built a business model, developed a social franchise agreement, gained our PBI, built a financial modelling system and an outcomes framework. We have worked in respectful collaboration through many challenges. With the support, expertise, incredible care that Emily, Lou and Sameera have provided we have been able to continue to grow the Tender model, maintaining its integrity and values while at the same time interrogating our process and being accountable to our outcomes. We are grateful for their continued support and wisdom.”

Jennifer Briscoe-Hough
General Manager, Tender Funerals Australia

Our impact (icon)
Project impact

The SVA–Tender partnership continues. The first new Tender Funerals site opened on the NSW mid-north coast earlier in 2022. Tender Funerals Australia is working with communities in Brisbane, Canberra, Eastern Melbourne, Far-North Queensland, Newcastle, Perth, Tasmania and Western Sydney to establish Tender Funerals services and a further nine communities have expressed interest.

SVA Consulting is also working on the development of an innovative savings model to support people to prepare financially for their funeral, particularly people in First Nations communities. Aiming to be available nationally in 2023, the philanthropic Funeral Safety Net will encourage people to save into a dedicated funerals savings bond, then provide a top-up payment to their families alongside the money saved, should the person pass away before reaching $5,000 in savings.

Find out more about the Tender Funerals story:
ABC TV’s Australian StoryA Community Undertaking‘ in June 2022

« Back to Our Clients