Monday, 6 August 2012

An appeal to the universe

I left my job at the end of June 2011. It was a joyous and liberating moment. I had chosen to venture into the unknown and try to do something I would be proud of. This would take the form of a number of projects about death.

Fast forward over a year and I am proud to have been a part of some really amazing things. I set up Death Cafe and have held 19 events in the UK, to which over 150 people have come. I produced a Guide to running your own Death Cafe which resulted in other people setting up their own Death Cafes, both in the UK and the United States. I am hearing from new people setting up their own death awareness projects on a daily basis.

OK, so here it is. I've spent my redundancy money on getting this work to this point. I now have to find a way of paying the bills and dealing with my number one priority - supporting my family.

So I'm going to have to get a job. Poor me. I am not moaning about this but there is no doubt that I will not be able to spend nearly as much time on death work.

My dream is to be able to continue to develop these projects. That is where I find joy. I believe this work is and will continue to make meaningful change to people's lives. I am sure it has a long, long way to run yet.

So before the absolute crunch, before there is no alternative but to do something else, I have decided to ask the universe for help. In this case the universe consists of you!

I'm somewhat uncomfortable doing this but I'd like to ask you the following questions:
- Do you know of any organisations or individuals who might fund the development of Death Cafe?
- Are you moved by this work and want to support it financially? If so please see our new donate page.
- Would you or an organisation you know of be interested in sponsoring Death Cafes or offering them to a specific group?
- Are you able to help communicate this work to others who may be interested of what we're doing?

If your answer is 'yes' to any of these please do get in contact. This project needs your help!

Alternatively your good wishes for this work and messages of support are very much appreciated too :)

Jon (founder of Death Cafe)


  1. Hey Jon. I'd love to see you able to continue this valuable work full time. Have you looked into Kickstarter? The trick with them is to have two things: one is a *great* video that captures attention and tugs at heartstrings, and the other is a *great* and fairly specific focus for the funding--like increasing the number of death cafes presented, renting a permanent place, do a video documentary of a death cafe, turning your instructions into a larger, more complete book-like object, etc. I think your work is a natural for Kickstarter, but the folks there can give you a lot more information and feedback on how to define a project and a campaign. Best of luck in all this!

    1. Thanks Nora.

      Yes, full time is the dream but feels a long way away at the moment! We've had some experience with Kickstarter that hasn't been that great but would certainly consider a fundraising platform like that . Maybe the biggest hurdle is lacking the clarity to make a clear ask at this point. Thank you for your support. I find it very challenging to publicly request support like this!


  2. check this out:
    I was a student as SSE in Sydney when setting up it helped heaps and it connected me with other people with a similar mindset.
    good luck!

    1. Thanks Kerrie,

      I will definitely check our the School of Social Entrepreneurs. They look really interesting and have an awards programme and some good courses coming up.

      One of the best things about doing this work is getting to know some really great people and hear about some great stuff that's going on. The Groundswell Project certainly falls into that category.

      Thanks again,


  3. Jon, I don't think you should feel the teeniest qualm about requesting support. It's a good thing to wear one's ragged arse on one's sleeve, as it were. It's a sort of coming clean thing, and it makes people even fonder of you. Don't underestimate the number of people who would like to support you. And if you slog your way through this admirable tome you may find someone who'd support you. There are some pretty niche-bonkers trusts out there established by fine old eccentrics not unlike your good self, and one of them may be right up your street.

    I'm going to seek out your button right now. And I am, of course, very willing and happy to give you all the oxygen I can over at the GFG.

    Good luck with the new job. You will continue to become, I am sure of it. And your work will go on.

    Best wishes,


  4. John,
    Thank you for your passion and commitment to your vision. I'm curious if you have a business plan? If, like many, you have an ad version to making your mission into a business, think of it as a roadmap. Kickstarter and grants are out there but you need a more formalized plan especially for grants.
    Are you a corporation?
    There are many directions to take this amazing effort, so my want is for you to make a plan and go for it!

  5. I think the universe might just have responded :)


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