Regardless of whether the deceased was a co-worker, friend or family member, making a donation in someone’s memory is always an appropriate and thoughtful gesture. Some families ask for donations to be made in lieu of sending flowers. Donations can be affected by the relationship shared with the deceased, circumstances surrounding the death, as well as the traditions of culture and religion. Donations are a meaningful way to honor the memory of a loved one.

Where Would Be an Appropriate Place to Make a Donation?

Many organizations accept donations in memory of a lost loved one. If a specific organization is recommended by the family, it is often mentioned in the obituary. Here are some ideas for offering your donation:

  1. Make a donation to your loved one’s favorite charity or religious organization. Offering a generous donation to the charity or religious group allows good to come on behalf of the name of the deceased. Neighbors, co-workers or members of a social organization may come together to make a significant contribution.
  2. Create a memorial fund in the person’s honor at an educational institution.  A memorial fund set up at an educational institution in memory of the loved one is a meaningful way to honor the deceased. Donations to the fund not only show respect to the departed, it makes a practical gift to needy students as they pursue their education. Making a donation or contribution to the individual’s alma mater or favorite college for the fund is a very personal way to express condolences. If the individual did not have a particular college that was special, it is also appropriate to select a local elementary, middle or high school and make a gift or contribution. Local preschools, daycares or nurseries can also benefit by this thoughtful way to remember and memorialize this individual’s life.
  3. Donate to a hospital or care organization. In many instances, prior to the death a hospital or health care organization will provide services and special care to the deceased. The hospital, nursing home or hospice care center are often non-profits that could benefit from these contribution. These organizations may use donations to enhance services provided to others in the future.  Depending on the circumstances, making a donation to the organization who spent their time making those moments as bearable as possible could provide some closure. In addition, to the organization benefiting, those who provided personal care will feel honored and a sense of pride. If the deceased passed away following a terminal disease, a donation can be made to help assist in the research necessary to find a cure. Foundations for breast cancer research or leukemia research are just two of many organizations that accept donations in memory of loved ones.
  4. Donate a brick or tile to a building project that will include the name of the deceased. Many area parks and recreation centers, as well as community building projects, allow bricks, tiles or panels to be labeled in memory of the individual who passed away and/or loved one. This type of donation makes a lasting tribute to help honor the deceased. There are also many environmental programs that allow trees to be planted in memory or in honor of someone.
  5. Donate time and service to an organization. The Red Cross, homeless shelters, and other relief organizations are but a few of the groups in the community that not only need funding support, but rely upon volunteers to staff the services. Volunteering time in honor of the deceased is an appropriate way to pay tribute.

Who Makes a Donation?

Donations are made by anyone who wants to show respect and honor for the memory of a friend or family member. Sometimes donations are made by groups of people associated with the deceased, like members of a religious or social organization, colleagues at work, or neighbors along the street.

How Much Should Be Donated?

The amount of the financial donation or contribution will be dependent upon many things, including the financial situation of the donor, the relationship shared with the deceased, and the commitment to the cause to be supported. More important than the amount, a donation of any size honors the relationship with the deceased and perpetuates remembrance within the organization. If financial support is not possible, many organizations can use the donation of the time and assistance of volunteers. Contact the group and ask if they would be needing help for a special project or ongoing need, and offer the time in memory of the deceased.

When Should a Donation Be Made?

There is no set time to honor someone’s memory through a donation, though some traditions may encourage specific times for giving. Some will choose to donate immediately upon hearing the news of the death, while others may wait until the funeral or days following.