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How to Donate to Charity in Someone's Memory

Donating to a charity in memory of someone is a great way of honoring the person who has passed on and an excellent way of recognizing their contributions. The best charities are often those that have a personal connection, so you should try to find something that would be meaningful to the person who passed.

Memorial donation ideas

When deciding on a charity to donate to, there are a few things to consider to ensure you're making a donation to a cause that's related to what the person who passed away would have wanted. Here are some questions to get you started:

  • Does the family have a specific fund set up already with a charity?
  • If not, is there a charity the person who passed away volunteered for or was passionate about?
  • Is there a charity that helped your loved one during their time of need?
  • Is there a charity that helps others with needs similar to those of the person who passed away? (For example, if the person who passed away had cancer, you could consider donating to American Cancer Society.)
  • Is there a charity that has a cause related to something the person who passed away was passionate about?
  • Is there a local community charity that supports the efforts the person who passed away cared about?
  • Is there a charity you're passionate about that seems in line with what the person who passed away supported?
  • Is there a charity that's doing work in an area the person who passed away always wanted to participate in, but didn't get the chance to?
  • Is there an organization you're a part of that the deceased was passionate about or had interest in?
  • Is there something the deceased always wanted to do that you could enable others to do?

These questions can help you identify charities that may be worth making a memorial donation to.

Memorial donation etiquette

Let's say you answered all the above questions and have identified a few charities. What now? Which charity should you donate to and how much should you donate? These are some common questions surrounding etiquette that you may have.

How much to donate

When you donate in memory of someone, the family is most often touched by the fact that you chose to donate in the first place. The amount of money you decide to donate isn’t usually very important; it’s the gesture that counts. Keep in mind that these donations are being made in memory of someone and do not need to be extravagant. A good rule of thumb for the amount to give is to donate the amount of money you would've otherwise spent on sending flowers to the family -- usually around $100. However, if you’re able to give more and want to, there’s no reason to hold back. Similarly, if you’re only able to make a small donation, that can be just as meaningful.

Where to donate

If you aren't sure how to make a donation in memory of someone, one of the first places to check is the memorial website. Many families on Ever Loved set up their memorial website to direct donations to a specific charity or cause, making it easy for you to make your donation and leave a condolence -- all in one spot. Some families may choose to list multiple charities, leaving it up to you to decide which one you'd like to donate to.

If there isn't a memorial website set up, you may be able to get information from a newspaper obituary. Obituaries generally contain information about where donations can be made if the family has a chosen charity. This information is usually included at the end or near the end.

If there's no charity of choice and you're left to choose one on your own, it can help to double check that you're making a donation to a reputable charity that will use the funds for good. If you're looking for more in depth information about the charity's statistics to help you make your decision, it can help to reference a charity database such as Charity Ratings.

When to donate

In general, it's a good idea to donate as soon as a memorial website is put up or as soon as a family announces the charity they'd like donations to be made to. If there isn't a memorial website or there isn't a charity chosen, you can choose your own charity and make the donation soon after the individual has passed. Checking on the memorial website first (or with the family first) is good practice since they may be working with a specific charity or organization to set up a fund in memory of their loved one.

Notifying the family

If you've made a memorial donation on Ever Loved, there's no need to notify the family of your donation, since that's handled automatically. Once you make a donation on Ever Loved, the family is immediately notified both on the site and by email. If you're donating to a specific charity's website, the notification process may be a little different and there's no guarantee that they'll notify the family of your donation (especially if the family doesn't have a specific fund set up or hasn't been in touch with the charity). In these cases, you may feel compelled to write your own acknowledgement letter to the family for a donation in memory of their loved one. If you haven't written one before, you'll generally want to send the family a sympathy card that includes the fact that a donation was made in memory of their loved one. The specific wording for your memorial donation can vary, but you should avoid focusing on the amount.

Sample donation letter in memory of someone

If you're not sure what to write when making a donation in memory of someone or you aren't sure if the charity you donated to sends out memorial donation letters to the family, here's an example of a sympathy card you could send:

Dear [family name],

I want to start off by saying I am so, so sorry for your loss. [First name] was an inspiration to all and will be fondly remembered, always missed. We will never forget our time at [location], [first name] always made it such a joy to be there.

In honor of [First name], we've made a contribution to [charity name]. You should receive an acknowledgement sometime soon.

You and yours are always in our thoughts, please know that we are always here for you.

All our love, [Your names]

If there isn’t a memorial website up for the person you’re considering making a donation for, it can be a huge help for you to set up a memorial website for the family. Setting up a memorial website can be done in minutes and is easy to make, use, and share. Once you’ve finished setting it up, you can add the family as managers to the site so that they have involvement and administrative access. Setting up a memorial website can be a huge help to a family that’s already overwhelmed by tasks.

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Last updated July 11, 2022
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