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A Charitable Gift
A death notice or obituary may include the expressions "in lieu
of flowers, please send donations to (CHARITY NAME)" or "family and
friends are making contributions to..." Though these phrases
encourage a charitable gift, they do not mean another expression of
sympathy are not appropriate. You can choose to send flowers and
make a charitable contribution. Or, if you only want to do one,
follow the family's wishes and contribute.
If you do plan on making a donation:
- Try to give at least what you would have paid for a funeral flower
- Make sure the charity knows the name and address of the family
so they can be notified about your contribution or a contribution
if you wish to donate anonymously.
- When you send a check to a charity, include a sympathy note stating
whom the donation memorializes: "This donation is in loving memory
of Josette Bordin."
- Make sure the organization has your address so they can send
you an acknowledgment that will serve as your tax receipt.
- If the family does not specify a cause or organization, choose
a nonprofit that might be meaningful to the family. You can mention
the contribution to the family in person or in a sympathy card
without specifying the donation amount: "We've remembered your dear
John with a contribution to the National Military Family
- Generally, cash is not sent directly to the family in place of
flowers or a charitable contribution. But there are always
exceptions if a family is in dire need. For example, if the
grieving family is having financial difficulties, a group (fellow
employees, club or lodge members, neighbors) could take up a
collection. Or you can try to give a donation through a clergy
member or another community leader to spare the family any feelings
that they are indebted to you.
How much should you spend on a charitable
According to Peggy Post, director and spokesperson for The Emily
Post® Institute, there is no magic number that is considered
appropriate. She suggests you get a feel for what is customary in
your area, consider how well you know the family or honoree and be
practical - think about your budget when making a donation. With
all that being said, after doing some research she found most
people spent $100 or less, with the average being about $50. If the
family asked for a donation in lieu of flowers, send what you would
have spent on flowers.
Remember to check our Heart2Soul Community to see if the family
has indicated a cause to which they would like a donation to be
made in honor of their family member. There, you can also stay up
to date on service information or provide support by leaving a
message for the family or uploading photographs.