Should I Send a Donation or Send Flowers?

Man with a phone in his hand; "Make a donation" on the screen

Many obituaries now conclude with a statement that donations to a certain charity are appreciated in lieu of flowers. This may reflect the wishes of the deceased or the surviving family members. What is the etiquette in such a circumstances? Here are a few guidelines:

  1. If you choose to make a donation in honor of the deceased, it is best to do so within two weeks of the memorial service. This allows the family to be aware of donations that have come in and to send any acknowledgements if they choose.
  2. Make sure to indicate that your donation is in memory of the individual. It is best to include the name of the person and an address of a family member where the charity can send a notification of the donation. This is also important even if you are making the donation anonymously. When donating online, look for a section where you can include this information.
  3. Don’t choose your own cause or charity to donate in their honor if there has been a charity specified. If no charity has been designated and you would like to make a donation in lieu of flowers, you can choose where to donate. Some options to consider are medical charities, alma maters or cause related organizations that relate to the deceased.
  4. Sometimes families may request that donations are needed to help pay for funeral related expenses. They may set up a Go Fund Me account for this purpose. If so, they will provide the proper information and links for donations.
  5. The issue of the proper amount to donate always seems to come into question. Basically, the simple answer is any amount is acceptable and appreciated. If you choose to give, give only what you can and you are comfortable giving. A $5 donation from one individual can mean as much as a much larger gift from another.

Designating a charity for donations in honor of those who have passed has become very common today. However, if you are more comfortable sending flowers, you can certainly do so. You may want to check with the funeral home or a family member to find the best place to send them.