It is increasingly popular for families to request a memorial donation in the name of a loved one in lieu of flowers for final services. While sending flowers is fairly straightforward, there are some general guidelines to keep in mind when making a memorial contribution.
Families name particular organizations for a variety of reasons. It may have been a favorite charity of the deceased or perhaps one for which the departed once volunteered. Many families will choose an organization involved in research to fight a disease that may have claimed the life of the deceased.
Keep in mind that when a family requests a memorial contribution, it is best to make the gift in a timely manner, usually within 10 days of services. Even when making an anonymous contribution, make the non-profit aware of the name and address of the family so they can be notified a gift was made in the honor of their loved one.
Unless the family has specified that donations can be made to the organization of choice of the donor, gifts should be made only to the organization(s) they have named. It is completely appropriate to send a card mentioning that a contribution was made in honor of their loved one, however, the amount of the gift should not be mentioned in your personal card of condolence.
In instances where friends and family have the discretion to choose a non-profit organization, there are multiple online resources that can help you choose an appropriate charity. These include:
- The Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance – This is a non-profit organization associated with the BBB that gathers data on many national charitable organizations. It provides a good background on charitable causes and which ones may have received complaints.
- Charity Navigator – This organization seeks to improve the efficiency of a non-profit organization and tracks how over 5,000 such charitable organization spend their donations.
- American Institute of Philanthropy – Through its Charity Watch website, the AIP allows potential donors to search non-profits through a variety of criteria and includes their rankings of charitable organizations they consider to be performing well. by a variety.
In some cases, a family may appreciate a financial contribution to help with final expenses. This is most often done through the funeral home responsible for final services but families may also set up a separate bank account.
If you have any questions about a family’s wishes it can be a good idea to contact the funeral home before making a decision. Many times the funeral director will have insight into a families wishes.
At the Cincinnati Cremation Society, part of our mission is to provide families with information regarding final services and to explain the benefit of cremation as an option. If you have any questions or would like information on how to pre-plan for final services, please feel free to contact us.