How to set up in memory donations to a charity

Two people looking at an i pad and choosing options at Poppy's, London funeral directors

Five minute read

When someone dies, there are different ways to honour their life and to remember what mattered to them — one which many people find meaningful is to give a donation to a chosen charity in their memory.

Giving to people in need is a tradition found in the funeral rituals of many religions and cultures. And, with the help of new technology, it’s still going strong today. In this blog, we walk you through some of the options available.

Why give online?

Setting up an online tribute fund — or encouraging people to donate online instead of a holding a physical collection — has grown in popularity in recent years.

  • It’s easier and more secure to administer. It avoids the hassle of collecting money at the funeral itself, counting it afterwards and sending it on.
  • Online funds are free and quick to set up, and don’t require printing or ordering resources, such as gift envelopes.
  • You’re likely to receive more donations. Many people no longer carry cash but would be happy to donate online. People can donate from home even if they can’t attend the funeral ceremony, are joining remotely by livestream or webcast or watching later online.
  • Online giving makes claiming Gift Aid easier, which can increase the money the charity receives by 25% by claiming back the tax.
  • It gives people multiple opportunities to donate — before the funeral, on the day itself or any time afterwards, such as on anniversary or special day. Most online tribute webpages are not time-bound.
  • Many online donation platforms or tribute funds allow people to leave messages, photos or videos, alongside their donation. These messages can be encouraging to read and enable people to share both their grief and their memories of the person who has died.
  • You can usually see who has donated, unless someone chooses to donate anonymously, so can thank people personally if you wish. Seeing donations come in can be a source of comfort. It’s a tangible way for people to show that they care.
  • Not everyone is comfortable giving online. If people give you donations by cash or cheque, you can add these into the online fund. We can still provide a donation box if you wish to help with this process.

How can I set up a tribute fund or online giving in memoriam?

First of all, choose the charity or charities that you’d like to support.

This might require some thought or you might know straightaway. Many relatives or friends choose a cause which the person who died was passionate about during their life, for example a local children’s charity or wildlife charity.

Others choose a charity related to a particular illness, so that money raised can help others going through a similar experience to your own, such as a cancer or medical research charity.

You may also want to say thank you to a charity that has helped you directly, such as a hospice or hospital.

If you can’t decide, it’s absolutely fine to split donations between two or more charities.

Once you have decided on your charity, or charities, you can either:

Search your chosen charity’s website for ‘giving in memory’.

Many large charities will give you the option to set up a tribute fund or page. This will come with its own personal website address (URL) and you can usually upload a photo, some information about the person who has died and an explanation of why you have chosen this charity if you wish.

Even smaller charities will usually offer some way of giving in memory. If you need more information, charities welcome people getting in touch by phone call or email, and often have a specific person or team who deal with in memoriam donations.

Or use an online tribute platform, such as muchloved.

These are websites specially designed for in memoriam giving. They enable you to collect donations for any UK registered charity or multiple charities, or to set up your own fund for donations (like a crowd funder).

Setting up a page is free and, as well as securely collecting donations, provides options for people to leave messages and photos, light a virtual candle or share a memory. Some sites enable you to send out funeral notices or invites too.

Or use a standard donation platform.

Many people are already familiar with websites like GoFundMe or Just Giving. You can set up a fundraising page on one of these sites and use this to collect donations for a chosen charity.

If you want to support more than one charity, you will need to set up a separate page for each. In Just Giving, you can link these together as ‘a team’.

How do I tell people about my online tribute?

There are several ways to let people know about your online tribute fund and make it easy for them to contribute.

  • Include the link or webpage address for your fund in the funeral invitations. You can ask specifically for donations instead of flowers if you wish. This is becoming more common as more people chose cremations, rather than traditional burials.
  • Add the webpage address onto the order of service. At Poppy’s, we can help you with producing this. Some people decide to create a QR code for the webpage which is printed on the order of service. That way, people can use their phones to find the webpage and donate on the day of the funeral. There are many free QR code generators online.
  • Mention the charity at the end of funeral ceremony or at the wake and explain why you’ve chosen this cause.
  • Share the webpage address on social media and encourage others to do the same.

Setting up online donations in memory of someone who has died can be quick and straightforward. As well as generating funds for good causes, it gives people an opportunity to do something positive while they are grieving.

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Read more 'how to' guides from Poppy's — including how to prepare children and young people for a funeral and how to choose a funeral venue.

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