Giving flowers has long been a symbol of condolence, however charity donations in lieu of flowers at funerals and memorials are becoming commonplace. Families today will often request that attendees make an ‘In Memory’ donation instead of giving flowers at a funeral service or memorial.

Mourners might be invited to honour the deceased person by making a financial donation to a cause that meant a lot to them, instead of spending money on flowers. An ‘In Memory’ donation is not only a more sustainable way to commemorate the legacy of the person who has died, it can also be a practical way to make a difference to the community and potentially support medical research.

A request of “charity donations in lieu of flowers” doesn’t necessarily mean there won’t be any flowers at all at the funeral service or memorial. It usually means that floral tributes will be limited to immediate family or a simple arrangement or a wreath.

How to request charity donations in lieu of flowers

If you are planning a funeral for a loved one who has died, think about the organisations that made an impact on their life or supported their family. Perhaps the deceased person volunteered for a community group or not-for-profit organisation. Or they may have been an avid fundraiser for a specific cause or charity.

When requesting charity donations in lieu of flowers, some families ask that a financial gift be made to give back to a service that supported the deceased in life, particularly towards their end of life. This might be a type of cancer or medical foundation, or a health or hospice service that the deceased person accessed.

If you are placing a family notice in the press you may wish to ask people to make a donation instead of sending flowers. In this caseAsking people to make a charity donation instead of sending flowers can be done simply by including the request in the newspaper advertisement or online funeral/memorial notice. The following wording, or variations of these phrases, may be helpful:

  • The family welcomes donations to [charity name] as an expression of sympathy instead of flowers.
  • We are remembering [deceased person] with a contribution to [charity name].
  • In lieu of flowers, financial contributions in memory of [deceased person] can be made to [charity name].
  • The family requests any memorial contributions be made to [charity name] in lieu of flowers.
  • The family wishes that donations be made to [charity name] in lieu of flowers.
  • The family requests those who wish to express sympathy to consider making a donation to their favourite charity in [deceased person]’s name in lieu of flowers.
  • It was [deceased person’s name]’s wish that any memorial tributes be made in the form of charitable donations to [charity name].
  • In remembrance of [deceased person]’s life, the family requests that any charitable donations be made to [charity name or ‘your favourite charity’].

The Australian Cancer Research Foundation allow families to set up a personal online tribute webpage to honour the deceased person.
The Australian Cancer Research Foundation allow families to set up a personal online tribute webpage to honour the deceased person.

How to set up donations in lieu of flowers

If you are engaging a funeral director to arrange a funeral service they will hand out donation envelopes to attendees or arrange to have a donation box available at the funeral service. That way those attending the funeral or memorial service can donate cash on the day, or they take home an envelope to send in their donation directly to the charity later on.

After the funeral service, the family will collect the envelopes and send any physical donations to the charity themselves, for processing and receipting. The funeral director shouldn't ever take the donated money away - it needs to go straight to the family.

If you intend to request mourners make a charity donation in lieu of flowers, either you or your funeral director should contact the charity directly to facilitate this. The charity should be able to provide banking details for online donations as well as donation envelopes for the funeral or memorial service.

Depending on the charity, they may also provide keepsakes like ribbons or armbands for attendees to keep.

Some charities, like the Australian Cancer Research Foundation, allow families to set up a personal online tribute webpage. You’ll receive a unique link to your person’s memorial page, which can be sent to friends and family to invite them to make an online donation and leave a personal message.

Final thoughts in 'In Memory' requests instead of flowers

Requesting 'In Memory' financial contributions instead of flowers is a way to honour a deceased person's legacy and make a lasting contribution to a cause close to their heart.

At Bare, we value financial and ethical sustainability when it comes to planning a funeral or memorial. By only providing the ‘Bare essentials’ of a funeral service, we empower Australians to consider more affordable and sustainable means when it comes to farewell a loved one.

You can read more about Bare’s commitment to sustainable funerals in our article Environmental impacts of funerals, here.

To find out how Bare can support your family to farewell a loved one, visit the Bare Funeral webpage, or have a chat with our arrangers on 1800 071 176.