Funeral Memorial Check Etiquette

Woman writing check in office

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It's customary to send flowers or a card as a way to show sympathy when someone you care about has suffered the loss of a loved one. Sometimes, the family of the deceased may ask for donations to be made to a charity or other organization in memory of their loved one. A memorial donation is always an acceptable way to honor the deceased.

Choosing a Charity

The bereaved may suggest that memorial donations go to a specific organization, but if not, research charities and groups to find one that is in keeping with the interests of the deceased. Think about the things the deceased loved or any hobbies he had, and find a charity that reflects those items.

The Check

If you are donating to a charity or company in the name of the deceased, mail the check directly to the company. Write a note in a sympathy card and give that to a family member at the funeral. There's no need to mention the exact amount of your donation, but do mention that you gave money to the charity in memory of the deceased. In some cases, the charity will notify the family that you made the donation, so include the name and address of the family of the deceased when you send the check.


Send the check as soon as possible -- within 10 days of the funeral is ideal, according to General etiquette states that the family of the deceased should acknowledge all who donated with a thank you card, and that the cards should be written within two weeks after the funeral.

Other Considerations

Sometimes people may wish to help the family of the deceased with a monetary memorial meant to cover some of the costs of the funeral. In such cases, it is best not to give the money directly to a family member, according to Instead, ask the funeral director or a pastor presiding at the funeral to deliver the check to the family. Or, mail the check to the family with a note explaining that you wanted to help in a tangible way during this difficult time.