Funeral donations to charity can be an important part of a loved one’s funeral wishes. 20% of people who discussed their loved one’s funeral wishes with them before they died found out that their loved one had a preferred charity for donations.
Asking for charity donations instead of funeral flowers is a common request at modern funerals and offers a way for people to pay their respects and show their support for the family and what matters to them.
 20% of people knew their loved ones preferred charity for funeral donations (SunLife Cost of Dying Report 2024, sunlife.co.uk/funeral-costs)
Collecting charity donations at cremation services or in memory of a loved one can also make a huge positive impact. Last year, Marie Curie received almost £1M from funeral donations in 2022 which is enough to pay for over 5,000 nursing shifts.
Your loved one may have requested for something positive to come from their death and named a preferred charity. Even if they didn’t leave specific guidance, it may bring you comfort to make a difference during a time of grief.
Funeral donations to charity can:
 Donating at funeral services, Marie Curie
The way funeral donations to charity are made changes and evolves over time just as people's funeral preferences do. The collection plate, once commonly passed around at church funerals has nowadays been replaced with more modern ways to collect donations.
Cash donations are well suited to funeral attendees who want to contribute to the charity collection but don't want to donate online or are not tech-savvy.
Donating online has the benefit of GiftAid (tax relief from the government) which allows 25% extra to go to the chosen charity at no additional cost to the person donating.
To maximise funeral donations to charity and the positive impact on your chosen charity, you can offer both an online and offline donation method to suit the different ways people prefer to donate.
Crematorium Attendant, Waseley Hills Crematorium
"Incorporating a charity collection into a funeral service can be really important to families especially if their loved one was a keen supporter of a particular cause or was supported by a charitable organisation towards the end of their life.
“Traditionally a collection box or basket would be present at the chapel during the funeral. Increasingly at modern funerals though, we’ve seen preferences shift towards online donation platforms which have the advantage of getting the money to the charity more easily.”
You can also take a more informal approach to donations by simply asking people to honour your loved one's memory by supporting the chosen charity in their own time in whichever way suits them. Just like the funeral itself, you can keep arrangements simple and straightforward.
Try to donate in the way that has been requested. If the family has asked for donations online, bringing cash to the funeral is extra admin for them at a difficult time.
Arranging a funeral service
Everyone has different financial situations, so the etiquette when requesting funeral donations to charity is to share how donations can be made but not mention specific donation amounts. If it is very important to you to raise a lot for your chosen charity, one option to consider is to have a simple funeral or even a direct cremation and donate the rest of the money you would have spent on the funeral costs.
Attending a funeral service
If the family have requested charity donations instead of funeral flowers, you can donate the money you would have spent on a nice bunch of flowers (around £20 - £50) to the chosen charity instead. However, if you would like to donate more because of the closeness of your relationship to the deceased or the meaning the chosen charity has to you personally you can.
If your personal finances mean you can only make a very small donation this is absolutely fine too.
You could also get involved in some fundraising or volunteering for the chosen charity instead if you're not able to donate directly. Funeral charity donations are about the sincere gesture and not the amount.
You may already have a charity in mind as you plan a funeral service. But if you're still wondering which one to choose for your funeral donations to charity, there could be relationships between charities and your loved one that might make the decision easier. If you're torn you could split the money between two charities or have the donations collected at the funeral service and the donations collected online go to different causes.
Large and well-known charities have several ways they can help you collect funeral donations to charity and support you in your grief.
Marie Curie has free donation envelopes you can order, a bereavement support line and the ability to set up a fundraising page.
Cancer Research UK gives the option to set up a personalised tribute page where friends and family can share memories and also donate.
Age UK offers an online funeral collection service which can be used to share details of the funeral and personalise with photos and videos.
The Alzheimer’s Society provides tribute envelopes in both English and Welsh and you can also set up a funeral collection tribute on their website.
The British Heart Foundation lets you set up a tribute page for your loved one or immortalise them by having their name carved on a steel heart.
Macmillan Cancer Support has a bereavement helpline, forums where you can share memories of your loved one and the ability to set up a tribute fund.
Mind has a virtual forest on their website where you can create a tree in memory of a loved one as well as collection envelopes and tribute pages.
A smaller local charity that supports your loved one’s local community or area could also feel right because of the personal significance.
Once you have chosen the charity you would like to support, there are a few ways to share your wishes with your loved ones.
However you share the details of the funeral, if you mention your preferences for funeral donations to charity at the same time your attendees can stay informed.
Know you would like donations at your own funeral to go to a specific charity? You can plan and pay for your own funeral and share your wishes with your family in advance.
To find out more about our low cost funeral plans, how to take one out and the payment options available, request your free guide.Get your free guide
We can help you with your funeral arrangements for your loved one, either by facilitating the cremation itself or offering guidance about other aspects of funeral planning in addition to funeral donations to charity.
Our cremation funerals, whether attended by loved ones or completely unattended, prioritise simplicity for a respectful send-off without high costs.Arrange a funeral
A funeral celebrant can offer support before and during a funeral service. Find out more to help you decide whether a celebrant-led funeral is right for you.Funeral celebrant guidance
An order of service lets you finalise the contents of the funeral in advance so you know what to expect and can emotionally prepare yourself.Funeral order of service guidance
Below are a selection of reviews from those who have arranged a funeral or purchased a funeral plan through Distinct Cremations.
"Smooth and straightforward purchase with plenty of contact and feedback."
“Easy to use and very helpful. Very easy to use their services and always called with updates. Sorry to say I've had to use their services twice now and I've already booked my own service. On both times I've used this service I've been kept informed by calls to everything going on. All my requests were made to feel like no trouble whatsoever, happy to help attitude made what was a very emotional time pass with no problems. Ty to all the teams involved"
"Quick and easy to arrange. Very good value. The information pack arrived days after I made my enquiry. It was so easy to arrange the plan that I wanted. The follow up call was very reassuring. I am very happy with the service provided."
"Already recommended to other family members. Easy to access and apply for a plan at a good price, and even better, in 20 years time there will be no additional cost. It's not a subject that anyone wants to think about but now I have it sorted it has given me peace of mind knowing my family won't have the worry or cost when that time comes, now I can forget it and enjoy many more years, highly recommended. Hassle free application that was completed in minutes but I'm not planning on using this plan anytime soon!!"
"I was very pleased with the prompt efficient service that I got, everything was explained to me, and the paperwork was easy to understand, and there was no pressure put on me for a decision. I would most certainly recommended this company for price and efficiency."
“Happy with everything. We were well pleased with the consultant Sarah Mills she was very helpful and made us feel very confident that we were doing the right thing about our funeral plan."
"Positive without being pushy. Easy to understand the scheme, helpful brochure and a realistic price. The staff I contacted were polite and professional. Great value. An ideal alternative for those of us who don't want a lot of fuss."