Coins In Gold Charity Funeral Collection Bowl

Funeral donations to charity are a positive way to bring comfort at a time of grief, honour a loved one's memory or give back to the causes that have helped during a difficult time.

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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.[1]

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.

[1] 20% of people knew their loved ones preferred charity for funeral donations (SunLife Cost of Dying Report 2024,

Why have funeral donations to charity?

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.[2]

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:

  • Give back to those who supported your loved one during their life
  • Help you feel empowered whilst grieving by doing something worthwhile
  • Honour the memory of your loved one whilst helping others
  • Offer an environmentally friendly and impactful alternative to funeral flowers
  • Make gifts given in sympathy more personal and meaningful

[2] Donating at funeral services, Marie Curie

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Ways to collect funeral charity donations

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

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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.

  • A donation box placed in a prominent position at the funeral or wake is a method commonly used to collect cash donations.
  • Including a cash donation inside the condolence card is also an appropriate way to donate.

Online donations

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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.

  • Just Giving is a popular site for online charity donations and allows "in memory" pages to be set up and shared
  • Much Loved is another commonly used platform for online tributes and donations

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.

Claire Montague

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.

Funeral charity collection etiquette

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.

How to choose a charity for funeral donations

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.

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  1. To the hospital or hospice that cared for your loved one
  2. If your loved one died from or suffered a specific illness a charity that supports others with this condition
  3. A charity that your loved one was a known supporter of during their lifetime
  4. Many charities offer the ability to donate to them online, over the phone or via a cheque in the post. Some larger and more established charities offer additional ways to collect donations or free bereavement support.
  5. Loved one may have shared wishes with you before they died

How to share wishes for funeral donations to charity

Once you have chosen the charity you would like to support, there are a few ways to share your wishes with your loved ones.

  • Your funeral provider can include the details in the funeral announcement if they provide this service.
  • Mention your preferred charity on any printed or online invitations.
  • If you are arranging an obituary in a newspaper or online, include the details.
  • Include your chosen charity and your preferred donation method in the order of service.
  • Share your plans with close friends and immediate family so they can help you spread the information by word of mouth.

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.

Planning your own funeral in advance

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.

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Other useful resources

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.

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Our cremation funerals, whether attended by loved ones or completely unattended, prioritise simplicity for a respectful send-off without high costs.

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Choosing a funeral celebrant

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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

Planning the order of service

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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

We offer the highest level of support, but don't take our word for it

Below are a selection of reviews from those who followed their instinct with Distinct and chose to buy a funeral with us.

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Anon 30 May 2024
first class
Mark 21 May 2024
Excellent communication, very helpful and we got just what we wanted in a service. Highly recommended and we will use again. Mark Oliver
Anon 2 May 2024
Service very efficient, and comprehensive. Understandably, you "chased me up" when there was a delay in my response to place an order, but this delay was whilst I contacted all those relatives who might have had a view to express.
Anon 24 Apr 2024
I was very happy with the service I received and they are only a phone call away if I or my sons should need advice or help in any way
Wendy 8 Apr 2024
This is a good company, the cremation was dealt with very smoothly without any problems. The staff were very courteous and professional throughout. Everything was explained over the phone and they were very patient answering my questions. The ashes were delivered on time to my door. Highly recommended.
Anon 7 Apr 2024
They gave a superb service, they were very professional from start to finish, but also friendly and empathetic too, at what was a very difficult time for myself and the family
Anon 6 Apr 2024
Dee was lovely and understanding and advice was easy to understand
Anon 5 Apr 2024
Very kind and helpful lady. She talked me through everything that I asked her about.
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