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What to Write When Making a Donation in Memory of Someone (with Examples)

When you’re going through the grief of losing a loved one it can be hard to know what to do to honor their memory. One way to pay tribute to someone who has passed away is by making a donation to a cause that was important to them.

If you decide to make a donation in memoriam you’ll likely be given the option to include a message about who the gift is in honor of. But coming up with the right words can feel daunting.

If you’re struggling then these tips for what to write when making a donation in memory of someone should

What to Write When Making a Donation in Memory of Someone

If you want to write your own message then follow these tips. For example messages you can use as inspiration click here.

Focus on Positive Qualities

When composing a memoriam message try to focus on what the deceased meant to you and their best attributes. Share a few words about their values and passions. The things that made them special.

This will create a picture of their life for the charity receiving the gift. For example:

  • “In memory of my grandmother Betty, who volunteered over 500 hours a year helping local children learn to read. Her generous spirit continues to inspire me to this day.”
  • “This donation honors the life of my husband Sam, whose warmth and humor brought joy to everyone around him. He is greatly missed.”

Try not to focus on the loss. You want what you write to be uplifting and positive, celebrating their memory.

Share Personal Stories

Alongside describing the type of person they were it’s a good idea to share a story or anecdote that will help show their character. This adds a personal touch that shows what they meant to you.

For instance:

  • This donation is in remembrance of my mentor Dave who taught me to fly fish one summer as a teenager. Standing knee deep in a crystal river with him made me appreciate the beauty of nature and just how good a friend he was.”
  • “In loving memory of my sister Jenny, whose passion for photography filled our family albums with laughter. I’ll always remember her patience teaching me to develop film in the darkroom when we were kids.”

Choose stories that reflect their personality and make them come alive to others.

Express Gratitude

It may seem odd but saying thank you to the person who passed away is appropriate to include in your message. You can say thanks for the sort of person they were, the role and influence they had on your life or simply for being such a great friend or family member.

Some examples:

  • “In gratitude of my friend Leah, whose encouraging words got me through difficult times. I could always count on her bright spirit to lift me up.”
  • “With thanks for the joy my son Matthew brought to our family and for the man he grew to be. I’m grateful and proud to honor him with this gift.”

Expressing gratitude and thanks will help you to convey the loss but also focus on the positive feelings and memories you have.

Consider Inside Jokes or Nicknames

If you had any nicknames or inside jokes you shared with the deceased you can reference them in what you write. It will add a personal touch and make what you say even more special.


  • “This donation is in honor of my goofball little brother Jimmy, who never failed to make me laugh. I’ll be ‘Catfishin’ for the rest of my days in memory of you, Fish.”

Only share these personal touches if you feel comfortable doing so. And remember that your donation message will probably be public. The charity and other people will be able to see and read it, so think whether it is appropriate in those circumstances.

Pick Out Meaningful Quotes

A fitting quote or lyrics that the deceased especially liked can work well in summing up your emotions. If their favorite song, poem, book passage or inspirational saying reminds you of the person then consider including a short excerpt.

For example:

“For my daughter Lily, who lived each day to the fullest: ‘Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass… it’s about learning to dance in the rain.'”

Pick quotes/lyrics that capture who the deceased was. But avoid using lengthy passages that will detract from your own message.

For some more ideas see our in loving memory of quotes and sympathy quotes.

Acknowledge the Charity’s Mission

When you can mention how the charity you’re supporting related to the deceased. Talk about how their values and passions aligned with the charities mission and the work they do. And if they were actively involved with them the you can touch on that too.

It will explain why you’ve chosen them as the charity you are making a donation too.

For example:

“In honor of my mother Anne, a lifelong educator who touched many students’ lives. This donation to the Children’s Literacy Foundation continues her commitment to inspiring underserved youth.”

Bringing together the person, the cause and your gift and message is a good way to make it clear

Express How Much They’ll Be Missed

It’s completely fine to include your thoughts and sentiments about how deeply the deceased will be missed and the void they have left in your life. But try to balance that sadness with some positivity.

For example:

“Words cannot express how much I will miss my soulmate Paul. My heart will never be whole without him, but I find solace donating to cancer research in his memory.”

Aim for Inspiration Not Despair

It’s understandable to be grieving and in pain after losing someone so special. But try to end your message on a hopeful note.

Share how their enduring memory will live on and the example they set contents to inspire you.

For example:

  • “Karen’s compassion will stay with me as I carry on our work serving families in need. She taught me to lift up others, and her legacy pushes me to give more.”
  • “My grandfather Jack taught me to keep dreaming big no matter what obstacles come your way. Honoring his enterprising spirit propels me forward.”

A donation message doesn’t have to be uplifting but it usually contains some positive aspects to it.

Example In Memory Of Donation Messages

  • In loving memory of my grandmother, Betty Smith. Her warm smile and homemade chocolate chip cookies brought joy to our family for decades. I’m donating to the children’s hospital so more families can make happy memories together.
  • This gift celebrates the life of Samuel Jones, my dear husband of 50 years. His passion for helping the homeless inspires me to continue supporting the Downtown Rescue Mission to this day. I will never forget volunteering at the soup kitchen with him and how much he cared for others.
  • For my mentor Tom, who taught me to see the potential in every student. His commitment to education continues through this donation to the scholarship fund for underprivileged youth. He opened my eyes to making learning fun.
  • In honor of my sister Amy whose brave breast cancer battle ended far too soon. She loved running marathons for cancer research so I’m proud to support the cause in her name. Her perseverance and optimism still inspires me today and always will.
  • With gratitude for the adventures with my best friend Leah. We laughed until we cried on so many road trips together. Donating to the animal shelter because of her love of dogs, especially Samson, her faithful companion.


Making a donation in someone’s memory is a beautiful way to pay tribute to and remember them. Sharing meaningful memories and tying their spirit to the charity’s work all help create a message that will resonate.

While the grief of losing someone is difficult, donations that honor a loved ones values and passions can continue to make a difference.

what to write when making a donation in memory of someone

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