If you’re planning a funeral or memorial, you typically have to make a range of choices about the reception and the funeral itself. Some of these involve choosing the types of common features (such as video montages of the deceased, pictures, and more) to include or not include.
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One you may want to consider if you’re ever planning a funeral is a funeral donation box. Asking for donations to a relevant cause is one way to celebrate a loved one’s life and cherish their legacy after they pass.
It’s also worth noting that you can use a donation box if you’re not sure how to ask for donations for funeral expenses. Funerals can be very costly, and many friends and family members would likely be willing to help you out financially if they know you needed the support.
Regardless of how you’ll use the donations, if you think you’d like to include a donation box at a funeral you’re planning, keep the following funeral or memorial donation box ideas in mind. They’ll help you decide what type of design is right for your goals and preferences.
DIY Funeral Donation Box Ideas
You might decide a DIY donation box is right for your loved one’s funeral for various reasons, from a tight budget to a desire to create something unique. If so, consider the following ideas.
1. Picture box
A funeral donation box doesn’t need to be elaborate. On the contrary, given the nature of the occasion, you might understandably feel as though a donation box that calls too much attention to itself isn’t appropriate.
If that’s the case, you can simply cover a basic cardboard box in wrapping paper of your choice (or paint it) and attach a picture of the deceased to the front side. You might also want to include some text underneath the picture.
This text can describe who or what the donations will support, how a donation box embodies the generous spirit of your loved one, or anything else that seems relevant.
2. Memory bowl
Some people ask guests at a funeral or viewing to write down their favorite memories of the deceased on slips of paper and place them in a bowl or box for close loved ones to read later. This can be a simple glass bowl. If you’d like, you can decorate it by painting on it or attaching pictures to it, but this isn’t necessary.
This common funeral reception idea can also serve as a container for people to leave donations. Because guests placing memories in the bowl will have the deceased on their mind (having just written down a memory involving them), they may be more willing to give a large sum of money.
Whether the donations are to help you pay for the funeral or are going toward a charity, people will want to honor the deceased’s memory by giving what they can.
3. Painted wooden box
A basic wooden box is another option to consider when making a DIY funeral donation box. It’s low-budget, and it’s not too visually distinct for the occasion.
You don’t have to do much to this type of box to make it serve its purpose. Many simply paint the name of the deceased, their dates of birth and death, and such words as “In Loving Memory” on the front. This subtle approach is often ideal.
Just remember, you still want to include some description near or on the box, letting people know it’s there for donations. You also want to include it in a spot where people will see it. For example, at a viewing, you might place it on a table and surround it with pictures of the deceased. This will naturally draw guests to it.
4. Digital donation box
You don’t merely have to accept donations during a funeral or its reception. You can also create a “digital donation box.” This allows people to donate if they are unable to attend the funeral, or if they simply overlooked the donation box at the time.
Creating a digital donation box can be as easy as setting up a GoFundMe campaign. Or you can choose to ask for donations as part of an overall online memorial page.
Don’t worry if you don’t know how to create a website! Various online platforms exist specifically to help people like you easily create memorial pages for their deceased loved ones.
Do you have an old mailbox lying around your garage? It could make a great DIY project idea.
A mailbox strikes the right balance between being charmingly unique and being respectful in a funeral setting. Like some of the ideas mentioned above, you can also choose to decorate the mailbox however you wish.
Consider your skills when deciding how to decorate it, though. If you’re a talented painter, you can paint designs on the mailbox. If not, you might simply want to cover it in pictures of the deceased. These should be printouts or copies of pictures — you don’t want to potentially damage any originals.
Just keep in mind that the opening of a mailbox is fairly large. While it’s (hopefully!) unlikely you have to worry about any guests at a funeral using this to their advantage by stealing from it when no one is looking, this is something you’ll have to consider.
6. Mason jars
Mason jars also make for useful makeshift funeral donation “boxes.” All you have to do is (safely!) make a slot into a typical Mason jar lid with some basic household tools, such as a hammer and chisel punch, then decorate the Mason jar as you please.
You can also purchase affordable pre-slotted Mason jar lids online or at arts and crafts stores.
Store-Bought Funeral Donation Box Ideas
You might not have the time to create a DIY funeral donation box (or you might simply feel you don’t have the skill to do so). If that’s the case, there are plenty of store-bought options worth keeping in mind, such as the following.
7. Poster donation box
Some funeral donation boxes consist of basic metal containers in front of a larger frame for a poster. Inside the frame, you can include any type of poster you want (provided that it fits).
This may be helpful if it’s very important to you for people to understand the purpose of the donation box. For example, you could insert a poster featuring pictures of your loved one and a relatively long message explaining the donation box in the frame.
8. Custom donation box
Not all “store-bought” donation boxes are the type you might literally buy at a store. For example, perhaps you want a custom donation box that’s very unique in certain ways, but you don’t have the skill to create it on your own.
Don’t worry if this is the case. Platforms, such as Etsy, bring up the shops of various artists offering quality donation boxes in a very wide range of styles. Many of these artists can also customize a box based on your requests. This makes it easy to find a funeral donation box that perfectly matches what you have in mind!
Even if you’re not cremating your loved one, you may decide an urn is the right type of container to use as a funeral donation “box,” due to its association with funerals in general.
Funeral directors helping you make various plans may sell urns (or at least recommend reliable urn suppliers in your area), making it easy to find an ideal donation box. That could be very important during a time when you’re likely going to be busy making funeral arrangements.
A birdhouse could easily double as a donation box. This is an option you may want to keep in mind if the deceased loved birds. Many feel the best funeral donation boxes are those which remind mourners of the deceased in some way.
If you already have a birdhouse or two at home, this could also qualify as a DIY idea if you choose to decorate them.
11. Religious donation box
Many companies sell religious donation boxes in a range of shapes, sizes, materials, etc. However, they all tend to feature religious imagery.
This can be as simple as a basic religious icon (such as a cross or Star of David) on the front of an otherwise plain box, or it can consist of paintings, figurines, and other types of religious images. Some donation boxes are even in the shape of churches, temples, and other religious buildings.
Funeral Donation Boxes: Ideas to Consider
Whether you’re setting up a donation box to ask friends and family for help with funeral expenses or you’re using one to raise funds for a good cause, you want it to serve its purpose in a way that respects your loved one’s dignity. Maybe you feel one of these ideas will work well.
If you're looking for more funeral planning ideas, read our guides on funeral themes and how to write a funeral announcement.