Donation Ideas for a Loved One’s or Pet’s Funeral


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If you’re planning to attend a funeral in which the family has specified that donations to a charity of choice would be appreciated in lieu of flowers, you might be wondering what charity would be most ideal. The best thing to do in these cases is to find out what causes your deceased loved one cared about and select the appropriate charity that can benefit from your donation.

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There are numerous types of charities that cover causes for health and wellness, medical research, food security, environmental improvement, animal rights, and the preservation of endangered species. No matter what you’re looking for, you are sure to find a charity that is meaningful to the family or tailored to what a loved one was passionate about.

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Types of Charitable Organization Ideas for a Loved One’s Funeral

If you’re in need of a charity to donate to for a loved one who has passed away, consider what got them excited in life and go from there. Here are several of the most popular categories for you to consider.

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1. Food security

Help ensure the people in your community and the world receive meals when they struggle financially or live in an impoverished neighborhood.

You can donate both monetarily and by bringing canned foods to your local food pantry. Meals on Wheels is another well-known organization that helps bring meals right to the homes of at-risk senior citizens who live around the poverty line and face food insecurity.

2. Medical research

If you’re donating on behalf of someone who passed away due to a disease that presently has no cure, consider donating to an organization researching to end the disease. This includes groups such as the American Cancer Society, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, ALS Foundation, and the American Heart Association.

When donating to these organizations, it can be especially meaningful to donate in someone’s name such as the person who passed away or their closest relative such as a husband or wife.

3. Veteran’s nonprofits

Donate to various veteran’s groups for a man or woman who served in the armed forces. Military service is an important part of anyone’s life and if they were a career service member, a donation to a cause of this kind would be incredibly meaningful.

These groups include the Wounded Warrior Project, Homes for Our Troops, and Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors or TAPS.

4. Special Olympics

An organization and category all its own, this is ideal for people who champion the cause of those who have disabilities and compete in serious athletic shows of strength and dexterity.

The Special Olympics provides opportunities for people of all abilities worldwide to engage in Olympic competitions in a variety of sports from soccer to track and field. They also champion the cause of those living with intellectual disabilities and raise awareness to promote their quality of life, inclusion, and fair treatment.

5. Health and wellbeing

Many and varied are the lives of those in our communities, neighborhoods, towns, cities, and states. Even if it isn’t immediately recognizable, people can be dealing with troubling problems beneath the surface. Many organizations are dedicated to improving the lives, outlook, and holistic health of people who need it most. 

For example, Mothers Against Drunk Driving tackles awareness and leads campaigns to stop the prevalence of drunk and drugged driving. They also support the victims of accidents as a result of drunken or drugged driving. The Assistance League, on the other hand, focuses on transforming the lives of children in need through community programs, the provision of school supplies, clothes, personal items, and even dental care. These are two very different organizations that both focus on the health and wellbeing of communities from coast to coast.

6. Wish granting

For children, adults, and families of someone with a critical or terminal illness, life can feel incredibly bleak and discouraging. That’s where foundations like Make-A-Wish Foundation and Dream Foundation come in. Make-A-Wish takes the wishes of children with critical and terminal illnesses and helps them come true. They bring hope, encouragement, and much needed joy to children and families at a critical time of life. 

The Dream Foundation also helps grant the dreams of terminally ill adults and their families so they can experience a time of inspiration, comfort, and closure. They have two specialized programs as well. Dreams for Veterans provides end-of-life dreams granted to military veterans and Dream Toys provides toys for children who face the impending loss of a parent.

7. Environmental improvement

For those who have a special passion for the environment, donate to a group that focuses on mother nature. These types of organizations include the Arbor Day Foundation and the Sierra Club Foundation. Both foundations focus heavily on reforestation and preservation of the world’s natural resources.

If you want to do something that goes beyond a monetary donation, consider planting a tree in the person’s honor, as well. Be sure to include a card with wording about your memorial donation and tree planting.

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Types of Charitable Organization Ideas for a Pet’s Funeral

Pets come in all shapes and sizes. Whether you’re looking for a place to donate for a cat, dog, horse, or lion, there is an organization for everyone.

1. Humane Societies

The Humane Society of America works to improve the living condition of animals from factory-raised chickens to dogs, cats, and marine wildlife. They are one of the most well-known animal welfare groups in America and they constantly work overtime to improve the conditions animals face. 

You can donate online to the Humane Society of America or by locating your local Humane Society. A quick google search with the term ‘human society’ and your town’s name should bring up one closest to you.

2. Local no-kill dog shelters

Since there are so many dogs that need help, there’s not just one organization that takes care of it all.

Find your local no-kill dog shelter and give a donation to keep their work going. They take care of all K9s that come in until they’re adopted out. A quick google search with the term ‘local no-kill dog shelter’ will bring up the ones in your area.

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3. Animal rights groups

Animal rights groups focus primarily on rehabilitating and rehoming abused animals. They also work tirelessly to pinpoint areas of abuse such as puppy mills and get these practices shut down.

One of the most well-known groups is the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals or the ASPCA. 

4. Horse rescue and rehab groups

For someone whose horse passed away, consider giving to horse rescue and rehabilitation groups. There are horses all over the United States that are mistreated, abused, and left to live in deplorable conditions. Rescue and rehab groups will take these horses in, rehabilitate them, and rehome them to a loving family. 

There are several well-known groups fighting for the welfare and recovery of abused and neglected horses including the United States Equine Rescue League and the Thoroughbred Charities of America.

5. Wildlife rescue and rehab groups

Wildlife rescue and rehab groups work all around the world and take up the plight of wild animals that have been captured, placed into captivity, and mistreated. Due to the illegal trade of wild animals, you can find many mistreated wild animals in backyard cages or in small homes all across America. Groups will work to rescue abused animals living in captivity, rehabilitate them, and release them back to their native territory.

One of the most prominent groups that work in this field is Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation, founded in 1977. If you want to focus specifically on larger animals, choose the group called Lions, Tigers, and Bears, instead.

6. Farm animal rescue and rehab groups

Farm life may seem idyllic and blissful, but it can be anything but if you’re a farm animal living on a farm with owners that don’t know how to take care of you.

While the majority of farmers treat their animals well, some, unfortunately, do not. You can help these animals by giving to non-profit groups like Farm Sanctuary. 

7. Endangered sea animal groups

If you’d like your donation to go to a sea-loving group in honor of a marine-life-loving friend, consider options such as the Sea Turtle Conservancy and the Save the Manatee Club. These nonprofits work to rescue two endangered marine animals that face the threats of poaching and overfishing. They work to bring awareness and safety to these animals so they’ll no longer face the threat of extinction.

If you want a broader organization, the Oceanic Society helps maintain the habitat and quality of life for a wide variety of marine life around the world.

Continue a Legacy

Remembering loved ones or pets by donating to a meaningful cause is an inspirational way to continue their legacy. Support the causes that they were passionate about or simply pay it forward to support someone in need. 

Another way to honor your loved one's memory is with a custom urn from Foreverence, a memorial box, or volunteering your time for a good cause. There's no 'right' way to honor those you love, so consider what legacy means to you. 

No matter what organization you choose, or the amount you give, you’ll be providing an extra measure of help in the name of someone you love.

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