Donating to charity in someone else's name is a simple way of sharing the great feeling that comes from doing good. Donations to charity are a great gift, especially for the "person who has everything" and doesn't need any material goods. Many people also make donations to charity in lieu of flowers at funerals. This is often requested by the family of the deceased, and serves to turn the mourners' grief into hope for others. Making a donation in someone's name is easy. Just follow a few quick steps and have your checkbook, debit or credit card ready.
Choose Their Favorite Charity
Find out the favorite charity of the person in whose name you're donating. If you can't discover a specific charity, consider their hobbies and interests. Animal lovers will appreciate donations to charities that care for animals, while sports fans might support charities that provide athletic programs for underprivileged kids. Conservationists may appreciate donations to land trusts or environmental groups. For memorial gifts, many families request donations to help those battling the disease or condition that took their loved one. Just make sure you aren't donating to an organization your friend or relative does not support.
Do Your Research
Contact the charity and find out about their policies regarding donations in someone's name. Most large charities will outline these on their websites. If in doubt, give your chosen charity a call. They will be happy to help you arrange your donation.
Make a Donation
Make your donation. Most charities now accept payment online by credit or debit card; for smaller organizations, you might still have to send a check. Keep a record of your donation, because even though it is made in someone else's name, you are the one who can deduct the charitable contribution on your income tax return.
Send a Notification
Notify the person in whose name you've made the donation. In the case of a memorial donation, notify their next of kin. Many charities offer cards or souvenir gift packages to go with donations. For instance, the American Red Cross sends printed cards or e-cards to people who've had donations made in their names. Save the Children provides printed tribute cards that explain how the donation is being spent. If your charity doesn't provide notification, a simple card or note will do the job.
- Catholic Charities USA: Donate
- IRS: Charitable Contributions
- American Red Cross: Tribute and Memorial Gifts
- U.S. Congress. "H.R.4520 - American Jobs Creation Act of 2004." Accessed Feb. 8, 2020.
- United Way of Rockland County. "Donate Your Old Car, Boat, or RV." Accessed March 18, 2020.
- Goodwill Vehicle Donations. "Accepted Vehicles." Accessed March 18, 2020.
- Salvation Army. "It's Never Been Easier to Donate Goods." Accessed March 18, 2020.
- Internal Revenue Service. "A Donor's Guide to Vehicle Donation." Pages 3–6. Accessed Feb. 8, 2020.
Dr James Holloway has been writing about games, geek culture and whisky since 1995. A former editor of "Archaeological Review from Cambridge," he has also written for Fortean Times, Fantasy Flight Games and The Unspeakable Oath. A graduate of Cambridge University, Holloway runs the blog Gonzo History Gaming.