Americans are pretty generous. In 2020 alone, people gave $471.44 billion in donations, which is impressive considering the negative financial effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it is one thing to give to charity as you normally do, and another to give in memory of someone.
Read More: Advantages of Donating to the Needy
Donation in Memory of Loved Ones
The U.S. loses about 3.3 million people in a given year. So, the chances are high that at some point, you may end up losing someone you care about.
When a loved one dies, you can choose to make a donation in memory of them. Doing so is an excellent way to honor what they stood for. Also, it helps to keep their memories and names alive for longer. In addition, a donation in memory of loved ones could become a way of creating an awareness of an issue, especially if that issue played a role in their death.
You can donate anything you want, including money, jewelry, real estate, vehicles and even life insurance. It depends on what kind of assets you own.
When donating in memory of someone, you could choose to use only what you have or create a fundraising campaign that ropes in other people to contribute toward a cause. Everything depends on your approach.
Setting Up a Memorial Fund or Foundation
Memorial funds or foundations are meant to accept donations in loving memory of someone you care about who has passed away. Most are meant to be permanent, though some have temporary goals. You can use the monies in a memorial fund or foundation to donate to other charities, sponsor needy students, advocate for people with similar issues that the deceased faced, support the deceased’s dependents, etc.
However, regardless of how and why you choose to create a memorial fund, you need to ensure that it channels the money where it was meant to go. That means creating a separate bank account with the memorial fund title and obtaining a tax identification number for the fund.
Read More: 6 Ways Your Team Can Do Charitable Giving
Charitable Organizations and Memorial Donations
Charitable organizations recognize that some of their supporters want to donate in memory of loved ones. For that reason, many of them provide an option for the creation of memorial funds or a donation in memory of loved ones. You could use these options instead of creating your own charitable organization.
For example, if your loved one loved Red Cross, you could use their “Donate in Honor” option and donate on their behalf. Red Cross enables you to give one-time or monthly funds, while providing the name of the deceased to honor them.
The American Cancer Society also provides a Memorial and Honor Giving option that enables people to support the organization on behalf of their loved ones who passed away. So, you can provide their names and honor their memory.
Donations and Tax Implications
When you donate to qualified charitable organizations in memory of a loved one, you can enjoy tax deductions. If you use standard deductions, you can deduct up to $300 per individual taxpayer or $600 in joint returns for cash donations to qualified charities. Otherwise, you could deduct up to 100 percent of your qualified contributions if you take itemized deductions.
If you donate $250 or more, you may receive a notification message or letter acknowledging your generosity. Ensure you keep that information for tax filing purposes.
- Philanthropy Network: Giving USA 2021: In a year of unprecedented events and challenges, charitable giving reached a record $471.44 billion in 2020
- CDC.Gov: Deaths and Mortality
- Foundation Source: Starting a Foundation
- Join Cake: Memorial Fund Guide: How to Start One in Memory of a Loved One
- CharityCheck101.Org: Charities: Please Show your EINs
- RedCross.Org: Give a gift to honor someone you love
- Cancer.Org: Your donation can help address cancer disparities
- IRS.Gov: Expanded tax benefits help individuals and businesses give to charity in 2021
I hold a BS in Computer Science and have been a freelance writer since 2011. When I am not writing, I enjoy reading, watching cooking and lifestyle shows, and fantasizing about world travels.