Memorial contributions in lieu of flowers are a common way of honoring an employee after their death. In addition to demonstrating sympathy toward the employee’s family, a memorial contribution also allows your business to contribute to a worthy cause. A donation to a charity is often accompanied by a memorial contribution letter to ensure that the deceased is properly honored for the contribution.
Formatting a Memorial Contribution Letter
A memorial contribution letter is a type of formal business letter, which means it should contain the address of the charity to which the donation will be made, a salutation, body text, and a formal signature block. The salutation may be written “To whom it may concern” if the charity did not specify a person to whom to direct the donation.
In addition to including the charity’s address in the header of the letter, the address of a family member of the deceased should also be included, as most charities will notify the family of the gift upon receipt. Additionally, it is important to include your address in the letter’s closing so a tax receipt may be sent to you from the charitable organization.
Wording a Memorial Donation
While the structure of a memorial contribution letter is formal, the content of the letter’s body can be personalized. Start the letter with the name of the employee in whose memory the donation is being given, along with the monetary amount of the donation and the name of the charity that will be receiving the gift. Also include the information specified in the deceased's obituary or funeral program, such as a particular fund or scholarship the money should be directed toward.
Add more personalization to the letter by showing a connection between the charity and your former employee. This could include a personal story about their love of animals, if the charity is an animal rescue organization or their connection to children, if the charity is a children’s hospital, for example. If no charity is specified by the family, instead discuss the reason the charity was chosen by your business and how the deceased is connected to that decision.
Show Your Sympathy
In addition to writing a memorial contribution letter to the charity that will receive the gift, it is also common to send a sympathy card to the deceased’s surviving family. Include a personalized message to the family, along with a note stating that you contributed to a charity in memory of their family member.
Not Just a Business Letter
While a memorial contribution letter has a specific form and function, that doesn't mean it has to be impersonal. In fact, just the opposite is true. By combining the information you want to convey with small details remembering the former employee, you'll give a warm impression of a caring organization that values its members.
Emily Hunsaker is a writer and marketing consultant with diverse employment background, ranging from journalism to nonprofit marketing. She earned her bachelor’s degree in communications from Tulane University, in addition to an MBA from Southern Illinois University.