It's difficult to think of practicalities when a loved one or esteemed colleague passes away, but it's important and proper to acknowledge donations to memorial funds honoring the deceased. Send out thank-you notes within a reasonable time frame after the donation is received.

Personal Memorial Fund

Select suitably restrained stationary on which to write your thank-you messages.

Address each note individually, and open by clearly thanking the recipient for their donation. Then, go on to write a paragraph about how the money will be spent and the good that it will do.

Close by reiterating your gratitude, and mention how much the donation would have meant to the deceased.

Institutional Donation

Prepare a professional acknowledgement on letterhead. An official email from the institution may also suffice.

Start with a message of gratitude from the fund directors and the people who carry out the work it finances. If the donation was to a medical research fund, mention the scientists and medical professionals working to find a cure or to aid the ill. If the donation was to a charity for the homeless, acknowledge those that will benefit from the money or gift.

State the date of the donation and how much was given to the institution. The donor may wish to use your acknowledgement for tax-deduction purposes.

Write a sentence or two on the work the donation will fund, including news or recent developments in the field.

Close by thanking the donor again. Sign the letter from the directors of the fund. Below the signature, add a note about corporate gift programs. Some employers will match charitable donations made by their employees.


  • If you don't feel able to write personal notes, ask a friend or relative to compose the acknowledgements.