How Much Do You Give for a Funeral? Monetary Gift Guide

When you hear about the loss of a friend or loved one, it can be hard to figure out the best way to handle it. Traditionally, people send flowers or donations to the immediate family. However, you may be wondering what to send and how much to spend. 

It’s customary to give a gift or donate between $50 and $100 for a funeral, although more may be appreciated, especially from close family and friends. However, there is no requirement, so you may choose to spend less on a gift. 

Let’s go into more detail about funeral gifts and donations to see what may be best for your situation. We’ll also look at some factors to help determine the appropriate gift. 

How Much Is Appropriate To Give for a Funeral?

The appropriate amount to give for a funeral is less than $100 for those you aren’t very close with and more than $100 for immediate family or close friends. This amount can vary based on your financial situation. 

Funerals are a time of intense grief for the family that lost their loved one. Any gift or donation will be helpful and appreciated, and you shouldn’t feel obligated to give a gift for a funeral if you’re not able to. If you can help out, though, then there are some things to consider when deciding how much to give. 

Your Financial Situation

Your financial situation will determine how much of a gift you can give at all for a funeral. The amount that I recommended is a generalization of what some people choose to donate at a funeral. It’s certainly not a quota you must meet to properly show respect to their grieving family. 

If your situation allows for no gift at all, then it’s okay to be there for the grieving family rather than supporting them financially. If you’re close, then consider offering your time rather than money. 

Offer to clean for the family or even babysit so grieving loved ones can have some alone time. If the family has pets, you can offer to take care of them for a few days while the family mourns. Money isn’t everything. 

If your financial situation allows for a more generous donation, there’s nothing wrong with that either. Whether it’s flowers or something else meaningful, anything you contribute will show your love for the deceased and their family. So, don’t be afraid to give more than the amount we recommended if you can and feel comfortable doing so. 

It’s Okay To Aim Low

There’s nothing wrong with keeping the funeral gift small for family or friends you may not be close to. We recommend aiming below $100 for these situations to show that you care for and respect the family and the deceased, and the recipient won’t feel like it’s too generous. 

Sometimes we lose people we have known in other stages of our lives. Whether it’s a college roommate or a friend we made in high school, it’s essential to show respect to them and their family during the grieving process. 

Always remember that the amount you spend isn’t the most important thing. The thought and care behind a funeral gift are what counts during a tough time. Sometimes, a hand-made gift will be the most meaningful. So don’t worry too much about spending a lot of money on a funeral gift. 

Higher Priced Gift Should Be Meaningful

If you’re going to spend a lot of money on a gift for a funeral, then it should be something that’ll mean a lot to the family. You can send a beautiful and costly flower arrangement, but flowers only last so long, and they don’t truly help the grieving family.

Don’t think that flowers aren’t meaningful because they are, but other gifts may benefit the family even more. Whatever gift you choose, think about the long-term effect rather than the short-term. 

There are other gifts that you can give which will last longer and benefit the grieving family’s life even more, such as plants, food, furniture, or something special to commemorate the deceased. 

What Is an Appropriate Gift for a Funeral?

An appropriate gift for a funeral can include flowers, donations, food, or money given directly to the deceased’s family. Remember to always respect the family’s wishes if they request a particular gift. 

Respect the Family’s Requests

It’s relatively common for the deceased family to request a specific gift for the funeral. This gift will often come in the form of donations or money put toward the funeral. We’ll get more into those options later. 

If the family has taken the time to request a specific gift for a funeral, then it’s essential to respect their wishes. So, don’t ignore donation requests or other specific requests as they’re being honest with what they want or would help them the most. 

Now, let’s talk about some ideas for a funeral gift if the family didn’t specify what they wanted or if you’re not sure how much to spend. 


If the family hasn’t requested otherwise, flowers are always a welcome gift for a funeral. They show respect for the deceased while also bringing a small comfort to the surviving family as they struggle to cope with the loss. The arrangement size that you choose should depend on how close you were to the deceased or the surviving family. 

If you aren’t that close but want to show respect, there’s nothing wrong with choosing a cheaper arrangement. Not everyone has the money available with short notice to order a grand flower arrangement for a funeral, especially if you aren’t that close to those involved. 

People and mourning concept - close up of woman with white lily flowers and coffin at funeral in church

A larger arrangement may be more appropriate for those closer to the deceased and their family. A lovely wreath or even multiple arrangements can brighten up the room during a dark and challenging time. 

While flowers are undoubtedly welcome during the grieving process, they’re not always the most practical gift. Remember that the flowers you send won’t last forever and will be thrown away after a week or two. So, if you’re close to the deceased’s family, consider sending a gift that may make their time of grief a little easier. Let’s go over some other options.


Sometimes families will ask that you make a donation to an organization that meant a lot to the deceased instead of sending flowers. That is especially common when the deceased was involved in specific organizations or donated to a particular cause while they were living. 

For example, if a family member passes away from cancer, the family may ask for donations for cancer research. Contributions to the organization of the family’s choosing should include the deceased’s name. 

If a donation is requested, it may be challenging to choose an amount to send. While you can donate as much as you’d like, you should stick with the amount that you would’ve spent on flowers. 

If you would’ve stuck with a smaller arrangement, you should consider a smaller donation. When it comes to organizations accepting donations, any amount is helpful, and you shouldn’t be ashamed if you can’t donate a lot of money. 

Remember that these donations are to help organizations and whoever they’re supporting. So, you’re not directly helping the deceased’s family with this type of gift. That doesn’t mean you should hold back or refuse to donate, but it’s essential to understand that this gift isn’t going to do much to help the family during this difficult time.


Food is one of the most underrated but common gifts we can give during times of grief and loss. Mourning can make the most ordinary or mundane tasks seem next to impossible. Buying and cooking food often gets lost in the shuffle of arranging a funeral and dealing with grief. So, giving food as a gift can be helpful. 

Food is also a great gift if you’re not able to attend a service as grocery delivery companies are available everywhere. Even without being there in person, you can send food to your friends or family as they try to deal with the loss. 

One of the essential things to remember about sending food as a gift is knowing the recipients well enough to know of any food allergies they may struggle with. You don’t want to send something that’ll need to be disposed of or could make them sick. So, be careful when picking out food. 

Rather than getting food delivered, you can also cook food for the grieving family. If you choose to do this, it’s best to cook something that can last them for a few days rather than just a single meal. Focus on cooking something in bulk and make sure it can be refrigerated and saved for later if needed. 

If you’re considering this gift for a funeral, try cooking a simple casserole or something else that only requires a single dish. Feel free to add a dessert if you want to, but the most crucial part is feeding the family. Shopping and cooking aren’t things that we often consider challenging, but they can be pretty tedious during a time of loss and grief. 

Monetary Gift

If the family hasn’t specified a donation and you aren’t sure about gifting food, you may want to consider giving money to the family to help them during this trying time. Money can help get them food or make paying their bills a little easier. It could even go toward helping to pay for the funeral costs as funerals are pretty expensive

While there’s no obligation to give money to the deceased’s family, they’d appreciate any amount given the financial burden that often comes with losing a family member and affording everything that comes with a funeral. 

When we discussed donations above, the idea was to donate as much as you would’ve spent on flowers. When giving money directly to the deceased’s family, you can follow that same rule or even take it a step further. 

Remember that this money is going directly to the family that needs it. So, the amount you give should vary based on how much you’re comfortably able to offer and how much help the family may need. 

As far as how to give the money to the family, there are a few ways to do this. Of course, you can hand them cash or a check when you’re at the funeral and let them know it’s a gift instead of flowers. 

If you want to do something a little more formal, you can purchase a sympathy card and place the money inside of it. If you choose the card option, make sure you give it directly to a family member to ensure it gets in the right hands. Also, consider writing a heartfelt note to the family of the deceased explaining that the money is to help them through a tough time.

Handmade Gifts

Sometimes, the most thoughtful thing you can do is offer up something you have made yourself. Handmade gifts can be significant, especially when they have something to do with the deceased. 

Be as creative as you want, but keep in mind to respect the individual who passed and try to make your gift heartfelt. 

Offering a scrapbook of pictures of the deceased, something you made with the person who passed, or a portrait are all excellent ideas. These items will be keepsakes and heirlooms for the family to remind them of the deceased long after the funeral is over. 

Final Thoughts

Choosing the amount you want to spend for a funeral gift can be difficult, but sticking to a specific budget can help you send something meaningful without overspending. The amount you spend should depend on how well you know the deceased or their family and the budget you have to work with. 

When finding a funeral gift, remember to respect the family’s wishes, but if they don’t specify a gift, then you have some freedom. Choose something that may brighten their day, like flowers, or try something a little more helpful like food or money. 


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Alex Noel

Hi there! I'm Alex Noel and live in Indianapolis, Indiana. I started this website to share my experience. My goal is to provide Americans a more fulfilling goodbye.

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