New York State Funeral Directors Association

It’s difficult to know what a good gift might be for a friend who is grieving the loss of a loved one.

Fortunately, there’s no shortage of groups doing good work that could use some help - and many will do so in memory of someone your friend has lost.

Often, you can find something that fits with what your friend’s loved one liked in life.

For those who loved wildlife, there’s no shortage of life forms with groups out there seeking some help who will gladly put donations towards their work in honor of your friend’s loved one.

Typically, they provide a letter, certificate or other tangible acknowledgement of your thoughtfulness.


Stately and symbolic, trees are a fixture of most people’s landscapes, and helping to preserve them or even plant them makes for a kind gesture for your friend.

The website Honoring a Life puts it nicely: “A memorial tree creates a long-term connection with nature and helps inform those affected by the gesture about the importance of our natural environment.”

The Trees Remember is another similar site that gives perspective to the gift of a tree: “It is gift of Life which helps support and heal both those who receive it as well as our planet.”

The National Arbor Day Foundation, which also offers memorial tree planting, describes it as a way to “inspire energy, faith, devotion, and courage and carry forward the name of those memorialized in a living, vital way that grows grander with the years.”


There’s a lot more you can do to honor a friend who loved animals.

How about putting some money towards an organization that helps animals needing a “second chance?” I’ll bet a lot of people could relate to the value of second chances. Take a look at the possibilities offered by the Best Friends Animal Society in Utah.

There’s a large number of sites you can find by searching. How about helping a couple of cute little albino seals survive? Check out the Marine Mammal Center in California.


Fish-lovers would be pleased to learn there’s a site in Virginia that maintains aquariums and you can help them care for these fish - including seahorses - in honor of a loved one.


There are sites that accept memorial donations to help rescue horses, too.

Save the Horses in Georgia is one of several horse rescue sites that accept donations to keep them running. They’ll send a card out to your friend acknowledging the gift in memory of a loved one.

There are, admittedly, numerous “animal sanctuaries,” and some are better-equipped than others to actually make a difference in the life of animals.

The website of the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries maps out the sites believed to be the most useful - and least likely to be scams.

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EdsPhotoEd Munger
Communications & Social Media Specialist
NYS Funeral Directors Association