Many Businesses, Institutions, and Government Agencies Restrict Monetary Memorial Contributions: What to Know

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Clay Atchison III, owner of McAdams Floral and publisher of the Web site,http://www.inlieuofflowers.info, announces the online publication of an important resource for corporate human resources directors and managers, and small business owners. The article is titled Business, Institution, and Government Agency Ethics and Etiquette of Expressing Sympathy, and can be found on his site, at http://www.inlieuofflowers.info/business.

University funds may not be used for memorial contributions to given charities in lieu of flowers. If flowers are not appropriate, only a card will be sent

Clay Atchison III, owner of McAdams Floral and publisher of the Web site, In Lieu of Flowers, announces the online publication of an important resource for corporate human resources directors and managers, and small business owners.

The article is titled, Business, Institution, and Government Agency Ethics and Etiquette of Expressing Sympathy, and can be found on his site, at http://www.inlieuofflowers.info/business. Atchison intends this resource to help business leaders in making the often difficult decisions around the expression of sympathy, as a corporate entity.

In review; when preparing an obituary, it is tempting to suggest that donations be made "in lieu of flowers," but even with good intentions, this suggestion limits expressions of sympathy, especially from the employer of the deceased.

Many businesses, institutions, and government agencies have regulations prohibiting monetary donations as an expression of sympathy because it may be considered unethical to support one organization and not another, or some may view certain organizations as inappropriate.

For example, would any of these entities be able to give to a requested church, regardless of denomination, even those not affiliated with a "mainstream" religion?

In today's world when political correctness is so important, some directors or managers find that it would be daunting to review donation requests on a case-by-case basis, therefore they simply prohibit donations.

However, many of these same businesses have funds set aside for floral or plant tributes. Since flowers are a universally accepted gift, "flower funds" are generally set up to be used for various occasions. For example, the University of Houston, like many institutions, has strict rules and regulations for expressing sympathy. "University funds may not be used for memorial contributions to given charities in lieu of flowers. If flowers are not appropriate, only a card will be sent," (UHV condolences and Congratulations Policies).

The importance of acknowledging the difficult loss of someone who has impacted the business or institution cannot be overlooked. At a most challenging time, a business leader is able to express to the employee or associate that they are valued and will be supported when they return to work.

While a monetary donation is a worthy tribute, there is no comparable substitute for flowers at a sympathy service. Most families sincerely appreciate flowers and plants as they brighten a somber mood and help the bereaved visually experience support from family and friends. Also, floral tributes arrive in a timely manner, where as a charitable contribution notice may not arrive for two to four weeks or more.

When businesses, institutions, and government agencies are limited to a "flower-only fund," they are limited in their choices of expressing sympathy. When an obituary reads, "in lieu of flowers contributions can be made to an organization," a representative of the company may feel they are unable to send any gifts to a bereaved family. Instead of using the phrase "in lieu of flowers" in an obituary, consider simply stating that "a memorial contribution may be made to…" This alternate wording does not unduly restrict a sender in expressing sympathy, but allows a giver to make their own choice as to how to express sympathy.

For more information on professional or personal sympathy etiquette regarding the phrase "in lieu of flowers," visit the site.

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