Tribute and honorary gifts, made in honor or in memory of someone who is not a donor, are a great way for nonprofit organizations to raise awareness and funds while honoring an individual, either in memoriam or celebration. In fact, according to the 2020 Global Trends in Giving Report, 33% of donors give tribute gifts to family and friends. Tribute giving can help an organization reach its fundraising goal because tribute gifts come from a strong belief in the organization’s mission and are generally given from a place of pain, heartache, healing, and love, and the donor wishes to give back in a meaningful way.

Maximize the Impact of Tribute Gifts

While tribute donors are typically one-time donations, they don’t have to be. Sharing with donors how their tribute gift contributes towards the mission of the organization can be a strong point of converting them into a repeat donor.

  • Inform and update those providing the donation with the programs and efforts that are supported because of their donation, and don’t forget to send them a follow-up email or phone call to thank them for providing a tribute gift. Additionally, create a space on the website to acknowledge tribute gifts.
  • Ask donors right on the donation form if they want to increase their impact and make the donation recurring.
  • Include a prompt that asks if they want to subscribe to the newsletters before leaving the donation form, or a link that leads to more information about how to get involved in other ways, such as volunteering or attending events.
  • Make the tribute section a standard element on all donation forms. This will provide donors the option to give a tribute in honor of loved ones consistently.
  • Include tributes on every campaign – Whether it’s a gala event, a direct mailing, or peer-to-peer campaign, it is important to show donors that tributes are an option across every platform of your organization.

A mobile donation page on the Bradley University website that features tribute giving

MobileCause makes it easy for a donor to make a tribute gift. When the In Honor/Memoriam section is included on the form, the donor will see a checkbox that states, “Make this gift in someone’s honor”. When the donor checks the box, options will be laid out on the form to include the recipient’s name and email address, and a special note. There will also be a field to include the person’s name for whom the donation honors. Making these fields required ensures proper notification and delivery of the tribute.

Additionally, there will be a checkbox to send a personalized e-card. When the e-card is selected, the donor will have the choice of six e-cards to choose from with various images. The donor can select the one that best fits their sentiment. The MobileCause Admin can offer customized images with their brand colors, logo, or visual imagery that will resonate strongly with their constituents.

An example of a tribute giving page for nonprofits that features a selection of e-cards to choose from

Pro Tip: In addition to adding tribute gifts to all your donation forms, create a donation form where tribute giving is the only option. This allows you to easily promote your tribute giving program in print, in email, and social media through a unique URL redirect. For example, see

About the Author

Denise Dunbar is a Fundraising Strategist at MobileCause where she helps nonprofits accelerate their fundraising and engagement efforts through giving and marketing strategies.