A donation is a gift given, typically to a cause or/and for charitable purposes. A donation may take various forms, including cash, services, new or used goods as i.e. clothing, toys, food, vehicles, emergency or humanitarian aid items, and can also relate to medical care needs as i.e. blood or organs for transplant. Charitable gifts of goods or services are also called gifts in kind.
In politics, the law of some countries may prohibit or restrict the extent to which politicians may accept gifts or donations of large sums of money, especially from business or special interest groups (see campaign finance).
In countries where there are limits imposed on the freedom of disposition of the testator, there are usually similar limits on donations.
The person or institution giving a gift is called the donor, and the person or institution getting the gift is called the donee.
It is possible to donate in the name of a third party, making a gift in honor or in memory of someone or something. Gifts in honor or memory of a third party are made for various reasons, such as holiday gifts, wedding gifts, in memory of somebody who has died, in memory of pets or in the name of groups or associations no longer existing. Memorial gifts are sometimes requested by the survivors (e.g. "in lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to ABC Charity"), usually directing donations to a charitable organization for which the deceased was a donor or volunteer, or for a cause befitting the deceased's priorities in life or manner of death. Memorial donations are also sometimes given by people if they cannot go to the ceremonies.