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When the notations “in lieu of flowers, please…” or “contributions to xyz would be appreciated” appear in an obituary, take your cue from the request. You may still send flowers in addition, but if you wish to send only one expression of sympathy, follow the family’s wishes and choose the contribution.
If you want to be sure that the bereaved knows of your contribution,
it’s fine to mention it in person or in your sympathy note: “We’ve
remembered Maria with a contribution to The Benevolent Society.”