Above and Beyond

Distributing Grief Info: How to Share All You Know

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This post is Part 2 of a series on providing grief information to families (see Part 1 here). The original article appeared in the 2017 spring issue of OGR’Independent magazine

Your funeral home may offer a number of grief resources to families, but are you distributing the information in a way that reaches the most people? Below are some ideas for providing grief information as a way to market your expertise, build relationships, and engender trust even before a pre-need or at-need situation.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Providing Grief Info: It’s Not Just Aftercare

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This article originally appeared in the 2017 spring issue of OGR’s Independent magazine.

I am always encouraged when I see funeral homes providing their families and communities with high-quality information about grief and loss. I believe that providing grief information is a critical way for funeral homes to distinguish themselves from their competitors. Unfortunately, some funeral professionals only think of grief information as a part of aftercare. Instead, I would encourage you to view providing grief information as a way to market your expertise, build relationships, and engender trust even before a pre-need or at-need situation. I have outlined several ways that grief information can help set you apart as a funeral home that provides exceptional care to bereaved families.  Read the rest of this entry »

Why Family Feedback is Important

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Customer feedback is a significant part of all business operations. In order to serve people well, you have to know what is important to them. 

Each year, OGR’s Exemplary Service Award is given to the top three nominees chosen by OGR members and is based on family feedback OGR receives through the Family Contact Program. This year’s winners had a lot to say about why family feedback is an important part of their funeral home.   Read the rest of this entry »

What It Means to be a Golden Rule Funeral Home

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For nearly 90 years, the Order of the Golden Rule (OGR) has embarked on a mission to seek out and identify outstanding funeral homes around the world. Our members are independent, locally owned and operated firms dedicated to providing exceptional service to their client families. We call them Golden Rule Funeral Homes.

Not just any firm can join OGR. Those seeking membership go through a carefully developed screening process to assure both OGR and the public that member firms are of the highest quality.

To be a part of this prestigious group means a firm has distinguished itself in the following ways: Read the rest of this entry »

Funeral Directors – The Unsung Heroes of the Holidays

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The holiday season can be especially stressful for funeral directors. You may not get time off like everyone else, or you may live far away from your family. Often, due to the demands of your profession, you can’t travel to be with your own loved ones.

When a death occurs during the holiday season, it can be especially difficult for the families you serve. As a result, the family may take out their anger, along with other negative emotions associated with the passing, on you. As a funeral director, you have no choice but to let them vent.

Sacrificing time with your loved ones and dealing with the misplaced distress of families happen year-round. However, these issues become more pronounced during the holiday season.

December brings some of the coldest, darkest days of the year, yet people use this time to spread joy and make happy memories. In the spirit of this wonderful season, let’s take a moment to find the bright side.  Read the rest of this entry »

How to Write Better Obituaries

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This article originally appeared in the March issue of Mortuary Management. Writer Kim Stacey will be hosting OGR’s June 16 webinar and takes the time to share how to write a better obituary.

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Late last year Jessica A. Smith of the Order of the Golden Rule (OGR) asked me to be a course leader for a 2016 OGR-sponsored webinar about writing obituaries. The webinar, titled “How to Write an Obituary Worth Reading,” is slated for mid-June, and “will look at the factors which make a good obituary” as well as “provide a forum where funeral professionals can share their obituary-writing experiences and learn from one another.”

The topic was prompted, in part, by the recent rise of the “viral” obituary, where the story (or the personal agenda of the writer) resonates so deeply with readers that the obituary is shared — using popular social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter — by millions of Internet users.

article-0-1BC0557D000005DC-592_634x403You know the ones I’m talking about. Think back to 2013 when the obituary of Marianne Theresa Johnson-Reddick was published. This scathing “tribute,” written by her surviving adult children, included sentences like these: “Everyone she met, adult or child, was tortured by her cruelty and exposure to violence, criminal activity, vulgarity, and hatred of the gentle or kind human spirit,” and “We celebrate her passing from this earth and hope she lives in the after-life reliving each gesture of violence, cruelty and shame that she delivered on her children.” It also featured a call for “a national movement and dedicated war against child abuse in the United States of America.” This lurid story, combined with the expression of vengeful desire and the direct “call-to-action,” made this obituary an overnight global sensation.  Read the rest of this entry »

7 Ways to Host a Holiday Event at Your Funeral Home

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Durbin HOliday FINALIt’s just about that time of year. The weather has cooled. Coats, sweaters, and scarves are out. Hot chocolate is on the stove. ‘Tis the season to be jolly… the holidays are right around the corner!

Hosting a holiday event, either at your funeral home or off-site, is a great way to bring members of your community together. We have put together a few family-oriented event ideas to help you stay involved in your community this holiday season.  Read the rest of this entry »