event planning

2016 Trends that Shaped Funeral Service–Part I

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In many people’s minds, 2016 will be remembered as the year celebrities dropped like flies. According to Legacy.com, the number of celebrity deaths was comparable to previous years, but three factors made it appear that celebrities were dying in droves: 1) a higher-than-average number of those who died were either A-list or legendary stars; 2) many musicians died who had extremely loyal fan bases; and 3) the average age of celebrities who died this year was about 10 years younger than usual.

Aside from celebrity deaths, growing pains continued to reach every aspect of funeral service. During the last 12 months we saw some outrageous trends, some of which have already used up their 15 minutes of fame. Other news stories highlighted shifts in public preferences that merit our continued attention, even if these changes seem undignified to some traditionalists.

Part I of this blog will examine five topics which drew national, and sometimes international, attention to funeral service in ways that are relevant to serving families in the near future. Next week, Part II will examine five more topics.  Read the rest of this entry »

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10 Things I’ve Learned from Working with Funeral Directors

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Here’s a typical conversation that I have when I’m out with friends, meeting new people.

“What do you do?” asks someone who doesn’t really care but feels obligated to engage me in conversation.

“I work for a trade association that works with independently owned funeral homes. I’m a meeting planner.” I respond to cut to the chase.

“Oh! So you plan funerals? Do you embalm bodies?” returns the individual who now has a stronger interest in hearing what I have to say and obviously wasn’t listening.

“No. But I know quite a few people who do. Why? Do you need a discount on an urn?”

The asker typically turns pale and isn’t sure where to go from there.

So goes many a conversation at cocktail parties and other events when I have the opportunity to interact with anyone who doesn’t work in funeral service. It’s made me stop and think about what funeral directors face when they share their story with others.

Since I joined OGR’s staff four years ago, I’ve learned quite a bit about funeral service professionals and have found that they have a pretty challenging job. They work long, irregular hours around strange smells, extreme emotions, and lots of paperwork. They respond to phone calls in the middle of the night, often miss holidays with their families, and care for dead bodies. They maintain composure and professionalism in the midst of family conflict, inclement weather, and national tragedies. A lot of what they do is behind the scenes, unseen and unheard.  Read the rest of this entry »

8 Easy Ways Your Funeral Home Can Adapt to Change

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It’s not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.
–W. Edward Deming

Funeral directors often tell me they don’t need to change because their customers don’t want change. The same people used to tell me their cremation rate would top out at 10 percent, their average sale would never decline and their profit margin would always remain positive. I have no doubt that everyone has a pocket of families who never want funeral service to evolve. It’s the other 90 percent we have to 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 »

Golden Rule Funeral Homes are Taking Time to Honor Veterans.

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November 11, 1918 marked the temporary cessation of hostilities, or an armistice, between Allied nations  and Germany and the eventual end of World War I. In honor of that day, November 11 has become known as Veterans Day, a day to “honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.” [1]

Many OGR members, Golden Rule funeral homes, take time each November to honor the veterans in their community. We decided to share some of their stories.  Read the rest of this entry »

“Hello? Can You Tell Me How Have the Talk of a Lifetime Will Help Me Plan the Funeral I Really Want?”

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Where’s the car I was promised that folds into a briefcase? That may be an odd question given the amazing technology that’s been introduced during my lifetime. Computer and Internet magic have far surpassed anything I could have imagined. Still, I’m a little disappointed that some genius hasn’t figured out how to produce the fold-up automobile featured in the 1960s television cartoon The Jetsons. Read the rest of this entry »

5 Event Planner Tips for Funeral Directors, Part 2

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This week we conclude our discussion on the intersection between event planning and funeral service. Holly Muchnok, an event planner and speaker at OGR’s “Regional Workshop: Fresh Approaches to Funeral & Memorial Services” on August 7, 2015, gives practical suggestions for how funeral directors can incorporate event planning into their businesses in this final post. 

The intersection between the event and funeral industries is surprising and frequent.  Each profession is serving others, streamlining options, caring for those in an emotional state of being, managing budgets, creating schedules and meeting vast and various needs during one of the most important times in people’s lives.   The tips below are from my office to yours as you navigate the question of how your funeral home and you as a professional might offer excellence to your community. Read the rest of this entry »