innovation

One Change I Would Have Made at My Dad’s Funeral: Webcasting

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Why is recordingwebcasting a funeral service important for families- What do they get out of it-

“If I could do something differently, I would ask for someone to record my dad’s service.” ~ This comment was taken directly from a survey received through OGR’s consumer feedback program, The Family Contact Program


Family Contact Participants often receive comments that help them improve their business offerings and practices. Through the blog series “Exploring Solutions with Family Contact,” members get better insight into services that might benefit their funeral home.


Have you ever received feedback like this from a family you served? Or maybe you’ve attended a funeral yourself and wished later it had been recorded.

The recording and webcasting of funeral services is a service more and more families are requesting. Several factors account for this increase: the sudden popularity with livestreaming on social media and in social gatherings, the distance family members now live from each other, and the psychological comfort it provides people who have lost a loved one. In this week’s blog, OGR will explore recording and webcasting services, and what this trend means for families and funeral homes.  Read the rest of this entry »

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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 »

10 Things I’ve Learned from Working with Funeral Directors

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9-1 10 Things Funeral Service Smith
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 »

Online Funeral Arrangements: Start Planning Now

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1Are families ready to make funeral arrangements online? Funeral professionals often look at me like I’m crazy when I ask that question. They say, “Families will never forego personal connections when they plan something as important and as sensitive as making funeral arrangements.” Just like the national cremation rate would never exceed 50 percent, right? Read the rest of this entry »

3 Changes Any Funeral Service Professional Can Make

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Funeral Directors as EntrepreneursOGR held its inaugural Young Professionals (YP) event last week and had speakers share on innovation, managing stress, pitching an idea to an employer, and solving challenges in the workplace.

Here are three quick takeaways from some of the sessions. OGR will provide a more comprehensive summary in the coming months.  Read the rest of this entry »

10 Trends in 2015 That Were Wake-Up Calls for Funeral Providers

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1-16 Allen - 2015 Recap

OGR does its best to keep members in touch with the most important news stories, statistics and trends that impact independent funeral homes through OGR’s weekly e-newsletter, The Independent Insider, and its quarterly magazine, The Independent. Of the hundreds of trends we saw in 2015, the following 10 are our picks for those that give us the best clues to where we need to focus in order to serve families in ways that are more meaningful, healing and palatable.  Read the rest of this entry »

8 Easy Ways Your Funeral Home Can Adapt to Change

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Holiday Ideas

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 »