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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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Funeral Etiquette: Taking Photographs at Funerals

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should-you-take-photographs-at-a-funeral-add-headingEarlier this year, we wrote about families hiring a professional photographer to take photos at their loved one’s funeral and the ways it might benefit families in mourning. Families have control over a professional’s work and distribution of the images; however, they often lack that control when non-professionals, even those with good intentions, take photos at funerals. Sharing funeral photos can cause distress for the deceased’s loved ones, particularly when they post images on sites such as Facebook and Instagram. The news is frequently filled with people coming under fire for taking casket selfies. Just last week, the daughter of rap music star Shawty Lo publicly criticized fans for posting images of her father in his casket on social media sites after they were asked not to take photos.

The issue of photography at funerals isn’t likely to fade away. How is your funeral home responding? Does your funeral home have a policy on photography?  Are you steering the families you serve in the right direction and communicating best practices?  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 »

Grieving Online – No Apologies Needed

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Everyone has those Facebook friends who overshare every aspect of their lives – from what they had for breakfast that morning to their thoughts on last night’s political debate. It’s easy to grow weary of those who overshare.

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There’s an etiquette that’s slowly developed around being a good online friend (read more 14 Do’s and Don’ts; Essential Facebook Etiquette) and approaching online interactions with care, but the lines are still blurred when someone has experienced loss.  Read the rest of this entry »

Reasons for Funeral Homes NOT to be on Facebook

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3-16 Rodriguez FacebookIn speaking with funeral directors, OGR has discovered that many are unsure if their funeral home should be on Facebook (read 4 Lies About a Funeral Home Facebook Page).  Amidst the pros and cons of such a decision lies the ultimate question. What is your purpose for being on Facebook? Identifying your social media mission can help with determining whether your firm should have a presence online.

It’s generally easier to come up with reasons not to do something than to come up with reasons to take action. While this blog isn’t meant to be a comprehensive look at having an online presence, it does briefly touch on pros and cons for being online.

Below are a few reasons why a Facebook page won’t work for your business, but also a few reasons for why it might … Read the rest of this entry »

How Can Facebook Interaction Impact My Funeral Home?

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OGR Vander Plaat FH
Vander Plaat Funeral Home in Wyckoff, NJ              Firm of OGR President Bill Brock

When people drive by your funeral home, what do you want them to remember about that brief encounter? At the very least, most owners want to be remembered for something positive like the pink rose bushes that were planted or the beautiful gold doors that were installed. Why? Because your building is a physical representation of your business, and the way you represent your business matters.

But, as many of us know, there are many other ways that people are able to gather a first impression of your funeral home and because of the internet, people are more likely to have their first encounter with your business online. The same way you control what people see when they drive by your place of business is the same way you can have control of what people see when they encounter your business online.  Read the rest of this entry »