The NFDA recently released their findings from their annual Consumer Awareness and Preference Study. One of their key findings — families felt that it’s important to discuss funeral wishes, yet few actually do so.
Below are the key findings of the NFDA study.
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Preplanning is Important, but Not a Priority
The NFDA’s feature finding was that 62.5% of families “felt it was very important to communicate their funeral plans and wishes to family members prior to their own death.” Yet, when asked how many actually did so, only 21.4% responded that they had made future funeral arrangements.
When respondents were asked why they hadn’t made any arrangements or shared funeral plans, their responses included:
- Preplanning wasn’t a priority.
- They haven’t thought much about their funeral wishes.
- Prepaying is too expensive.
There’s a silver lining in this. While so many families have yet to preplan their funeral, the desire is definitely there. So, what can your funeral home do about it? Below are some creative ways to get families talking:
- Create an informative video for social media that goes over the benefits of preplanning.
- Encourage families to create an In Case of Emergency (ICE) book for their household. It’s an indirect way to bring up the topic of funeral planning and can help ease families into the conversation.
- Create an effective preneed marketing strategy for social media and traditional marketing by employing Aristotle’s methods of persuasion.
- Host a lighthearted event where families discuss their bucket lists as another indirect way to talk about funeral preplanning.
Families Want Personal Services, but Won’t Shop
Another big finding was that families value personal funeral services. They want new and one-of-a-kind ways to celebrate and honor their loved ones.
But most families won’t shop around to compare services or prices. The NFDA found that only 18.9% of families contacted more than one funeral home.
This means that most families will simply choose the first funeral home they contact. And that’s that. For some families, it might be a funeral home they’ve used in the past. But what about families who have never had to plan a funeral before? That’s where an effective marketing strategy becomes important.
By raising your awareness in the community, you’re going to increase your chances of being called first. Below are some tips for increasing awareness and engagement:
- Establish thought leadership in your community to set yourself apart.
- Find and identify your funeral home’s unique selling point or competitive advantage.
- Grow your social media audience to engage more families online.
- Apply modern marketing principles to create a positive presence in your community.
Funerals Outside the Funeral Home
The NFDA also found families want a ceremony at a non-traditional location. They are choosing outdoor settings, homes, or other meaningful locations that capture the personality of their loved one. Here are some articles on how your funeral home can embrace this trend:
- 7 Tips for Planning an Outdoor Funeral Service
- Does Your Funeral Home Décor Need a New Design?
- DIY Funerals: The Funeral Without the (Funeral) Home
Religious Rituals Waning
Another finding was that the importance of religious rituals is at an all-time low. When asked about the importance of religion incorporated into the funeral, the families that responded with “very important” declined from 49.5% in 2012 to just 39.5% in 2017. According to the NFDA, it’s the lowest it’s ever been, as families are “turning to non-clergy celebrants, a specially trained officiant of an end-of-life service, to conduct ceremonies.”
Here’s how your funeral home can cater to the rising non-religious trend:
- Start by creating new rituals that are personal for the family.
- Learn about the “humanist” funeral — a trend of celebrating human ceremonies that don’t adhere to one particular religion.
Green Funerals Growing
Another important finding was that the green funeral movement continues to make an impact. The NFDA survey found that more than half of respondents, 53.8%, would be interested in green funeral options. The NFDA listed green services as “use of biodegradable caskets, a formaldehyde-free embalming process, recycled paper products” and other environmentally-friendly practices.
Download our free eBook on green funerals to explore the reasons behind the trend, the alternative options available, and even some small ways your funeral home can become the go-to green provider in your community.
Man’s Best Friend Comforts Families
Therapy dogs are making headlines each day as funeral homes continue to adopt their own caring canines. And families are open to the idea. In addition to other findings, the study reported that 34.5% of families said they would be “extremely” or “very interested” in having a therapy dog present at a funeral. Click here to learn about the benefits of adopting your own therapy dog.
Creating Rituals with Cremation
Here’s another interesting — and important — finding. According to the study, the number of families choosing to have a memorial service after choosing cremation rose to 40.4% in 2017.
As more families choose cremation, it’s important to keep in mind that many families still want a unique service to honor their loved one.
Check out the articles below to see how you can create new rituals when it comes to cremation:
- Why Your Funeral Home Should Create a Memorial Garden
- How Cremation has Changed Our Traditions
- 10 Unique Ash Releasing Ceremony Ideas
Read the NFDA’s annual Consumer Awareness and Preferences Study press release here.