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Written by Jenny Goldade

 

Recently, the NFDA conducted its 2019 Consumer Awareness and Preferences Survey to gain insight on Americans’ funeral knowledge and preferences. From funeral personalization to green burial options, the survey results are even more proof of changing funeral traditions.

 

It’s a lot of great information that we recommend reading — which you can find in the NFDA’s September 2019 issue of The Director. But, we’ll highlight the most important findings and how your funeral home can take action.

 

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Less Religion, More Personalization

This shouldn’t be a surprise since funeral personalization has been a hot topic lately in the funeral profession. More families want a personalized funeral service that honors their loved one and also reflects their life.

 

Part of the reason for an increased desire in personalized services is that fewer families are religious. With not having religious beliefs to follow, it opens the door for a lot more ways to personalize the funeral. Per the survey, only 35.4% of respondents feel a religious component in the funeral of a loved one is very important — which is down from almost 50% in 2012.

 

So, how can your funeral home accommodate non-religious families and personalized funeral requests? Below are some simple, yet meaningful ways to personalize a funeral service that doesn’t require that much additional planning or funds:

  • Play the deceased’s favorite songs or music that reminds the family of them.
  • Serve the deceased’s favorite food or signature recipes at the funeral reception.
  • Create a display table at the visitation to show the deceased’s memorabilia.
  • Offer funeral guests a small funeral gift to remember their loved one by.
  • Show a Tribute Video at the visitation and/or funeral service to honor their life.

More Interest in Alternative Burial Options

Being less religious also brings about the popularity of alternative funeral options. Not everyone wants a traditional burial anymore, so they’re interested in cremation and green funeral options.

 

Per the survey, 51.6% of respondents are interested in exploring green funeral options to be greener and also save money. And, for those interested in cremation, almost half of them want to scatter the cremated remains in a special place. As you can see, the numbers don’t lie; families want to learn more about alternative burial options.

 

However, your funeral home should do your own assessment of your community before making any changes. If you find that families in your area are interested in alternative burial options, then it may be something to look into adding to your service offerings. To learn how your funeral home conduct marketing research, download our free eBook.

 

Lack of Funeral Preplanning

One of the more alarming findings is that there aren’t a lot of people funeral preplanning. As you’ve seen firsthand, not planning ahead only causes added stress down the road when the time comes.

 

According to the survey, a whopping 88.5% of respondents haven’t preplanned and only 43% are somewhat or very likely to preplan with the next five years. It’s also important to note the respondents’ ages, as 36% were younger, between the ages of 40 and 54.

 

However, as you know, it’s never too early to start preplanning. Below are a few ways your funeral home can start the funeral preplanning conversation with families:

  • Use the Have the Talk of a Lifetime cards.
  • Host a Pizza and Preplan event at your funeral home.
  • Have preplanning resources on your website to educate families.
  • Engage with families on social media about the importance of preplanning.

What NFDA survey results did you find interesting? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!