Frazer Blog

NFDA: Funeral Planning Not a Priority for Most Families

by | Jul 13, 2017 | Funeral Profession

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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.

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:

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:

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:

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.

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:

Read the NFDA’s annual Consumer Awareness and Preferences Study press release here.


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