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Part 1: What We Learned During the 2018 NFDA Convention Workshops

by | Oct 19, 2018 | Funeral Profession

taking notes in a notebook

Weren’t able to attend this year’s NFDA Convention in Salt Lake City? Or weren’t able to attend all the workshops? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with these highlights from a few of our favorite workshops we attended.

This is part one of a four-part series about some of the educational and inspiring 2018 NFDA Convention workshops.

Asian Culture in Cremation and Funerals

In this workshop presented by Charles An, he discussed Chinese, Vietnamese, and Korean funeral traditions.

Two key components of a Chinese funeral service are Feng Shui and burning joss paper. Families burn joss paper to send goods to the deceased in their next life. They even take photos and videos of the joss paper burning to document that they burned enough items for the deceased.

Both a Vietnamese and Korean funeral service can last up to three days. For a Vietnamese funeral service, monks typically lead everyone in prayers and chants. The church usually is heavily involved in a Korean funeral service and follows a strict schedule that they don’t like to stray from.

To read a more in-depth recap of this session, check out our most recent cultural spotlight blog post.

Why Youth and Funerals Matter

This workshop presented by Carrie Bauer discussed the importance of including children in funeral rituals. Attending the funeral helps children understand death and grieve their loss. It also allows the whole family to start their grief journey together.

She shared the three components of a child’s understanding of death:

  1. Nonfunctionality — The body stops working.
  2. Irreversibility — Death is permanent.
  3. Universality — Everyone will die.

By age seven or eight, children understand that everyone will die. Death affects children physically, emotionally, psychologically, behaviorally, and spiritually. They may have mixed emotions and reactions when a loved one dies, such as anger, self-blame, guilt, separation anxiety, and regression. They also may repeat questions hoping that the answer will change.

Before attending the funeral, their family should explain to them what will happen and what they will see. They should ask them if they have any questions and how they want to participate in the funeral — and they also should understand that their answer may change.

Your funeral home’s staff can help guide families in what to say to their children about death and the funeral. You also can provide them with educational resources from grief counselors and other grief experts. For during the funeral, your staff can create a comforting space with toys, books, and resources for children.

Be Our G.U.E.S.T.

Presenters Kathryn Pratscher, Donald Calhoun, Cheryl O’Hern, and Janet Hubbell talked about how families can benefit from The Funeral and Memorial Information Council’s Have the Talk of a Lifetime campaign. By using the Have the Talk of a Lifetime cards, families can start the funeral preplanning conversation and talk about how they want to be remembered.

Through using G.U.E.S.T. — gather, understand, everyone, share, and trust — these cards help families gather together to share their end-of-life wishes. Your funeral home can offer these cards to your families or even host an event. Hosting an event provides families with a comforting and engaging environment to discuss and learn about the importance of funerals and rituals.

Social Media Success Stories

Presenter Ashley Montroy discussed how funeral homes can make the most of Facebook and other social media platforms. If your funeral home isn’t on social media already, Facebook is a good place to start.

On Facebook, your funeral home should do more than just post obituaries. You also need to educate your families and engage with your community. It’s a great way to continue to build trust with client families and start building trust with potential client families before they even walk in your door.

To make sure your target audience sees your social media posts, you need to boost your posts. Boosting your posts allows them to be seen by more people, including those who don’t follow your funeral home’s page. You can set a budget for these boosted posts and select who the target audience is.

To learn more about social media promotion, download our free social media promotion eBook.

Did you attend any of the NFDA Convention workshops? What did you learn? Share your thoughts in the comments!


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