This year, for the first time, cremation became more popular than burial in the United States. According to a report released by the National Funeral Director’s Association, the cremation rates have skyrocketed over the last decade. In 2005, only 32.2% of Americans opted to have their remains cremated compared to 61.4% opting to be buried in the traditional manner.
Fast forward 10 years and the numbers look completely different. Today, over 70% of people opt to be cremated compared to just 23.2% who choose to be buried. As a result of the drastic shift in the death care industry, many firms are scrambling to catch up with the growing trend. But, why all of a sudden has the practice become so popular? Well, there are many contributing factors.
Last week, I had the pleasure of sitting in on a cremation presentation at the New York State Funeral Directors Association Convention. The title of the presentation was “All Cremations DO NOT Have to be DIRECT” by Mike Nicodemus; VP of Cremation Services with the National Funeral Directors Association, and let me tell you it was just as educational for me as it was entertaining. For those of you who have sat in on a presentation with Mike, it’s hard not to have a good laugh in there at some point. Or, as one of my colleagues who was with me, Jules Green said, “even for a squirrel like me, that was very, very interesting and I stayed focused. Who would have thought?”
It’s always great being on the other end of these presentations. Usually, I am the one at the front of the room teaching funeral directors, but this time I was there to learn and it was so nice to take some time to just listen to some incredible stats and listen and watch funeral directors in the room share their insights on such a growing topic.
I always say that you can use the Internet to get a message out to the masses, instead of just 100 people in a room. So, what a perfect opportunity to write a blog post on some of the things that I heard during the session and chuckled about (as some of it was quite comical). Let’s do a little recap of some of the major points that I personally thought were pretty important:
Next month marks FrontRunner’s one-year anniversary in our brand new offices. It is hard to believe that we have already been at our new location for almost one year, but where it has come is truly unbelievable.When we first started looking to expand to a larger location, it was a task that seemed next to impossible. At the time, our team was split between two offices and it lost it’s “FrontRunner team” feel. We knew that we had to bring everyone back under one roof. So, we looked and looked and looked. Finally, a beautiful 6,500 square foot commercial condo right on Kingston’s waterfront came on the market and we saw the perfect opportunity to not only have the best office space, but also to build a Technology Center for clients and funeral professionals to be able to come and learn about using technology and marketing to truly grow their business. Continue reading →
Where is one place you can escape the cold, meet funeral professionals from all over, put your feet up and relax and learn more in one week than you ever thought possible? Past funeral technology and marketing cruisers would tell you that the annual FrontRunner workshop cruise is exactly that.
I’ll admit – we took a year off from our annual workshop cruise this past year. A lot of work goes into planning this event and with our company growth, we just needed a small break from the cruise. We had more phone calls than ever last year from funeral professionals asking how they could book the cruise (isn’t that the way it always happens?). So, we were very happy to tell them that 2015 was a no-go for the cruise but to be ready for 2016 because it is back on!
Registration is now open for this year’s Cremation Strategies Conference , which takes place November 12th in St. Pete Beach, Florida. The one-day event is packed with experienced and knowledgeable speakers who will focus their talks on catering to all cremation families and earn you up to 5 Continuing Education Unit (CEU) credits.
If you aren’t reaching out to cremation families and helping them recognize the value of memorialization, then you’ll only have yourself to blame when competitors boost market share at your expense.
The last funeral I attended for a close family member was over 20 years ago. My grandmother, in her mid-80s at the time of her death, had arranged everything. There were several visitations with an open and ornate casket, a full service, and a graveside ceremony. She clearly stated that she wanted all the bells-and-whistles because she had lived a full life and deserved it.
Those words have stuck with me all these years later. There’s little doubt that my grandmother considered a full, traditional funeral as the ultimate way to define her status. This was the accepted and preferred funeral arrangement – the status quo. Everyone else she knew in her generation had a big funeral and she wanted one too. She could afford it and wanted everyone to know it.