On February 23, 2016, Homesteaders Life Company turned 110 years old.
My husband and I will be celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary at the end of June. We’ve been discussing plans for marking this special occasion for months now. Should we finally take that trip overseas or just have a simple party to celebrate with close family and friends? A lot depends on our budget, of course, but no matter what we finally decide, we both agree that it’s important to recognize this milestone in our marriage. We look forward to taking time to reflect on what we’ve accomplished and reaffirming our commitment to the future.
Wouldn’t you agree that these are good reasons for your funeral home to celebrate anniversaries too?
Celebrating your funeral home’s milestone anniversary is a perfect opportunity to share your story with your client families, staff members and community. It’s a chance for you to recognize and thank everyone who’s contributed to your organization’s history and success. In addition, these celebrations allow you to further educate these audiences about your services and the value of what you do to support families in your community.
Anniversary celebrations are top-of-mind at Homesteaders Life Company, too. On February 23, 2016, Homesteaders turned 110 years old! In recognition of this milestone we held a kick-off celebration at our first-quarter, all-employee staff meeting. This event incorporated a historical perspective and celebrated our recent achievements in serving families. Our anniversary is an opportunity for the company to recognize and thank everyone, past and present, who's contributed to our long-term success.
But you don’t have to wait 110 years to celebrate your firm’s anniversary. Here are some simple steps to help you get started on your celebration.
Develop a plan.
Depending on the size of your firm, you can keep the plan simple enough for one or two people to accomplish or involve an entire project team. At Homesteaders, we’ve been discussing ways to honor our 110th anniversary for nearly a year, but it started with developing a plan and then forming a project committee, determining budgets, assigning tasks and rallying support and ideas from employees at every level of the company. (It’s similar to the process my husband and I are going through in preparation for our upcoming event.)
Create a special anniversary logo.
Design a commemorative logo that can be used throughout the year. Include this milestone graphic on all communications and marketing materials to highlight your years of service. Add it to company stationery, email signatures, newsletters, brochures, paid advertising and digital media.
Share your story on your website.
Provide a link on your website’s homepage that takes viewers to a page dedicated to your funeral home’s history. Highlight the most significant milestones and accomplishments that helped create the successful firm you are today. Using a timeline, along with photos, is an interesting and effective way to illustrate your story.
Videos can be a powerful tool for educating different audiences about your company’s history and can be used during and after your anniversary celebration. Once the video is produced, it also can be used as an effective marketing and recruiting resource. The video should be professionally produced (this is a good place to spend some additional dollars) and like the timeline, should tell your firm’s unique story and give viewers a better understanding of what your funeral home does, what makes you different and the value and benefits of working with/for you. Be sure to include links to this video on your website.
Connect with sponsorships and donations.
Find a cause (or causes) that you and your staff are passionate about and connect it with your anniversary celebration. For example, if it’s your 10th anniversary, contact a local shelter to “adopt” 10 families in need during the holiday season and provide gifts and meals for them. The key is finding things your entire staff can support. These types of feel-good activities highlight your firm’s involvement and compassion for the community and provide an opportunity to connect (or reconnect) families with your funeral home’s value proposition.
Promoting your anniversary does not have to be expensive. Use social media tools like Facebook, Twitter or a blog (you're reading this article so it must be working), as well as press releases to inform various audiences about your anniversary celebration and other events. Mail or email personal invitations to families you have served. If the budget allows, you can reinforce the messaging and help increase awareness with paid advertising as well.
So, whether your firm is celebrating your first, 50th or 150th anniversary, take the time to reflect on your accomplishments, recognize and thank all of the people who helped along the way and reaffirm your firm’s purpose and commitment to long-term success – and why it matters to your community and your profession.