How to Get the Most Value Out of Your Funeral Convention Experience

Attending a funeral convention is a big investment, especially if you need to factor in travel and lodging expenses. But it’s also an investment in yourself and your funeral home. Every year, funeral professionals across the United States gather at state and national conventions to share new knowledge with each other and see the latest product and technology developments in the deathcare space.

Discover several tips to keep in mind to get the most value out of your convention experience — from why you should attend a funeral convention to what you should do before, during and after the event. Plus, learn about several national conventions you won’t want to miss in 2023!

Why You Should Attend a Funeral Convention 

Funeral conventions offer countless benefits for those in attendance. Here are the top benefits to consider when deciding to attend a convention:

  1. Educational Opportunities (i.e., earn CE credits, attend breakout sessions, listen to keynote speakers, walk the Expo Hall)
  2. Networking Opportunities (i.e., connect with vendors and partners, meet other funeral professionals)
  3. Social Opportunities (i.e., attend pre-convention events, grab dinner after expo hall hours with other funeral professionals)

Keep reading for more benefits and insights to help you plan for a successful convention experience.

What You Should Do Before the Convention


Make a List of Priorities

It can be easy to get distracted during a convention, especially with the fast-paced environment and hundreds of new faces. A few days before your convention, make a list of what you want to get done during the event. For example, do you want to reconnect with a vendor or mentor, or perhaps visit the exhibit booth of a new company that peaks your interest? Your list can help you stay focused and ensure that you get the most value from the experience.

Delegate Your Responsibilities

You have a lot of responsibilities. Even when you’re unavailable, your tasks still need to be completed. To keep any sudden moments of panic at bay, make a list of everything that you need taken care of in your absence and delegate groups of tasks to your employees. If you are the only licensed funeral director on staff, consider partnering with another funeral professional outside your service area to arrange coverage while you’re gone. It’s also important to let every staff member know who is responsible for what to avoid any confusion or mistakes. And, of course, ensure your answering service knows who to contact for after-hours calls.

What You Should Do During the Convention


Earn Continuing Education (CE) Credits

A major benefit of funeral conventions is the chance to attend continuing education opportunities. Many conventions offer classes that will provide funeral director, insurance or ethics credits. If you don’t have time to take one of these important classes, check out other continuing education classes provided by Homesteaders that may better fit your schedule.

Listen to Keynote Speakers

A good speaker will always leave you with something to think about, which is why it is so important to sit in on as many scheduled speakers as possible during your convention experience. Even if the topic doesn’t seem relevant to your firm on the surface, it never hurts to experience everything your convention has to offer. Pack something to take notes during the keynote and throughout the entire convention.

Investigate New Products

Walk the expo hall floor during your convention. Vendors often release and promote new products and special pricing during events like these. You do not have to feel obligated to purchase anything if you strike up a conversation with a vendor, but oftentimes these new products will generate ideas about your own business that you can jot down for later. Many conventions post a list of all vendors ahead of time. Look this up and make a game plan ahead of time. If you see Homesteaders on that list then definitely make a note to stop by and say hi to our account executives and staff!

Network with Others

Get outside of your comfort zone by attending a networking event. Not only is this good practice for working with client families, but you could also make a real connection with someone that could help your firm. It’s important to assume that everyone you are speaking with could be a future vendor, employee or even a trusted advisor.


You’ll get as much value out of your funeral convention experience as you put into it. Get involved by joining in conversations and session discussion opportunities. Ask any legitimate questions that you have or offer up personal experiences and stories. You never know who you could be helping in return.

Write Down New Ideas

Let your mind consider the possibilities as you see and hear new and exciting ways of running your business. The sky is the limit at a funeral convention. Don’t think about how and why things might not work right now. Save that thinking for when you’re back in the office! There is scientific proof that if you write something down you are more likely to be more focused, motivated, and willing to self-reflect.

Stay Engaged

In our constantly connected world, it can be very tempting to check your phone or email during the convention. To get the most out of the event, it’s important to try to avoid distractions. You will get the most benefit from being completely engaged in what you are doing without dividing your attention between other funeral professionals and replying to an email in your head. There will be time to catch up on phone calls and emails in the evenings or during breaks. Set out of office messages where appropriate to ensure your customers and contacts that you will get back to them, and provide them with a backup contact.

What You Should Do After the Convention


Bring Your Ideas Home

Don’t leave your great ideas in the convention hall. Bring them with you! Once you’re back in the office, go through the ideas you jotted down during the event. Take time to divide them into groups that you can put into practice now, a little later and further in the future. Consider presenting to your team on what you learned so they can think of ways to implement as well.

Stay Connected

More than likely, you gathered a lot of new business cards during the convention. Pick out a few people who you really connected with and make an effort to contact them again and say, “thanks” or “nice to meet you.” You can do this by adding them on LinkedIn and sending a direct message, or you can send them an email or make a quick phone call.

Upcoming National Funeral Conventions in 2023

Now you’re probably thinking, “This all sounds great! But which one should I register for?” Fortunately, there are many well-attended state and national funeral conventions throughout the year. Here are the most well-known national conventions to consider:

ICCFA Convention & Exposition

When: May 16-19, 2023

Where: Kansas City, MO

Website: Learn more about the 2023 ICCFA Annual Convention & Exposition and register here.

The International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association (ICCFA) is the only international trade association representing all segments of the cemetery, funeral service, cremation and memorialization professions. The ICCFA’s annual convention brings together deathcare professionals from across the world for a week of education and networking. This year’s convention has over 30 breakout sessions, four keynote presentations from global leaders, a sprawling expo floor with hundreds of exhibitors from leading deathcare suppliers, multiple networking events and receptions and much more!

NFD & MA Annual National Convention and Exposition

When: July 29-August 2, 2023

Where: Atlanta, GA

Website: Learn more about the National Funeral Directors & Morticians Association 2023 Annual Convention and Exposition and register here.

The National Funeral Directors & Morticians Association, Inc. is a membership association of professional funeral directors, morticians and embalmers dedicated to promoting the common professional and business interests of its members. Their Annual National Convention and Exposition is a celebration of the deathcare industry and brings over 1,500 professionals together to learn from the world’s best educators and suppliers. Plus, they offer 10 hours of CE credits.

CANA Cremation Innovation Convention

When: August 9-11, 2023

Where: Washington, D.C.

Website: Learn more about CANA’s Cremation Innovation Convention and register here.

The Cremation Association of North America (CANA) is comprised of over 3,300 members and the leading authority on all aspects of cremation. Their annual Cremation Innovation Convention brings innovative cremation professionals together to share ideas, learn from experts and see the newest products and services from industry suppliers.

NFDA International Convention & Expo

When: September 10-13, 2023

Where: Las Vegas, NV

Website: Learn more about the National Funeral Directors Association International Convention & Expo here.

The NFDA International Convention & Expo—the world’s leading, largest and most trusted association to support funeral professionals—hosts thousands of funeral professionals from around the world at the largest funeral service expo. This annual convention offers the best in networking, education and more.

There are countless benefits to attending state and national funeral service conventions. Whether you attend for education, networking or just to keep up with current trends, attending is a must for funeral professionals.

Not sure where to start? Check out the list of state and national conventions that Homesteaders representatives will be attending this year, and be sure to share what your favorite funeral service convention is in the comments!

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