Funeral service providers have unique expertise at creating memorable, personalized events for client families. These skills will serve you well when it’s time to plan an event celebrating a milestone for your firm. Such events, often used to commemorate a significant anniversary for a funeral home, can provide unique opportunities to share information about your firm’s values and service offerings with the community in a comfortable, casual environment.
As you begin planning the event, consider what type of celebration will best fit your firm – both in terms of what works for your funeral home’s culture and its resources. Set realistic expectations for what your staff and budget can reasonably accommodate, and plan accordingly. Also consider your goals for the event:
- Who do you want to attend?
- How many people would you like to attract (and how many can you reasonably host)?
- What message would you like attendees to remember when they leave your event?
- How will you follow up with those who attend?
Consider your community
One of the most important ways you can reach these goals is to tailor your event to the preferences of the community you serve. Considerations for this include the timing of your event and the types of events that are well-attended in your community.
If open houses or barbecues are popular in your community, consider this type of event for your own celebration. Since providing free food is always a good way to attract a crowd, think about what refreshments would be popular with your attendees. Another way to engage your community is to use the meal as a fundraiser for a local charity, either through free-will donations of money or specific items, or through purchased meal coupons. You could also sponsor a charity drive around the time of the event to make a positive impact on the community and increase awareness of your funeral home.
Because this event is about your community, seek opportunities to partner with local establishments, such as cemeteries, monument companies and florists. These contacts can help you promote the event to a wider audience, and offering them the opportunity to get involved with your event will provide beneficial exposure for their services, too.
Treat your firm as you would a client family
Planning a milestone event for your firm is an opportunity to tap into skills you and your employees already possess, allowing you to make your own event memorable. Approach this event as you would a funeral service you are planning for a customer. Ask members of your staff to consider what makes your firm unique and what messages you want to communicate to those who attend.
Consider how the staff members have helped shape the firm and what stories will be interesting to members of your community. One option for telling the stories of your staff (and family members who have been part of your funeral home’s success) is to record videos of them speaking about memorable achievements.
An anniversary is also an opportunity to share how your funeral home has been an asset to your community. Highlight memorable achievements through displays and printed materials that explain how the firm has been an integral part of the area’s history. In promotions, advertisements and press releases for your event, emphasize the interesting anecdotes and historical artifacts on display. These elements will provide a local-interest angle for the media and may help gain additional press coverage for your event.
Make the most of the event
The focus of a milestone event should be celebrating your community and your firm’s place within it. Such events present opportunities to forge mutually beneficial relationships with members of the community. While planning your event, consider how you can ensure these relationships continue long into the future.
One way to follow up with attendees is to send a “thank you” message to visitors who would like more information. Let them know you recognize the range of emotions they may have experienced during the event, and provide them with information about your upcoming support group meetings and other outreach events.
A special celebration can also be used to drive interest in your other community outreach activities. When attendees leave the event, they should be aware of your grief support programs, holiday services and annual charity initiatives. Be sure to have information and freebies (such as customized refrigerator magnets, calendars and brochures) available so attendees have a reminder of your firm after the event. By making your community aware of the services you offer – and by giving them an opportunity to see the value you provide to the area – you will establish positive relationships that will help you build upon the success of your firm.