Community events can lead to the “Connection” you need



I’ve lived in the same growing community my entire life.  I know a lot about the community. . .as a matter of fact my two sons always tell me “I have accumulated a wealth of worthless knowledge about it”!!


Living here for a long period of time, being interested in my community, and working in the funeral home business where I learned all kinds of history simply from talking to families during funeral arrangements soliciting information for writing obituaries has given me all kinds of community connections.


Those connections that I garnered over the years were probably as important as anything else I did to build my funeral business during my 33 years of ownership.  Being “connected” with my church, the Little League program, the Kiwanis Club, and many, many more organizations helped people know who I was before they needed my services. . . . .I think that is really important in the funeral home business.


However, as communities grow and new people move in I’m of the opinion that those connections are more difficult to make and that funeral homes need to be more intentional about creating “Community Connections”.  Because, even if your other marketing is spot on, making good, old fashioned personal connections may be the most vital source for your funeral home’s growth.


I recently noticed on the blog from from our friends at OneRoom Streaming an article dealing with this topic.  It’s an interview with the experts at Einan’s Funeral Home in the State of Washington entitled “The Power of Community Connection”.  I would suggest you read it and you can find it here.


Einan’s staff member Holley Sowards is one of the teammates that is involved with the Community Connections at Einan’s.  She brings the idea of how getting to know people can come full circle in the business environment when she says this in the interview, “The biggest reason, since I started here, that I believe community outreach is super important is building relationships with people in the community and getting to know them. And them getting to know us before a need arises, so I believe that if you know and trust someone if the need arises, you’re going to think of them and call them. . . And that’s the type of relationship we want to have with the community. So they already feel safe before calling us.”


If a potential client feels safe about your funeral home or your brand, if you will, I’m guessing she is absolutely correct in her assumption that that family will call you should the need arise.  If they don’t have that connection, maybe your funeral home would get called. . . but I’m of the opinion that the odds would be less than if a connection through community had already been established.


The staff at Einan’s evidently does many events that can lead to a community connection.  Sowards says this about the potential rewards, “It’s hard to measure the return on investment with this kind of stuff, but we know it’s working as we continue to see our volume increase year over year.”


Funeral Director Daily take:  Virtually every funeral home now does some type of annual memorial celebration and remembrance for the families that they have served.  Maybe its a Christmas program where they give ornaments to families honoring the deceased’s memory, or its a butterfly or balloon release on some date.


Again, community events are important and I would challenge you to see what you can come up with that will draw not only past family clients to your event but interest new people as well.  What might that be?


An interesting point in the blog article linked above is that the people at Einan’s suggest partnering with other entities who are looking for the same types of connections.  By partnering you not only stretch the budget but you stretch the work as well. . . and for a busy funeral home, that may be an important element.


I think of how our funeral home partnered with the existing Red Willow Arts Coalition (RWAC) in my community to provide free summer concerts every Thursday night between Memorial Day and Labor Day.  I remembered these type of concerts when I was a child in the community and thought our funeral home could help revive them for the good of the community.  However, while I was willing to have the funeral home sponsor I knew nothing about what kinds of talent and where the concerts should be.


I met with the Red Willow Arts Coalition who thought it would be a good idea.  The first year we agreed that the funeral home would pay for three concerts.  . one each in June, July, and August.  RWAC would pick the musicians, find the venue, and operate the concerts.


Well today, 15 years later, RWAC has grown to produce 15 concerts on Summer Thursday nights and Anderson Funeral Home continues as a major sponsor — we are no longer the only sponsor as the 15 concerts are more than we could provide for. . . but we maintain our partnership with the RWAC and I think it pays dividends.  The concerts remain free of charge by garnering more sponsors.  You can see how the concerts are attended by clicking here.


My wife and I will go to a couple concerts each summer and, invariably, we are thanked by many in attendance for our involvement in making our community a better place.  Summer concerts are now a key community connection for our funeral home and, just like Ms. Sowards, I believe that they are a part of the reason that our call numbers keep growing.


Here is the OneRoom Streaming website where you may find other ideas to help your funeral home.


Related — Here’s an upcoming funeral home public event that we noticed.  It’s interesting to note that the article let’s us know that the funeral home partners with the local police and fire department for this event as well as a local ice cream company.    DeJohn Funeral Homes and Crematory to host flag retirement ceremony.


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