9 Ideas to Try for Your Funeral Aftercare Program
By Lauren Schwenker, Digital Sales Manager
You likely know how important a funeral aftercare program is for your funeral home and families.
A great aftercare program has:
Multiple ways of communicating with families (email, text, etc.)
Grief support and resources about closing an estate
Ways to improve your brand recognition and grow your market share
But have you ever wondered how else you can build community and nurture relationships once the service ends?
These funeral aftercare ideas go beyond simply providing grief support. They build upon your existing program to help your funeral home stand out in your community and improve relationships with your families.
Here are 9 ideas you can try.
1. Partner with local hospice organizations
Funeral homes and hospice organizations are stronger together. You both provide a unique service to families and care deeply for them during and after a funeral.
Setting up a hospice outreach program and connecting with nurses ensures you have a united front for families. It also means you can get hospice workers involved in your funeral aftercare program. Passare, a digital case management and funeral home software company, wrote about how you can create a successful hospice outreach plan in this article.
2. Hold a support group for widows or widowers
When people are grieving, it’s important that they stay connected to others and have a safe place to share their struggles with people who understand. In a support group, people can meet to talk about life, do a grief support book study, or even volunteer together!
Dr. Alan Wolfelt at the Center for Loss & Life Transition has a number of grief resources you could browse for ideas. You could even bring in a counselor to talk to the group about moving toward healing. Here are other benefits of joining a support group.
3. Develop a volunteer network to assist families with tasks
As a funeral director, you likely know a lot of people with unique skillsets. That makes you the perfect person to develop a volunteer network who is ready to help a family whenever the need arises.
This group can complete tasks for families after a funeral. This could be helping someone move, cleaning or organizing a person’s home, walking dogs, shopping for essentials or groceries, and doing other tasks grieving people may need help with. It builds community and shows that the person is not alone in their grief, and people care about them.
4. Host a food drive or a clothing drive
There will always be people in need of food and clothing. So, you can host a canned food or clothing drive and make your funeral home a drop-off point. Families could get involved and know they’re giving back to people who also need support.
You can use your website or social media to promote your drive to spread awareness. It will help keep your families plugged into their community.
5. Put on an educational seminar
Other than grief support meetings, your funeral home can be a place for people to gather and learn about their funeral preplanning options. For our clients, we help them promote various educational events in their communities, from advance planning seminars to veterans’ burial benefits.
Not only can your aftercare families benefit from this education, but anyone in your community can learn something new. You can even help them preplan with your funeral home online with this unique tool.
6. Schedule an annual remembrance day
Continue to honor the lives of those lost by holding a remembrance day for families to gather and share memories with people who understand what they’re going through. This event can happen during the holiday season or on another date. If it can be an annual thing, even better! That way, families can look forward to it.
7. Lead a class
The best way to build community is to get people to bond over shared interests. Doing this while people are coping with loss is a great way to lift their spirits and show them they’re not alone. Try these ideas on for size:
Nature walks – Live in a beautiful city? Take in the sights with families you’ve served to help strengthen relationships. Walking has several benefits, including reducing anxiety and depression (according to Healthline). Combine that with fresh air and nature, and you have a great idea for your funeral aftercare program.
Woodworking or fishing – Fishing is another way to get outside and relax in nature. Woodworking can also be therapeutic!
Quilting or knitting club – One funeral director started a quilting club in her funeral home where women meet to create quilts for infants who passed. Read their story.
Get creative! See if anyone on your staff has a unique interest to lead a class once a month. Maybe ask your families what their interests are and bring in an expert for a day to lead the class and build community.
8. Share a playlist
The holidays and special events hit the hardest for people who are grieving. To make those days less painful, you can check in with a family by sharing a playlist of songs that are perfect for the occasion.
FuneralBasics.org has several playlists, from Christmas songs for the grieving heart to country songs and hymns. You can also create a video playlist on YouTube with your own handpicked songs on the platform.
9. Provide a library of grief resources and material about settling the estate
There’s a new way of doing aftercare in today’s digital age.
You need ways to deliver valuable information to families. They need support. They also have lingering questions after the service ends. Questions like:
– “What do I do with all my loved one’s stuff?”
– “How can I claim my benefits?”
– “How do I close accounts, memberships, and subscriptions?”
You likely have an estate attorney that you recommend to families who answers these questions, which is great! Your estate attorney is an important part of the aftercare process because they provide legal advice.
But what if you could help families and your estate attorney through your aftercare program?
With our program, families have 24/7 access to a free platform just for them that contains valuable articles and videos about grief support and what to do to close an estate. Families can ask questions to licensed therapists, enroll in grief courses, and more.
Go above and beyond for families with Circle of Friends+ (COF+) aftercare.
Which idea will you try?
Whether you choose an idea to implement above or come up with something brand new, any effort you take to improve a family’s aftercare experience is admirable.
Looking for ways to revamp your current funeral aftercare program? We’ve got you covered.
Request a demo of our program today!
Read more about aftercare in the articles below!