We can't wait for restrictions to end completely and funerals to get back to how they were, for the sake of families and for you as Funeral Directors and Arrangers. From speaking with you we appreciate what a difficult 15 months this has been, some of the stories you've told us have broken our hearts and made us proud to work with you at the same time.
As we write this, it is expected restrictions in England will end on 21st June, with the rest of the UK set to follow.
We know that for funerals this means more choice and options for families plus an end to limited numbers at the service, but what does it mean to the way you engage with families? Are there any online engagement tools worth keeping once restrictions end?
Much of our communication this past year has moved online. Whilst there are many benefits to face to face meetings, particularly when dealing with people at the point of need, there is still a place for engaging with your communities online after restrictions are lifted. We know that many of you will have turned to social media to communicate changes to the way you operate to your local communities. If you do have a social media presence it is definitely worth keeping up with regular posts to engage your community and increase awareness of your funeral home locally.
Funeral-notices.co.uk is also a proven community asset, reaching into the heart of your communities via our regional and national news sites such as WalesOnline, YorkshireLive and CornwallLive. Every news site has a Funeral Notices tab on the homepage - and this is how a large proportion of our audience come to view your notices every day.
Donations moving online have been a real success story of the pandemic. Not only does it save you work in administration and banking time, online donations are preferred by the charities too.
Our online donation service is available from the moment the notice is published, great for anyone unable to attend the funeral or living overseas etc.
When making a donation, donors are asked to add Gift Aid to their donation, allowing the charity to claim an extra 25p on every £1 donation (25%). They are also asked if they would like to add a condolence message to their donation letting the family know instantly who has donated. Online donations are definitely something we would love to see continue after restrictions end.
Online notices are not only a great way to announce the passing of a loved one, they are also a great tool for community interaction and a way to tell the story of the person who has passed away.
All notices that appear on funeral-notices.co.uk offer families a free tribute service allowing people to add unlimited messages of condolence and photos. People also have an opportunity to reply to tributes directly and we have many instances of family thanking people for their kind words or donation. The tribute reply function allows people to send their email address to the person who left the tribute; helping friends and family stay in touch with one another.
To help you help families to tell the story of their loved one's life, we are currently offering free online notices to every UK Funeral Director.
You may book these using our guide Online Notices
or email them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org requesting free online.
Once restrictions end, it is still important to offer families a way to connect with family and friends online following a bereavement. One way to engage your local community is to give them a reason to visit your website time and time again. Having funeral notices on your website is a great way to do this.
In addition to offering you free online notices, we can provide a link to display your notices on your website too. This is also a free service. Check out a previous blog
to find out more about that or contact us using the button below.
Another idea you may want to consider is to include a blog on your website if you don't already. A blog is a great way to communicate to your community and blogs are ideal to share on social media too. We publish blogs every week for our audience and private customers. To give you some ideas, take a look at our blog selection here.
Live streaming of funerals has also proved an invaluable tool during the pandemic allowing anyone unable to attend the funeral to participate, albeit virtually. There is a strong argument for this technology to be included as part of funeral arrangements once restrictions end as it allows people from across the globe to witness the funeral of a loved one.
Like all of you we hope all restrictions will be removed later this month and that families start to experience full family funerals like they did before. Face to face meetings and physical contact with one another, be it a hug or a pat on the shoulder, cannot come soon enough for all of us. The funeral industry has had to adapt over the last year, with a lot of community engagement moving online. Once restrictions end we hope the online advancements of the past year will continue to compliment previous processes and traditions.
If you have any questions on funeral notices, to start your free trial of online funeral notices or for more information, contact us now using the button below. We would love to hear from you.
Thank you for reading - we are keeping everything crossed that restrictions end on 21st June and the sun continues to shine for a long, sociable summer for you and your communities.