With the announcement of lockdown 3 on Monday and the busy Christmas and New Year we've all just had, you could be forgiven for feeling like we are six months into 2021 already. Imagine if we knew this time last year that we would have to completely alter our way of working, our way of living, even our way of dying; nobody would have believed us. Looking back, would knowing two months in advance have made such a difference to preparing us for the coming changes? The speed and efficiency with which Funeral Directors, Arrangers and your support teams adapted, highlighted the amazing resilience and family focus in our industry and whilst national recognition was often saved for those in the NHS and care sector, we really appreciate all your hard work; continuing with the same quiet, calm dignity and professionalism as you always have, in what felt like a year to end all years!
2020 was a year of huge change; it deserves a moment of our time to look back, reflect and review highlighting some of the positives of the year as we stride into the year ahead.
You should work from home where possible....
And we did....we packed up the funeral notices team and began working from our living rooms back in March 2020. Those of you who call us to take your bookings will have heard dogs and children in the background as we adjusted to this change. We know many of you could not work from home and your offices fell quiet without people popping in and arrangements being made remotely.
'I've lost you'
'Can you hear me?' suddenly became the buzz phrases of the day!
The traditional face to face meeting was a thing of the past. We had to learn to express our emotions using just our faces as we realised how much we missed hugging or the simple act of placing a hand on their shoulder to let them know you care.
From the many acknowledgements and private notices we received directly from families, we know how hard you worked at ensuring standards of client and family care did not slip in spite of the physical distance. An amazing achievement for the industry, now working harder than ever as the pandemic began to spread throughout the UK.
A few weeks in and with ever changing rules on numbers of people attending funerals, we began to see social media posts by Funeral Directors across the UK asking people to make a point of showing their respects to a passing hearse. Evoking memories of a time when removing your hat and bowing your head was the norm as a funeral procession passed by, Funeral Directors asked that we take that time again now. We saw a change in the notices we received too, with many including details on the funeral cortege, asking people to line the streets if possible and whilst adhering to social distancing.
Around April we began to notice an increase in the amount donated on loved one's notices on funeral-notices.co.uk as people looked for new ways to honour the legacy of their loved ones especially if they were unable to attend the funeral. Even more Funeral Directors contacted us to enquire about including donations in their notices and together we helped families to raise a massive £661,338 for charities plus £123,055 in Gift Aid. A huge achievement and one we are all so proud of. Thank you so much for embracing this change in 2020; together we hope to raise over £1 million pounds in 2021 and your support with this is invaluable. You asked us to create a simple, cashless donation service available without the need for a subscription and then you embraced it. At last, something positive to come out of the year!
After the initial fire fighting at the start of the lockdown, the team here at funeral-notices began to think about ways we could help. Initially we saw our role as part of one of the UK's largest publishers of news was to share changing information as often as we had it and used our voice on social media and editorial space on funeral-notices.co.uk to share information published by the NAFD and SAIF.
We also looked at additional ways we could help and support you in 2020:
In 2020 we reintroduced the Account Manager role to provide our Funeral Directors with their own single point of contact, helping you to get the most from your funeral notice account both for your business and your families.
We invited more Funeral Directors than ever before to become a Preferred Partner of funeral-notices.co.uk in 2020, with us ending the year proud to say we partner with 105 Funeral Directors throughout the whole of the UK.
Preferred Partners are Funeral Directors who have chosen us to provide funeral notices on their website. As a preferred partner we encourage you to direct families to your own website to view their notices and/or donate online, thus increasing the number of visits to your site with the potential to see other services you offer such as funeral plans, floristry or memorials.
At a time when others were offering their online notices and donations for a subscription, we wanted to give something back by offering this for free. With 4.8 million notices online at funeral-notices.co.uk we have a huge audience that we are more than happy to share with you.
For more information on becoming a Preferred Partner, read our blog:
We made online notices free for Funeral Directors in 2020 to help support families through the pandemic. We have now extended this offer into 2021 and hope that by continuing to offer an online notice free and accessible to UK communities, we can play some small part in connecting friends and family and give something back as we continue to navigate our way through the pandemic.
The simplest way to book an online notice is to book it using our simple self serve booking portal. We have put together a useful guide to booking online notices HERE
Online notices may also be booked by emailing (email@example.com) or calling the team (03444 060276) as you usually would to place a notice (please request online only)
Thanks to your continued support and the large number of notices we continue to publish every day both in your local news titles and on funeral-notices.co.uk we have seen the popularity of our site grow this year, reinforcing our position as the UK's number one site for funeral notices.
In 2020 we saw*:
- 12,353,861 Unique Users visit funeral-notices.co.uk
- A staggering 194,512,426 pages viewed
- 77,688 people register to receive updates and leave tributes on their notices
- 75,969 notices shared on social media
- 48,422 FREE photos added to notices
- 116,847 FREE tributes and memories added to notices by loved ones
- 126,862 candles lit in memory for FREE on notices in memory of loved ones
Our aim for 2021 is to continue to support you, your teams and colleagues in every way we can. We would love to build on the strong relationship we have with you to help you in continuing to provide excellent standards of service to the bereaved and their wider communities as we once again batten down for the next phase of the Covid storm.
If you would like support in getting the most from your funeral-notices account, please complete the form below and one of our dedicated Account Managers will be in touch.
Thank you for your amazing support in 2020. Don't forget to Follow funeral-notices.co.uk
on social media to see when new articles are published:
* Source GA 01/01/20-31/12/20