2024 Funeral Industry Trends

October 19, 2023

Position Your Funeral Home for Success

A couple months back, we joined with thousands of funeral and death care professionals from across the country at the National Funeral Directors Association conference in Las Vegas. This experience is always positive and invigorating—a reminder that, despite the challenges we continue to face, our industry is thriving and making a difference in the lives of so many people. 

As we approach the new year, we want to reflect on what issues and ideas will drive momentum in our industry in coming months. These are some of the trends and challenges we expect in 2024.

Preplanning is more important than ever.
At one point in time, everyone knew the value of their neighborhood funeral home. Today, you cannot expect local families to automatically understand what you do, why your services are valuable, and how your services can help them. We are seeing a trend of family-led death care: Some families are opting for home funerals—with minimal involvement from a funeral home—to save money. 

To offset this, focusing on preneed services can lay the groundwork now for the future. Funeral homes will need to place an emphasis on preplanning in 2024. This will require marketing key messages around preplanning, such as how your funeral home can relieve the future mental and financial burden on an individual and their family.

Employee burnout remains a risk.
Suneel Gupta, one of the keynote speakers at the NFDA Conference, referred to the “exhaustion epidemic.” The American Psychological Association found that, as of January 2022, nearly 3 in 5 people reported feeling mentally and emotionally exhausted.

We’re seeing this specifically in our industry. A 2021 research study found that funeral directors were exposed to the same risks of compassion fatigue as other caregivers during the COVID-19 pandemic—and many are still recovering. Compassion fatigue is defined as a “declining ability to be empathetic for patients due to an overexposure of their suffering.” 

What can you do? Be mindful of the signs of burnout among your employees: disengagement, decreased productivity, sensitivity to feedback, and emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion. If you believe an employee is suffering from burnout, take steps immediately to connect them with resources and support.
There’s a growing demand for personalized funeral services.
As families seek a funeral home partner following the death of a loved one, they are increasingly looking for more meaningful and customized services. Many families are not including religious rites in their memorial services and are instead looking for a personalized tribute for their loved one. Funeral homes can respond to this by hiring celebrants or—perhaps more economically—by training and certifying members of their own staff to fulfill this role. A celebrant works alongside the funeral director to ensure that the service or tribute is personalized to reflect the unique personality and life of the deceased in line with their family’s wishes. 
The NFDA offers Certified Celebrant Training through the InSight Institute that counts for up to 17 CE hours and helps funeral home professionals learn how to facilitate family meetings, practice ceremonial writing, serve as the master of ceremonies, and much more.

We’re Your Steadfast Partner

National Mortuary Shipping Is Here for You in 2024

While the industry may continue to change and challenge us, you can always rely on National Mortuary Shipping to serve as your partner. Whether you need help with complex flight arrangements, out-of-town cremations, or another unexpected situation, our team is here to help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. When you need us, we respond swiftly to help you deliver the best possible mortuary services to the families you serve.

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