Recently, I had the opportunity to speak and present a CEU session to a group of funeral professionals of a state funeral organization at their annual convention. The audience was great with excellent discussions and engagement. What I found perplexing was there was another funeral organization, from the same state, meeting at the same time a few blocks away. I’m going to address what appears to be obvious and initiate a conversation that may “open a can of worms.”
Why is there two organizations with common issues and needs meeting at the same time, in the same city, but separately? For that matter, why are there so many organizations that are so similar yet choose to segregate themselves? In Virginia alone, there are 3 state funeral director organizations that all are autonomous with their own conventions/meetings, staff, memberships and money spent. With all the scrutiny that we face by the news media, consumers, governmental and regulatory agencies; is all the segregation really the best portrait of funeral directing?
It’s 2015 and on the surface, one would think, gasp…that some of the organizations are divided by race. Okay I said it…so, now refute it. I am also aware of local “funeral director organizations” that are actually part of state associations that will not allow certain competitive funeral homes to join. Yes, licensed funeral homes are not allowed to participate. I personally have knowledge of firms that are refused membership. What’s your take?
Not long ago I was a vendor and working the convention schedule in a few different states. In some cases, the dates overlapped but in all cases the money spent to register, display, stay, eat and entertain was pretty much equal. The company I worked for began scaling back budgets for state conventions because of escalating costs, lack of ROI and dwindling need to physically display because of new technology for messaging of products or services. But at each convention, pretty much the same vendors and programs were provided. The differentiation was the staff running the convention, location, people in attendance and non-essential time activities. Make sense to you?
As for national organizations, one does not have to conduct in-depth research to surmise that the secondary tier organizations are struggling. It’s all about resources and value to the membership. If a “one stop shop” organization offers CEU’s (education/training), legislative representation (advocacy), cremation resources (education/training) and a well presented annual convention which has a tremendous expo/trade show, why do the other “second tier” organizations even exist? What’s your take?
Just a few days ago, one second tier organization touted “breaking attendance records” at their recent annual gathering. A breakdown of the “participants” shows that less than 1/3 are actual funeral directors and the rest of the attendees are comprised of vendors, spouses or kids. Great spin, but the reality is that this type of “national organization” is drawing less than some state conventions.
What are your thoughts about all the different organizations that for the most part have a common purpose of representing the funeral profession? There are organizations that have excellent positive impact for education and influence, and others that seem to be more fraternity in nature. For sake of discussion, what are your thoughts of how we as an industry best should be represented…collectively with a strong and cohesive voice or segmented?
Don’t shoot the messenger, I’m just stating the obvious (as usual) and addressing what seems to be a colossal waste of resources. Cheers y’all! #thefuneralcommander