Plan Your Community Outreach Events for 2024: Lessons Shared on the Road with the Kansas FDA

OGR Member Resources Director, Nancy Weil, recently spent time with the Kansas Funeral Directors Association as the speaker at their four regional meetings. Read some of her main takeaways in the blog below!

Kansas called and I answered. In March, I was fortunate to spend a week traveling throughout Kansas with the executive director of the Kansas Funeral Directors Association. I spoke on four consecutive days to funeral directors from small towns to large cities. Meeting some OGR members was truly the highlight for me. With members spread far and wide, it is always a treat to connect in person. 

The issues facing funeral directors in Kansas mirror the challenges that I hear from our members. Lack of staff, the emotional pull of burying friends, and getting death certificates back in a timely manner were all things mentioned to me. This is a culture steeped in traditions of the Wild West that goes back to the late 1800's. This is a rodeo, cattle raising, and farming state that believes in taking care of your neighbor both in life and when they die. Personalized funerals reflect their values and culture, and farming equipment, horses and other symbols of their life are part of the funeral service. 

They also face the challenges of large coverage areas in rural parts of the state with dirt roads that flood in the rainy season. Add to it tornadoes, that in one case in 2007, wiped out an entire town, including the funeral home. Fleener Funeral Home rebuilt using solar panels and a sleek modern design. I was able to meet the owner and hear his tales of that terrible tragedy and how they continued to serve those who died in the tornado using funeral homes in neighboring towns. 

And that is what it all comes down to... neighbors helping neighbors. Whether in Kansas or Australia, funeral directors are called to serve their communities. It is a topic I spoke about each afternoon as I shared about community outreach services and developing a grief support program. 

As I shared with attendees, now is the time to begin planning your outreach calendar for 2024. Aim for one event a quarter, but at the minimum commit to one program before the year ends. While some events may take time to plan, use staff hours, and cost you money, this is not true of all events. Whether grand affairs or intimate gatherings, every program serves a purpose, enriching your business and the lives of attendees. 

Here is a list to get you started thinking about what type of event you want to hold: 

  • Grief Support group: Facilitated by a consistent leader, guest speaker, or through grief video/book discussions. 
  • Weekly Coffee and Doughnuts Hour: Provide a safe space for bereaved families to come together. 
  • Community Remembrance service: Held in the spring, early fall or (my favorite) Valentine's Day 2025. 
  • Butterfly Release Remembrance service: Best held in the summer. 
  • Pet Remembrance service: Addressing the disenfranchised grief of those who have lost a beloved pet. 
  • Before I Die board ( This can be placed in a local park, walking path, or even on your funeral home property if you have land away from the main building. 
  • Lecture Series conducted by you or a Staff Member: Topics like Preneed Planning, Veterans Benefits, Cremation seminars are all good to offer. Also, take a moment to pull together some other topics around a hobby, historical event or other area of expertise someone on your team has. 
  • Lecture Series with a Guest Speaker: Covering diverse topics such as genealogy, holistic health, golf tips... anything that would be of interest to people in your town. 

While you already have the expertise to plan an event (you plan funerals for a living), if you need help getting started with something listed above, give me a call, or send me an email. As an OGR member, we can provide you with templated remembrance services or connect you with a fellow member who has run an event. I can also coach you in how to get media exposure for your event. Don't leave your outreach calendar blank. We have the tools you need to make it easier to connect with your community. 

OGR Membership Director, Nancy Weil, has certifications as a Grief Management Specialist, Grief Services Provider and Funeral Celebrant. To start your 2024 event planning, email her at [email protected] or call 512-334-5504 ext. 304. 


Share this post:

Comments on "Plan Your Community Outreach Events for 2024: Lessons Shared on the Road with the Kansas FDA"

Comments 0-5 of 0

Please login to comment