The Ultimate Funeral Personalization Checklist


If you’re the type of funeral director who embraces funeral personalization, you know it takes much more than just a pretty prayer card or a “King of Beers” casket. It takes time, effort and thoughtfulness.

From start to finish, creating a personalized funeral involves quite a few steps – doing your research, preparing for the arrangement meeting, meeting with the family, setting up the service, getting feedback, etc.

Unfortunately, since many funeral directors spend most of their day under a time crunch, some of these steps can be forgotten. But if you really want to offer your families a top-notch personalized funeral service, you can’t afford to skip any of these key elements, can you?

In an effort to make things a little easier for you, we’ve compiled what we like to call the “Ultimate Funeral Personalization Checklist”. This way, you can be sure you’re not overlooking any important details when you’re planning a personalized funeral service for your families.

Feel free to bookmark this post or print it out and save it for future reference!


Step 1: Do your research

– Make sure you’re aware of the following:

* How did the loved one pass away?
* Which family members will be there to help make the arrangements?
* What’s the budget?
* Do they want burial or cremation? Traditional funeral service or are they open to non-traditional ideas?
* Are there any specific religious considerations?


Step 2: Prepare for the meeting

– Bring a recorder to record your conversation with the family.

– Ask the family to bring 5 things that remind them of their loved one.

– Choose a comfortable location to meet with the family. (If possible, try meeting them at their house or the loved one’s house so that they are more open and you can spark ideas for the service).

– Have I set myself up to be meeting face-to-face with the family, not behind a desk?

– Do I have a creative way to show families all of the possibilities for personalization?

– Do I have a personalization pricing list ready to go?

– Do I have a set list of questions to ask when meeting with the family?


Step 3: Meet with the family

– Keep this in mind: Don’t ever assume that one family will like something just because other families did.  Start with a fresh, clean slate with every family.

– Don’t talk about your funeral home or staff too much (the best way to get to know your family is to ask questions about them, not talk about you).

– Am I dressed in casual clothing? (If your funeral home has a flexible dress code, try to wear clothes that make you seem more personable rather than stuffy and intimidating).

– Ask the family to tell me about their loved one:

* What did they love the most about their loved one?
* What made the loved one unique?
* What did the departed love to do for fun?
* What was the loved one passionate about?
* Has the loved one put any specific wishes in writing?
* Ask about a story or memory they have with the loved one.
* Have family members explain the items they put together that remind them of their loved one.

– Show the family all of the options and possibilities in an engaging manner (ie. visual catalog, pamphlet, brochure, example tribute videos and print material etc.)

– Tell the family a story about a successful personalized funeral we created? This will help give them some inspiration for their loved one’s service.


Step 4: Empower the family to take control

– Ask the family to gather:

* photos of the loved one
* songs they would like played during the service or for the tribute video
* iverses, hymns, quotes or other pieces of literature they think would be meaningful to the service

– Ask if anyone in the family would like to write or give the eulogy – and if more than one person wants to, help them collaborate. A eulogy is a lot more meaningful if it comes from the family!

– Give the family a link to the loved one’s social memorial website or online obituary and encouraged them to share their favorite photos and memories of the loved one and it with their network. More visits to the memorial website = more engagement = more memories and stories they’ll have to share for generations to come

– Encourage the family to go home and gather some ideas for the service. The more they contribute to the service, the more meaningful it will be to them.


Step 5: During the service

– Offer more than the typical water & coffee, by featuring the loved one’s favorite beverage and snack.

– Offer an inexpensive keepsake for funeral service attendees that reflects the loved one. (ie. packets of the loved one’s favorite gum or a personalized memorial bookmark)

– Allow the family to put up their own photos and decorations, making the whole room seem personalized just for the family.


Step 6: Go above and beyond their expectations

– Create a tribute video for the family. Even if they don’t choose a package that includes it, offer it as a free service or a special gift, and charge $15 for copies of it.

– Are there are a lot of out-of-town friends and family? If so, webcast the funeral. You can webcast it live, or share the link with people via email so they can watch it when they’re ready.

– Instead of offering the same-old prayer cards, have I offer personalized print materials that truly reflect the live lived.

– Offer families a memorial folder or tribute book that allows them to keep their prayer cards, register book entries, photos, obituary, eulogy and tribute video all in one place.

– Do at least ONE thing that the family does not know about to surprise them by going beyond their expectations.


Step 7: Show off your skills and ask for feedback

Tastefully do at least one (or all) of the following:

– Ask families to fill out a short online survey about your services.

– Ask funeral service attendees to give testimonials or feedback about the service.

– Ask the family and attendees to write a review on Yelp, Google, etc.

– Ask the family to write a letter giving feedback on our services.


One last final step…

One of the easiest and most impressive way to add a personal element to your funeral services is through personalization software.  funeralOne’s Life Tributes all-in-one personalization software allows you to create stunning tribute videos, print material, tribute books and funeral webcasts. To get a 30-day free trial of Life Tributes, click here or give us a call at 800-798-2575, ext. 5!


Want some personalization inspiration?

Well there you go – the Ultimate Funeral Personalization checklist is complete!  For more funeral service personalization inspiration, check out some of the articles below:

4 Personalization Tips We Can Learn From TLC’s “Best Funeral Ever”

Why Everything You Know About Funeral Personalization Is Wrong

How to Not Suck at Funeral Personalization [Interview]

4 Elements of the Perfect Personalized Funeral Service

Joe Joachim


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