Can Giving Back Bring Greater Success for Your Funeral Firm?


We all know that warm and fuzzy feeling we get inside when we do good things for others, but can it really bring greater success for your funeral home?

I think the answer proves to be “yes” when you look at the American companies that “give back” the most, and the majority of those recognized are multi-billion dollar conglomerates including Kroger, Whole Foods, and Macy’s.

What I’m talking about here is called “conscious capitalism” an emerging business ethic many believe has the potential for enhancing corporate performance while at the same time advancing the quality of life for people living in communities around the world…or around the town.

Other well-known brands, like Walmart and The Body Shop, are also donating both money and goods to promote the common good. And so are a lot of funeral homes.


An Inspiring Example: O’Connor Mortuary

Neil O’Connor, of O’Connor Mortuary in southern California knows firsthand just how smart giving back is. “Who you are and what you stand for as an organization is very important to the people who buy your products and services,” he said.

Just like many other funeral firms, O’Connor Mortuary staff members are very active in local service clubs and organizations, like Rotary, Kiwanis, the South Orange County Interfaith Council and the Heartland Hospice Professional Advisory Council.

But, they really step into the spotlight as the regional leader in providing free educational workshops, seminars and in-service programs to their community. People today are hungry for knowledge about funerals, pre-planning, and other end-of-life issues. While many firms do a few workshops, now and again, O’Connor Mortuary takes this aspect of community outreach very seriously.

And in 2010, O’Connor Mortuary started the Heart & Soul Awards program, designed to recognize Orange County citizens for their dedication to making a difference in the community.

“Winners are honored each month with a plaque, a one-time donation to a local nonprofit organization (of their choice) in his or her name, and recognition at a quarterly award reception.”

Hopefully O’Connor Mortuary inspired some ideas of how you can give back to your community, but here are some other tips to help you get started:


It’s Not Just About Making an Impact on the Community

People today are looking for a greater sense of purpose in their lives, and that includes your staff members. Your funeral home employees appreciate a regular paycheck, and words of appreciation from their boss, but they also want to feel like they are making an impact on their community. Participating in local charitable organizations gives them a deep sense of fulfillment by giving back to the community.

Determine How You Want to Give Back

Some businesses associate “giving back” with a cash donation. Others look for opportunities to donate their time. Although both can be equally as valuable, it’s up to you to decide what form of philanthropy is best for your funeral firm. To get started, ask yourself the following questions:

• Is my funeral firm looking to donate time or money?

• What are we trying to achieve in our mission to give back to the community?

• What local charities and organizations are in need of our efforts?

• Are there any products or services we can provide?

Once you have your answers, write a clear mission statement to serve as your funeral firm’s moral compass.

Don’t Be Afraid to Start Small

Even small gifts can be highly effective. Fund a school music, art, or science program, or an educational field trip that otherwise wouldn’t have happened. Perhaps your interest lies outside the classrooms in your community. There’s always a need – find one, and fill it.

Let Everyone Know What You’re Doing

Use your funeral home website, and social media connections to get the word out in an organized way. Your local newspapers, radio and television stations are all hungry for positive news – so take advantage of them. In fact, build a media outreach plan into your overall philanthropic strategy, so you don’t miss any opportunities for raising public awareness.

Tap Into Your Network of Connections

For guidance, tap into networks for social responsibility, like B Corp, and the Social Venture Network. And, don’t forget to look locally for those informal networks of philanthropic companies in your community and find out what lessons they’ve learned.

It’s Win-Win, All the Way

By creating a philanthropic culture within your funeral firm, the benefits are twofold. Your employees will see what a positive impact their actions can have on the greater good, and they will feel a more personal connection to your firm.

Secondly, it’s a great way to build awareness of your funeral firm and boost your reputation in the community. Families love to do business with feel-good companies who have a positive impact on their local community, and your firm will be top-of-mind when the need for funeral services arises. It’s truly funeral home marketing at its best.


What does your funeral home do to give back to your community? Let us know how you’re changing lives by leaving your comments below!

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  1. ASD

    Great tips Kim. I especially agree about letting everyone know what you are doing. I have seen a great number of funeral homes boost their social networking numbers within weeks of launching a give back campaign through their facebook pages orby giving their followers weekly updates on how a particular program is going and encouraging people to get involved. 

  2. Neil

    Hi Kim –

    Thank you for the great blog! Like many of us giving back is part of our heritage. We started our educational programs because we recognized the lack of understanding of our profession. A couple of the benefits of educating our community is that we can help change the perception of our profession, and we can help people from having to work out of crisis. 

  3. Anne

    I know first hand just how much O’Connor Mortuary does for the local community.  It goes far beyond service clubs and outreaches.  They also do amazing things for families who come to us with all the little details and opportunities to go the extra mile and make the grieving family’s event one to remember forever.  Every opportunity to help is taken as seriously as if it were the only family in the world we had to focus on.  They are really the best in their area.  

  4. Krystal

    Yes! If we don’t educate our families on our profession, who will? 

  5. Krystal

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts! The quote “Who you are and what you stand for as an organization is very important to the people who buy your products and services,” speaks miles. 

  6. Kim Stacey

    I had the honor of working with Neil on the website content for O’Connor Mortuary’s “new” website – and during that time I learned firsthand the high level of commitment he and his team have for compassionate care on both the personal and the community-wide level. It’s plainly evident to me that the staff of O’Connor Mortuary goes “above and beyond” in everything they do. Thank you, Anne, for taking the time out of your busy day to share your insights!

  7. Kim Stacey

    Hey, thanks! I’ve got to admit, since I did research on conscious capitalism for this post, I think this approach to doing business in the 21st century is something we (the world) needs more of right now. So many things can be changed for the better, so many lives enriched, by a well-executed philanthropic mission. Add in social media, and you’ve opened the floodgates of change! (And what business – or funeral firm – couldn’t benefit from some good press?)

  8. Kim Stacey

    What I like about your educational programs is the fact that they are consistent, and well-planned. Many funeral homes I’ve seen start an educational outreach program, but grow discouraged, and suspend it (often without removing the schedule from their websites) – which lessens their credibility with the community, don’t you think? Well, it does for me, anyway. If you’re committed to education, then follow through. If you’re not, then don’t act like you are. O’Connor Mortuary is committed, and acts like it! Thanks for commenting, Neil. I so appreciate it!

  9. Colleen

    I think it’s so important to give back to the community, and that’s why I love the “Heart and Soul” award that the mortuary gives out each month.  The O’Connor mortuary has selected so many deserving people of all different ages to receive this award.  I’m glad that these people had the opportunity to be honored through this award.  

  10. Krystal

    Agreed! Community involvement is so important for any business, and it’s nice to see O’Connor Mortuary doing an excellent job at it.