How Investing in Your Community Can Benefit Your Funeral Home
Posted September 5, 2018
5 min read
Giving back: It’s one of the main ways we can make a difference in our communities and in others’ lives.
And as Andrea Bogard LeBlanc points out, it’s really a natural fit for funeral professionals to invest in their local community by giving back. (Andrea is founder of Bogati Urn Company, a firm that offers funeral homes and crematories urns, scattering tubes, and much more.)
When businesses support those in need, it sends a great message to the community and to our industry.
It also sends the right message to your employees and your partners. “It shows that you support the growth of others, beyond your own bottom line,” says Andrea.
“And, from a purely practical standpoint, there are of course tax and networking implications to consider for businesses that give back. But beyond that, just as is the case from a personal perspective, giving back is simply the right thing to do,” she says.
The “why” behind giving back is clear. Let’s talk more about how you can give back, even if time and resources are in short supply.
Giving Back with Maximum Impact
When it comes to choosing where your funeral home will focus its efforts, consider bringing your team in on the discussion.
Also consider what interests and skills people have not just at work, but outside of work. As an example, one firm had a funeral director on staff that enjoyed marathons and running.
One option presented was to get involved with Girls on the Run, a non-profit program that works to encourage youth to develop self-respect and healthy lifestyles. Pre-teen children are paired up with someone who mentors and coaches them while they train for a run.
Another option might be another form of giving back that relates to health and exercise. It’s an example of volunteering that can connect with employees’ specific interests and talents.
Andrea says these quick questions can help to get the ideas flowing when it comes to deciding where you’ll focus:
- What organizations are you already passionate about?
- What do people already support on their own?
- Is someone on the board of a nonprofit?
- Is anyone’s family member or friend affected by a particular challenge?
- Is someone’s child’s school/extracurricular activity holding a fundraiser?
“You can allow these individuals who are involved in an event already to spearhead the giving effort, if they’d like,” adds Andrea.
The great thing about coming up with options as a team is the enthusiasm will likely be infectious and inspire others to participate.
Don’t Be Afraid to Add Variety
Andrea says you can also consider picking a new effort quarterly, or even monthly, to not only help more organizations, but to keep the giving spirit fresh. If that approach is taken, you won’t have to choose “just” one cause or organization to work with, too.
Andrea suggests that once you know that cause or organization you are giving to and when, make a brief about how the funds will be generated and the timeline. Will it be a monetary or gift donation, based on sales or the sale of a specific item? Or will the donation not be monetary but a donation of time instead?
Another point to consider: Can your customers, partners, or other business contacts actively help? “Once these details are confirmed, communicate them to your staff and clients so they’re fully informed about exactly how they can join the cause.”
Overall, be creative with the effort. Consider offering employees an annual paid day off from work to volunteer at a local organization or school. Partner with another business that offers services that can benefit an individual or group, says Andrea.
Or, think about mentoring a student. If they are in college, it could even be a mortuary science student.
You can also give back by sponsoring a group, club, or organization. “Start a bowling league for kids. Sponsor a swim team or school club. The list goes on. The more fun you have with it, the more input and participation you’ll likely get from your team and, if applicable, partners or customers,” says Andrea.
Share the Impact You’ve Made
If you raised money as a team or if you partnered with a vendor to support a cause, don’t forget to share the results and to thank people for sharing their talents or for their donations or participation. People like to hear how they’ve impacted a cause, so don’t forget to follow-up when appropriate.
Giving is Good for Your Team
No matter what you choose, giving back has so many benefits. Sometimes people prefer giving back through time, rather than through money, for budgetary reasons.
Volunteering your time can also be a more personal connection, and it can help you develop lasting relationships in the community.
“Volunteering your time and effort can also directly show the receiving organization, surrounding community, and impressionable others, such as children, an increased level of dedication. Giving back together with your team can also boost morale, as well as show you sides of your employees you may not have already seen,” says Andrea.
Gaining More Than You Give
In our profession, we see daily just how fleeting life truly is. “We see the effects of a long-life missed or a life shortened unexpectedly. So we know how important it is to live each day to its fullest. We all experience challenges, and sometimes we need some help to face them,” says Andrea. This is true, and reminds us that giving back is one of the most effective ways to lift up our local communities and gain perspective.
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