Q: Is it too late to define cremation for the public as anything but the low cost form of disposition?
A: Since the beginning of the year, the public has been exposed to numerous press stories relating to the economy and its effect on the funeral industry. In every case, it is mentioned that cremation is a less expensive alternative to traditional burial. In some cases, the articles also include the actual cost of a cremation (direct cremation) versus a traditional burial at a given funeral establishment. Therefore, based on the information the public is currently receiving, one can see where some may view cremation solely as the low cost form of disposition.
Over the last several years as the cremation rate continued to increase, one of the biggest challenges the industry has encountered is promoting tribute ceremonies and memorialization with cremation families. And, now more than ever, we will all need to work harder to create meaningful ceremonies which incorporate personalization and other tributes that are of value to family and friends.
One of the most effective ways to have families see the value in a ceremony with cremation is to make sure that all funeral arrangers have the necessary skills to become creative in capturing memories and how to best communicate this with client families. This can be accomplished by attending one of ICCFA’s Cremation Arranger Certification Programs. Experienced cremation professionals will share with you ways in which you can work more effectively with cremation families ... from the creation of meaningful ceremonies to the merchandising of the wide range of unique cremation products.
According to the latest national research (The 2004 Wirthlin Report), 30 percent of the respondents indicated that they would choose cremation primarily based on cost. The remaining 70 pecent would choose cremation based on other factors, such as saving land and being “simpler” than traditional burial.
We, as an industry, certainly don’t want to see more families in the future choosing cremation primarily based on cost. We all know the importance of paying tribute to a loved one and that the tribute is necessary to assist family and friends during the grieving process.
It’s not too late. We just need to act now!