“Celebrate endings – for they precede new beginnings.” – Jonathan Lockwood Huie
NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS IN OCTOBER?
As I walked through Target to buy Halloween candy recently, I was very frustrated with trying to find what I needed. It is autumn but all I could find was Christmas and winter items. Seriously, mistletoe in October? That’s months away!
Well… I am about to do the exact same thing as I offer my pre-planning advice for goals in the upcoming year. As I am getting the hang of my pre-need duties, I am starting to realize that I need to be planning things months in advance if I want the most success.
The hardest realization for any of us is the fact that December is pretty much useless when it comes to seminars and events. As a preneed specialist, you should utilize your time during that month to plan the upcoming year and help out your coworkers with different holiday activities.
A difficult task is convincing the owner of the funeral home to do a mailing in the area for a seminar you want to do. Although a mailing makes life easier for you, I truly believe the best type of response is from a group that you can focus on a mutual topic. These groups are church bible studies, book clubs, veteran groups, and more. You do not need an expensive mailing in order to get in front of interested people.
With that in mind, I decided to spend this morning brainstorming the first quarter of the year in order to find these groups that will not require a mailing. I hope my productivity may convince you to start planning your upcoming year too.
This is what I came up with for cheap and attendee focused events in January, February, and March.
MIND, BODY, and SOUL
January is all about the New Year so it only makes sense to have the seminar focus on New Year’s resolutions. I decided to work with my pastor to launch my first ever “Mind, Body, and Soul” seminar at my church. We created a three week series where three experts will talk for twenty minutes each week.
MIND: I will be talking about the peace of mind in planning funeral arrangements in advance. I separated the topics into three segments and will focus on a different topic each week. A surprising resolution for people is to actually make pre-arrangements.
BODY: I recruited a fitness coach from Tri-Fitness down the street to come and talk each week about exercise, nutrition, and wellness. It was actually her idea for each of us to talk for twenty minutes each for three weeks instead of one hour for one week. Hopefully she will benefit with some new customers as well!
SOUL: My pastor will be talking about restoring the soul and rebuilding a relationship with God. She has a scripture study for the attendees to try to put into place for the course of 2017.
Although we have plenty of time to focus on the details later, we immediately got our posters up and going so people can get the idea and dates into their mind.
PAINT AND WINE NIGHT
February is all about love and Valentine’s so the activity should help those who do not have someone to spend that time with. I actually got this idea from a fellow mortuary science classmate and I think it is brilliant.
Her funeral home realized that although most holidays are difficult for widows, one of the hardest is Valentine’s Day since the focus is on couples. With this in mind, they decided to promote an afternoon/evening event where recent widows could all join together for a purpose and fun. Their particular event was one of those painting courses where everyone paints and sips wine. Their event is very successful each year and lets past families know that you are thinking of them during a difficult time.
Your February event does not have to be a painting class, it could be any type of gathering. Have a cocktail hour, another type of craft, bingo night, board game night, a cooking class, movie night, or anything to get people together for a purpose.
The most important thing when planning this type of event is that it has to be on Valentine’s Day itself in order to have an impact on the people attending. Keep in mind, doing something on the 13th or the 15th just won’t cut it, you need to just bite the bullet and do something on the 14th.
40 DAYS AND 40 NIGHTS
March became a bit tough for me to find an event because my focus was church seminars and it became difficult to figure out how to incorporate a seminar during the Lent season. As I visited the home page of a small Lutheran church in the area, I was struck by the words, “It was finished.”
This brought me back to my time as a teenager when Passion of the Christ had just come out. My pastor created a study course where we learned about the importance of Lent, the journey of Jesus to his death, and then we were able to analyze the movie.
Many people in the church do not have the opportunity to understand and learn about Lent so I reached out to a pastor in the area to see if he was interested in co-hosting an event. We decided to look at the seminar as a way to educate his congregation on Lent and the importance of preparing for our own deaths. We are considering calling it, Lent: Living Through Death.
We have not talked about many details as we are not meeting until November. However, the plan has been started and that is the important thing right now.
TIME FLIES, SET UP YOUR CALENDAR FOR 2017
My ideas are not going to fit a lot of people’s personalities or businesses. Every funeral home and pre-need department is different so you have to work with your marketplace.
However, the idea is to start thinking of your year and getting seminars in place now because 2017 will be here before you know it.