The National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) is hosting its International Convention & Expo October 14 - 17 in Salt Lake City, Utah. The event has the largest funeral service expo in the world and features a plethora of continuing education (CE) opportunities, pre-convention seminars, general sessions and workshops, product and services exhibits, and social events.
The NFDA launched its first convention in Rochester, N.Y., and celebrated the 100th rendition in 1982. The organization currently has over 20,000 individual members which make up nearly 11,000 funeral homes in the United States and 49 countries around the world.
Funeral directors from around the globe will participate as attendees and or presenters while exhibitors consist of companies like CrossCheck (details below) that provide goods and services to help funeral directors achieve success and remain profitable.
Curious what to expect from 2018’s International Convention & Expo? Here’s what NFDA members have to say:
Continuing Education (CE)
The NFDA offers over 40 different opportunities for funeral directors to pursue continuing education. The latest trends of the industry will be reviewed by a series of funeral service experts.
Along with CE credits, funeral directors can expect to receive a variety of new ideas and strategies primed to be implemented into their business.
The majority of educational programs will be held on the second level of the Salt Palace Convention Center. Pre-convention certification and training programs are offered as well.
The NFDA offers pre-convention seminars taking place Friday, October 12 to Sunday, October 14.
NFDA Arranger Training
NFDA Director Lacy Robinson will teach a creative five-step process to make the most of the arrangement conference. This interactive program illuminates how to convey the value of funeral services to families and partner with them to create meaningful life tribute events.
A format of both small- and large-group discussions is used to bring about a creative collaboration and problem-solving approach to exploring new ideas to improve arrangement conferences.
The seminar awards eight CE hours and occurs Saturday from 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. The price is $475 for NFDA members, which includes refreshments and lunch.
NFDA Certification Program
NFDA Vice President Michael Nicodemus will educate participants on the best practices for proper, safe and ethical crematory operations. Information on what is required to address potential liability issues will be provided. This program is designed to protect funeral directors and the families they serve.
The seminar awards seven CE and occurs Saturday October 13, 8 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. The price is $495 for NFDA members, which includes refreshments and lunch.
The Vernie Foundation Files: Embalming, Restoration and Death Investigation
Embalmer and Postmortem Reconstructive Specialist Vernie Fountain will provide attendees with the understanding of why certain deaths are investigated and the role the medical and death examiner plays in such investigations.
Head and eye trauma, autopsy cases, wrapping and sealing techniques, crushing injuries, and gunshot wounds will all be examined. Fountain will share tips and techniques for use by embalmers when preparing challenging cases.
The seminar reviews cases from the non-traumatic to the most severely traumatic, awards four CE hours, and occurs 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
General Sessions & Workshops
A large variety of options for continuing education are provided by the NFDA. Here are some interesting highlights:
- Asian Culture in Cremation and Funerals: When encountering funeral services rooted deeply in cultural traditions, it’s necessary for funeral directors to understand the role the funeral professional should play. Funeral Director Charles An of Sunnyside Cremation and Funeral will explain the differences in unique Asian cultures and family dynamics. Korean, Filipino, Japanese, and Vietnamese funeral customs will be covered. (Sunday 11:30 am – 12:30 pm, one CE hour)
- Live Telephone Mystery Shop: How confident are you in your employees’ telephone skills? NFDA's Director of Member Development Lacy Robinson will call your funeral home and ask a question of your choice. This workshop provides telephone etiquette training with live examples. (Monday – Wednesday, 1:30 – 5 p.m.)
Former First Lady Laura Bush will give a keynote speech at the conference Monday, October 15, 9:45 – 11:45 a.m. She'll also share her thoughts in a brief onstage discussion with NFDA President Ken Cahall.
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani will give a keynote speech Wednesday, October 17, 12:45 – 2 p.m.
NFDA’s Expo portion of the event is hosted by nearly 300 exhibitors all ready to demonstrate their products and services to grow funeral homes and help them better serve their clients.
The Expo allow attendees to compare and contrast similar products from different venders, network with suppliers and other funeral directors, and learn innovate ideas to implement into their business.
Notable exhibits include:
- Pause with Paws: This new area of the Expo hall features therapy dogs, a rising popular service at funeral homes. Both adult dogs and puppies are implemented to help families through their grief.
- Unique Boutique: Local Salt Lake City boutiques sell a selection of handbags, jewelry, accessories, lotions and more.
- CrossCheck’s very own Director of Sales Jason Lindell will demonstrate how specific payment guarantee solutions can benefit funeral directors (visit him in booth 2112).
NFDA’s 2018 Convention and Expo feature plenty of opportunities for funeral directors to meet and socialize with one another. Here are some interesting events available to attend:
- Habitat for Humanity (Saturday, October 18, 8 am – 4:30 pm) — NFDA participants will help Salt Lake Valley’s Habitat for Humanity improve the local community and make ownership possible for more families.
- Welcome Party (Sunday, 6:30 – 8:30 pm) — A film festival-inspired event (light hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar are included).
- All-Star Recognition Ceremony (Monday, 4:30 – 5:30 pm) — Firms that earned the 2018 NFDA Pursuit of Excellence Award will be recognized, as well as Best of the Best recipients and Hall of Excellence inductees, NFDA Green Funeral Practice Certificate holders, and Certified Cremation Services Providers.
- Funeral Directors Under 40 (Tuesday, 8 – 11pm) — Attendees under 40 will be on the dance floor to party to any type of music requested.
Tools for Funeral Directors
CrossCheck designs payment solutions that benefit funeral homes as well as surviving family members. For example, funeral directors using the Multiple Check service can offer families the means to pay for expensive funeral services without the need for credit or credit applications. Multiple Check is easy to use.
Consumers write 2 – 4 checks for a single transaction and designate the dates for funeral homes to deposit each check over a 30-day period. Funeral homes receive guaranteed funding to their business accounts (typically in 48 – 72 hours) as each check is deposited while families gain the satisfaction of making proper arrangements for their loved ones — all accomplished with the help of CrossCheck and its guarantee factor.
Drop by booth 2112 at the convention to discuss Multiple Check with Sales Director Jason Lindell to learn more or click here to download a free Multiple Check guide.