Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Monday, March 23, 2009
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Several members have contacted SAF recently, needing advice and materials to eliminate the “in lieu of flowers” phrase from obituaries and increase sympathy sales. We've created three practical, detailed steps to help make sympathy a profitable segment at your shop and remind you how SAF can help you do just that.
There’s no better time than now to reassess your sympathy program, spot your strengths and identify areas that could use a bit of professional polish. Click here for SAF’s Sympathy Business Checklist.
2. Reach Out
SAF has contacted newspaper editors about the “in lieu of flowers” phrase, and has found that the phrase originates from the funeral directors who write the obituaries, not the newspapers. Newspapers see obituaries as paid advertising that is published verbatim.
Some funeral directors regard the "in lieu of flowers" phrase as a convenient, polite way to meet requests for memorial contributions. But others use it because they don't want to deal with flowers. They consider handling and transporting flowers an inconvenience, hassle and expense. (See SAF’s Sympathy Business Checklist above).
It is important for florists to establish and maintain a positive working relationship with local funeral directors. An open dialogue tends to help make funeral directors feel comfortable voicing concerns and working with florists. Click here for SAF’s tips to Establish Relationships with Funeral Directors.
And, be sure to thank funeral directors who are not using the phrase. It will help solidify your relationship. Use SAF materials available atwww.safnow.org/sympathy to send them:
- A note using Funeral Director Thank You Cards (Member price: $1 for a pack of six); or
- A Thank-You Brochure.
Here are two examples of floral industry members reaching out to the funeral industry:
- Dana Adkinson, owner of Keepsake Floral, Inc., in Orlando, advertised in the March 2009 edition of Funeral Home & Cemetery News, and the trade publication featured an article, “The ‘Keeping’ of Memorial Flowers,” about her business on the same page.
- H. Clay Atchison III of McAdams Floral in Victoria, Texas, met the publisher of The Dead Beat at the Texas Funeral Director’s Convention in summer 2007. Atchison’s article, ”Business, Institution, and Government Ethics and Etiquette of Expressing Sympathy,” was published in the Winter 2009 edition.
Knowing how to express sympathy can be difficult. Remind customers that flowers add warmth to the service and provide the visible emotional support the bereaved need. SAF provides promotional materials that relay this in a tasteful manner:
- Content fromwww.aboutflowers.com for your Web site and newsletters.
- Statement Stuffers: “Nature’s Sympathy Card” sold in packs of 100; SAF member price: $4.95 for the first four packs. “Commonly Asked Questions — Sympathy” sold in packs of 50. SAF member price: $6.95 per pack.
- Advertise in local newspapers and community and business newsletters with the 13 black-and-white print ads.
- Advertise on the radio or your on-hold message with four radio commercial scripts.
For more advice and materials, visit www.safnow.org/sympathy.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Here is some information that may be helpful.
When talking with your newspaper about the "in lieu of flowers" phrase, avoid the topic of profits. Focus on the benefits of flowers in the grieving process. Otherwise, it could look like the floral industry is trying to profit from people's grief.
Talking Points about Sympathy Flowers
* It is never easy comforting a relative, friend or associate who has lost a loved one.
* Many people want to express their sympathy and show respect for the deceased in a variety of ways, including charitable contributions, food donations, a helping hand, and cards and flowers sent to the family's home or to the funeral service.
* Sympathy flowers have been a part of funeral and memorial traditions in nearly every culture throughout history. In ancient cultures, floral and herb essences were used to anoint the bodies of the deceased and aromatic flowers and greens were displayed.
* Flowers add warmth to the service and provide the visible emotional support the bereaved need during this time.
* If you've ever been to a funeral that is void of flowers, it is a cold and somber environment. A funeral without flowers is a sad, lonely, cold place.
* Flowers honor the deceased person's life, express sympathy in a heartfelt way (providing a way to be there even if you physically can't be), and provide a warm, pleasant diversion -- something to talk about during the visitation and the service.
* Flowers are something that can be there when you can't be, and we all know how they can express our feelings in so many ways.
* Flowers can be a great source of comfort to those grieving the loss of a loved one, and should be regarded as an important gesture.
* Recent research indicates that sympathy flowers may not only brighten and warm a funeral or memorial service setting, but also have a positive impact on the emotional well-being of the bereaved.
* A 2006 behavioral research study conducted at Harvard by Nancy Etcoff, Ph.D., reveals some of the calming, fortifying feelings flowers create. The study reveals that flowers feed compassion and chase away anxiety and worries. Research participants lived with fresh flowers for just a few days and reported increases in feelings of compassion and kindness for others. Overall, people simply felt less negative after being around flowers.
* Previous behavioral research by Rutgers University also found that flowers improve our emotional health, according to The Journal of Evolutionary Psychology. Research participants reported feeling less depressed, anxious and agitated after receiving flowers, and demonstrated a higher sense of enjoyment and life satisfaction.
* The bereavement process is a pivotal time when worry, anxiety and many sad emotions are present. With such compelling research that shows how flowers impact emotional well-being, flowers should be regarded as an essential part of the bereavement process.
* In light of the emotional benefits of flowers, it is hard to imagine a funeral or memorial service without them.
* For information on the behavioral research and flowers in general, please visit www.aboutflowers.com <http://www.aboutflowers.com> .
* In most instances, we have found that the "in lieu of flowers" phrase is used as a convenient, polite way to meet requests for memorial contributions and that many people just don't understand how important flowers are too the bereavement process.
* Eliminating the "in lieu of" phrase when designating a charitable donation in an obituary or death notice leaves the expression of sympathy to the giver, rather than dictating what they should or shouldn't do.