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5 Unexpected Takeaways from NFDA 2023

If you went to NFDA, you're likely cleaning out your inbox and catching up after being gone for a few days. 

If you couldn't attend, you might be wondering what you missed.

We're here to catch you up to speed!

In this article, you can learn 5 unexpected takeaways from this year's convention that explain strategies to elevate your performance, drive success in your funeral home, and ways you can better serve today's families.



The whole team at NFDA!


#1: One 5-minute break will take your performance to the next level. Here's how:

"High performance."

Merriam-Webster defines it as an adjective implying that someone is better, faster, or more efficient at something.

What does it look like for you to have high performance?

Is it working 24/7 around the clock to ensure a service is perfect? Or being on call for families when no one else can?

Whatever it may look like to you (or your boss), Suneel Gupta's opening session at NFDA covered how you can achieve high performance…without burnout.

Yes, you heard that right. Without the burnout. 

After studying extraordinary leaders, Gupta found that the most productive and resilient leaders lived by one rule: When hustling day in and day out, you have to take a moment to loosen up. 

Why? Because that one moment is what will drive your performance and keep you going.



"Something I found interesting was Gupta's idea of focused breaks. For every 55 minutes of work, you put 5 minutes to rest. Gupta explained that even though they're small, these 5-minute focused breaks can make your next 55 minutes more collaborative, productive, and creative."

-Sharaie Heizelman, Account Executive at Passare



Want to learn more about the magical power of a 5-minute break? Read this article from Gupta. ⬇️



Letting the good times roll at the expo hall!


#2: Ignorance is bliss, except when it comes to paperwork. 

When it comes to filling out paperwork, it's crucial to accurately and carefully fill out all required fields.


Because an upset family member or jury won't view you as forgetful when something falls through the cracks. They'll view it as uncaring…maybe even illegal.

Thankfully, there are several ways you can avoid paperwork mishaps. Mike Nicodemus, Vice President of Cremation Services at NFDA, went over 5 ways you can fill out paperwork accurately every time:

  1. Inform your families about how long the arrangement process will take. Some can take up to 2-3 hours, so letting the family know will prepare them when you take more time to ensure every form is filled out correctly.

  2. Get to know your forms on a personal level. Knowing what each form requires will help you fill everything out quickly.

  3. Highlight areas that need to be signed before the family arrives. When the conversations and emotions are flowing, you don't want to make the mistake of skipping important signatures needed from the family.

  4. Never cut corners. Policies and procedures are in place for a reason, so whatever needs to be filled in…fill it in.

  5. Lastly, if you make a mistake, fix it. Catching and fixing mistakes on your paperwork will keep you and your staff from making a more significant mistake later.


sales_shapes_Kaley"After attending Mike's session, it's easy to see why proper paperwork is essential for any funeral home. But it can take up loads of time. With software like Passare, funeral homes can fill out forms in half the time! In Passare, information is entered by funeral homes, and the family will autofill everywhere it needs to go. Plus, our eSignature tool helps funeral homes ensure no signatures are missing."

-Kaley Young, Passare Account Executive


Want to learn more about streamlining paperwork with Passare? Get a demo here →


Myiesha and VastiVasti and Myiesha at the Passare booth with some awesome giveaways. 


#3: The primary planner is shifting. Here's what it means for you:

When you think of funeral planners today, do you picture someone in the Baby Boomer generation?

The oldest of the baby boomers are entering their late 70s, which means Gen X and Millennials are transitioning into the primary planner role.

These groups are much different than their parents, especially when making purchasing decisions. First off, they love research. That means scouring websites, Google reviews, and company social media profiles before determining whether or not they want to do business with you.

So, what does this mean for you? Your funeral home environment is warm and welcoming, but what about your online presence?

The best way to improve your presence online is to keep an updated website and an active social media presence. This way, online planners can form a positive opinion of your funeral home before they ever step foot inside.

Learn how to connect with the next generation of planners in this eBook 

Want to up your marketing efforts but don't have the time? Check out these services.


Tukios and PassareA highlight of the week: Getting to see our friends over at Tukios!


#4: A "rock 'n' roll" attitude is key to making a positive impact.

If you lived through the rock n' roll era, you know the top hit from the band KISS, Rock N' Roll All Nite, exemplified the original "rock 'n' roll" attitude.

Having performed with top artists like P!nk and Stevie Nicks, keynote speaker Mark Schulman knows what it feels like to rock out with the best and perform in front of thousands of people.

As a funeral professional, you might think your work and personal life are quite the opposite of Mark's. But the truth is, you influence thousands of lives each year, making you just as much of a rock star. That means you should live with a rockstar attitude.

Schulman explains what this means in three statements:

There are no small moments. Every detail is critical. Everything you do matters.

When you live with these statements in mind, you can serve each family better, energize your life, and positively impact those around you.

So, how are you going to have a rockstar attitude?

Even more important, how will you encourage those around you to do the same?

If you ask Kelsey, she will remember that no detail is too small, especially when it can make a HUGE impact on someone else!


sales_shapes_Kelsey S

"My favorite part of NFDA was getting the opportunity to connect with so many of our customers. They truly are rockstars for families!"

- Kelsey Swearingen, Vice President of Passare Operations





Pictured above is Kelsey with two of our awesome customers!


#5: Invest in the next generation of funeral professionals.

What makes our profession so great is the amount of information people are willing to share with others to help everyone improve service to families. Even more incredible are those who donate to scholarship funds, like the ICCFA Educational Foundation or the Funeral Service Foundation, so more people can enter this amazing profession.

At the convention, Funeral Directors Life made a donation to the Funeral Service Foundation. While presenting the gift, President and CEO Kris Seale shared a powerful statement about funeral service being a ministry.

He said, “Nehemiah 6:3 says, ‘I am doing a great work, and I cannot come down.' Nehemiah was inspired by God to rebuild the wall around the city of Jerusalem. He didn’t let opposition or tragedy get to him. He simply wanted to complete the job. When I thought about that, I thought about funeral service and what you all do every day. Tragedy occurs in your community, and you step up to take care of families. We hope to support the younger generation so they see funeral service as a ministry and a calling in the same way you do.”


fsf scholarship

President and CEO Kris Seale at the NFDA opening ceremony.


Investing in the next generation of funeral professionals doesn’t have to be a large act of generosity. You can start small! Here are a few ideas to try:

  • Be a guest speaker at a college or high school to share the benefits of the profession

  • Create a small scholarship to give away to a college student each year

  • Have a succession plan in place to prepare the next funeral home owner

  • Help your funeral home become more digital by implementing technology that will help funeral planners

Whatever you do, we’re sure it will be worth it and push the profession forward!




Ben, Kaley, Austin, and Jace at LVCC West Station.


Until next time, NFDA. 

These 5 unexpected takeaways are just a glimpse into our team's fantastic week at NFDA this year.

If you missed us at convention, you can still meet with us to learn how Passare can help you manage your business and connect with families on a new level. Fill out the form below to book a time!