When to Invite Families to the Planning Center
February 3, 2021
By Chris Gomez, Director of Product Marketing
As a funeral professional, working with families to plan memorable and healing events is your calling, which is why collaborating in person is essential. But if 2020 taught us anything, it’s that working online with families and staff is also important – and convenient! Funeral home software that allows you to work with families to write the obituary, sign documents electronically, and add and upload files from anywhere is crucial, and that’s what Passare’s Planning Center can do!
(If you haven’t already, I recommend that you read all about the Planning Center HERE.)
When to Invite Families to Collaborate
Families can use the Planning Center to write the obituary, sign documents, read helpful resources, and more. But unless you include a link to the Planning Center on your website, the only way a family can access it is if you invite them. We understand that every funeral home has a different arrangement process, so I’ll share a few ideas that you can use and adapt to meet the needs of your business.
You have three opportunities to invite families to collaborate, and I’ll explain each one below!
Invite Families BEFORE the Arrangement Conference
This is probably the easiest and most convenient way to invite a family. When you are discussing a removal or calling the family for the first time, you can easily say something like this in the conversation:
In a few minutes, I’ll send an email [or text] with a link to our Planning Center that you and your family can access so that you can gather the essential information for the funeral ceremony before we meet. You’ll be asked to create a login, and then you can start thinking about the kind of service you want to have. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to me.
And that’s it! Once you send the link, you’ll receive notifications when the family starts filling out information and when they try to contact you. You and your families will appreciate the convenience.
Invite Families DURING the Arrangement Conference
If you’re meeting with a family in a short time frame, you might be thinking, “I’d love to invite families, but I’m usually meeting with them the next day, so what’s the point?” That’s a fair question, but consider the following points:
- If you send the invitation, a family might fill out a few things even if they’re meeting with you the next morning.
- You don’t have to send the invitation before the arrangement conference to find value in it. Funeral directors have found a lot of success in sending the invite during the arrangement conference and using it as an opportunity to explain what information is still needed.
- Funeral directors use the Planning Center as a follow-up tool to collaborate with families on the obituary and other essential items.
Other funeral directors have shared that they use the Planning Center on a large screen and fill in the information with the family so they can review it later. For example, you could say:
We’ll be utilizing our Planning Center for this meeting. Before you leave today, I will send you an invite to the Planning Center, which will include the work we’ve done here as well as a place for you to work on the obituary. I’ll also upload prayer cards and memorial folders for you to review.
Invite Families AFTER the Arrangement Conference
If you forget to send the invite during the arrangement conference, send it after! The invitation serves as a great way to follow up with the family and give them access to the obituary and other print materials that they can review before the service. Not only can you ensure you are doing exactly what they want, you are also extending to them the opportunity to be involved in the planning process from the comfort of their home!
In the next article, I’ll cover the many ways you can send Planning Center invites to families.
Not a Passare customer? No problem! Check out this FREE self-guided tour of the Planning Center and/or download this FREE eBook all about the Planning Center.
Already a Passare customer? Thank you! Active Passare users can learn more in Passare Support!
Read all the articles in this series!