National Study Confirms Value of Flowers at Funerals

February 1, 2015
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Brookfield, Wis. – According to the results of a new report from the American Floral Endowment’s Floral Marketing Research Fund (FMRF), both bereaved families and funeral directors feel flowers and plants offer comfort during and after funerals.

The study, Funeral Directors and Flowers: Insights into Floral Tributes in the Funeral Industry, by the FMRF sought to assess consumers’ attitudes toward and use of floral tributes in funeral services; the study also sheds light on funeral directors’ current relationships and experiences working with floral retailers. FMRF partnered with the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) to conduct the survey of association members; this is the first study of its kind in more than 20 years.

According to the study, when looking at non-human sources of comfort, funeral directors believe that flowers and plants offer the most comfort to bereaved families, followed by sympathy cards and food. Seventy-three percent of funeral directors believe the families they serve recall flowers and plants as a source of comfort; approximately 64% of families talk about flowers and plants sent by loved ones and friends.

Funeral directors personally feel – and believe the families they serve think – that floral tributes and plants serve as an expression of sympathy, are a token of tribute and respect for the deceased, and help provide comfort and warmth to the funeral setting.

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Funeral directors indicate that nearly 84 percent of families want to take flowers and plants home after the service.

“Flowers always have been and will continue to be an important part of funeral services,” said NFDA President Robert C. Moore IV, CFSP, CCO. “Seeing a flower or plant from a friend or loved one brings comfort and lets the bereaved know they are not alone in their grief.”

FMRF also asked funeral directors why they believe some families prefer memorial donations to floral tributes. The top reasons why families prefer memorial donations include: their loved one’s involvement in a specific charity (33.7 percent) and not believing flowers are needed at a funeral (27.5 percent).

The study examined the relationship between floral retailers and funeral homes. Most funeral homes (73 percent) indicated they had a great relationship with local florists and that they work well together. Approximately 63 percent indicated that they’d had a “relationship-building” visit from a local florist in the last three to four months.

The report offers suggestions from funeral directors to help florists offer better service. Suggestions for florists include keeping product information they provide to funeral directors up-to-date, ensuring that deliveries are made well before a scheduled service to allow adequate time for set-up, and being mindful of the size and shape of floral tributes so that they are easy to transport and set up at the locations where services might be held and to the family’s home after the service.

Concluded Moore, “I recommend that NFDA members download this report and share it with their local florists. It offers a good starting point for a discussion about how funeral homes and florists can work together to best serve those who wish to use flowers and plants to pay tribute to someone who has died.”

The report can be downloaded at no charge from the FMRF website, www.floralmarketingresearchfund.org(click the “Research” link at the top of the page; visitors to this website must create a free account in order to download the report).

NFDA is the world’s leading and largest funeral service association, serving 19,700 individual members who represent more than 10,000 funeral homes in the United States and 39 countries around the world. NFDA is the trusted leader, beacon for ethics and the strongest advocate for the profession. NFDA is the association of choice because it offers funeral professionals comprehensive educational resources, tools to manage successful businesses, guidance to become pillars in their communities and the expertise to foster future generations of funeral professionals. NFDA is headquartered in Brookfield, Wis., and has an office in Washington, D.C. For more information, visit www.nfda.org.

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