Decoding the Evolving Mindset of Funeral Consumers at New NFDA Consumer Trends Conference 

Funeral Industry News Funeral Industry Press Releases NFDA January 22, 2024

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Decoding the Evolving Mindset of Funeral Consumers at New NFDA Consumer Trends Conference 

Brookfield, Wis. – “Put me into a pot and let me grow into a tree.” “The best thing I’ve experienced at a funeral is being with my family.” “I don’t want them to remember me in a casket.” “It’s beautiful when there’s more smiles than tears.” “I hope it stays more traditional and personal.” “We put the fun in funeral and it was a great celebration of life.” “I feel awkward at funerals.” 

These are just a few of the real insights from ordinary Americans that the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) will share during its inaugural virtual Consumer Trends Conference on February 22 and 23. This event will help funeral service professionals delve into the mindset of contemporary funeral consumers, whose needs are evolving at a seemingly rapid pace. Attendees will gain valuable insights on emerging consumer behaviors and preferences to help inform their decision-making and get ahead and stay ahead in their market. 

The Consumer Trends Conference will take place from 8-11:45 a.m. CT each day. During the conference, attendees will learn from funeral directors and other end-of-life care experts who have unique perspectives on how funeral directors can deliver the services grieving families need: 

  • Consumers Are Talking – Are You Listening? presented by Matt Baskerville, owner and funeral director, Reeves & Baskerville Funeral Homes and Crematory, Coal City, Illinois, and Gail Marquardt, vice president, consumer engagement, NFDA  
  • Embracing Evolution: Navigating Consumer Trends in Your Funeral Home presented by David Hernandez, CEO and funeral director, Jersey Memorial Group, Old Bridge, New Jersey 
  • Partners in Death: Funeral Directors and End of Life Doulas presented by Kris Kington-Barker, director of outreach and care provider programs, International End-Of-Life Doula Association   
  • The New Funeral Consumer presented by Josh McQueen, vice president of marketing and product, Directors Investment Group 
  • Beyond the Funeral: What Savvy Funeral Directors Do to Connect with Their Communities presented by Georganne Bender, Kizer & Bender  

On February 22 at 12 p.m. CT, attendees can also attend a bonus lunch and learn session, A Snapshot into Your Consumer: Attitudes and Behaviors that Define Your Future Business Model, hosted by Foresight. They will offer insights on consumer attitudes and behaviors; the disconnect between the funeral service profession and consumer needs; and ways of bridging the gap between funeral directors and consumers. The first 75 attendees of the lunch and learn session will be treated to a $20 gift card for lunch, courtesy of Foresight.  

The Consumer Trends Conference will include live discussions and Q&A opportunities with presenters and fellow attendees. The conference will be hosted by Gabe Schauf, a licensed funeral director, program director and instructor with the Milwaukee Area Technical College Mortuary Science Program, and host of the NFDA podcast A Brush With Death.  

Attendees can earn up to six continuing education hours during the virtual Consumer Trends Conference without having to travel away from their business, making an exceptionally convenient opportunity to learn and grow. Registration fees are: 

  • First registrant from an NFDA-member firm: $259 
  • First registrant from a nonmember firm: $299 
  • Second registrant from the same organization: $195 
  • Student (accredited mortuary science program): $50  

For complete details and to register, visit or call 800-228-6332 (262-789-1880). Registration closes promptly at noon CT on February 21.  

NFDA is grateful to Foresight, Passare and Funeral Directors Life for sponsoring the Consumer Trends Conference.  

NFDA is the world’s leading and largest funeral service association, serving more than 20,000 individual members who represent nearly 11,000 funeral homes in the United States and 49 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 no 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