Established in 1985 by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly, International Volunteer Day (IVD) is celebrated on December 5 and according to the UN it “is a chance for volunteer-involving organizations and individual volunteers to promote their contributions to development at local, national, and international levels.”
We wanted to take this opportunity to send our sincere appreciation to all funeral homes that frequently volunteer to improve their community and the lives of those who live within it. But if you are new to volunteering, or are looking for a new opportunity, there has never been a better time than now to get involved.
Volunteering on behalf of your funeral home gives your firm a chance to support causes that are important to you. And while business goals or monetary gain should never be the driving force behind choosing to volunteer, spending time with local community members may help your funeral home grow exposure among potential client families.
Below you will find inspiration and examples from other funeral homes that have volunteered their time, donated money, or supported charities or causes through gift giving. There are plenty of opportunities out there and it’s easy to find one that aligns with the mission and goals of your funeral home!
Conduct research in available opportunities in your community for volunteering. Alternatively, if no opportunities exist, consider starting a program or hosting an event. Seek opportunities that truly help to improve your community in one way or another, whether that’s in visible ways like volunteering to clean roads, parks, etc. or more behind-the-scenes to help those that really need it but may be too ashamed to seek help.
Additionally, volunteering among potential client families offers great exposure for your funeral home, and shows your devotion to local citizens. Join forces with local churches, student organizations, or the Rotary Club for a larger volunteer base. See below for ideas on how other funeral homes volunteered time to better their community.
Funeral Director Chosen to Lead Effort to Fix and Maintain Pearl City Cemetery (Read Story)
“Funeral director Darrell Salvador was selected to lead the group of volunteers who hope to maintain Sunset Memorial Park… Salvador has family members buried at Sunset Memorial and said he has several years of experience in the funeral industry. The group selected him to reach out to the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs before any maintenance or management committees are established.
He said, ‘long-term, we are hoping to accomplish and getting the cemetery, number one, fixed, making it presentable where families and friends can come pay respect to their loved ones.'”
Paint the Town in Marion: Upgrade Homes, Neighborhoods (Read Story)
“In essence, the purpose behind the initiative is to upgrade the appearance of at least two homes on a particular block to stimulate a change in the overall appearance of targeted neighborhoods…
About 55 volunteers, including 15 retirees who are doing the preparatory work, are helping to paint the house..including Sherwin-Williams, who is donating the paint; The Warehouse, who is providing food for the volunteers; Peacock Water, who is providing water and supplies for the volunteers; Snyder Funeral Homes; and the Fahey Bank”
Volunteers Sew Cloth Pouches for Surgical Patients (Read Story)
“Several times a year, Geisen Funeral Home hosts Sew Thoughtful Workshops, organized by funeral home employee Theresa Brandys. ‘When patients are sent home with a drain (as they are after having a mastectomy), they don’t have a convenient place to put them. These pouches provide a way to comfortably hold the drain, and it can be concealed so the drain isn’t visible in public,’ Brandys said.
Brandys calls upon community volunteers to sew, iron and pin during the workshop. Volunteers gathered at the Geisen Reception Centre on a recent Saturday morning, shared a gourmet breakfast and then worked until noon. ‘We don’t go past noon – that way our volunteers can get home at a decent time,’ Brandys said. It also encourages repeats, since the volunteers know they’ll have most of their day free after volunteering.”
Another opportunity to support your local community and the deserving causes and charities within it is to assist with fundraising efforts. Hosting or helping with a fundraiser paints your funeral home in a positive light and gives you a chance to show local causes how much you appreciate their work.
The Haven Accepts Charity Donation from Funeral Director Joseph Nelson (Read Story)
“Blantyre funeral director Joseph Nelson, together with staff and volunteers, recently held a coffee morning in aid of The Haven and were delighted to raise £850 for the charity.
The event came about after Blantyre woman Beth Magowan requested a retiral collection at the funeral of her late husband Stevie who sadly passed away earlier this year.”
The “Great Hearse Caper” Raises Funds for Hospice (Read Story)
“The ‘great hearse caper’ will make its way through Hawera on Thursday, February 12 in a bid to raise as much money as possible for the charity that supports palliative care in Taranaki. Cleggs Funeral Services funeral director Glenn Rogers said the event was a nationwide baton relay driven by the Funeral Directors Association of New Zealand.
‘Instead of a running or walking baton relay, we are actually doing it in our hearses.’ In South Taranaki, Cleggs will host a lunch and fundraiser at noon before driving the hearse slowly through Hawera’s main street. Volunteers will walk the streets at the same time with collection buckets. After that, Rogers will be driving the baton to its next location for the handover.”
Sixteen Acres funeral home to pay transportation costs for police to attend funeral of fallen NYC officer (Read Story)
“The Byron Keenan Funeral Home in Sixteen Acres has come forward to volunteer to pay the transportation costs associated with sending area police to New York City on Saturday to attend the funeral of one of the two police officers gunned down a week ago.
Sue Keenan of Byron Keenan Funeral Home, 1858 Allen St., said she is waiting to hear what the final cost will be for buses, but said whatever it comes to, the funeral home will pay for it.”
Donate Gifts or Necessities
Reach out to the community for assistance in gathering items your funeral home can donate to those in need. Unite with other funeral homes in this fundraising effort for deeper support and to show that sometimes the wellbeing of the community comes before competition. Read below for inspiration.
Funeral Home Collecting Eyeglasses (Read Story)
“As part of an on-going commitment to community service, Spengel-Boulanger Funeral Home in Highland and Marine and Dauderman Mortuary in Alhambra and Hamel have received over 300 pairs of eyeglasses and 30 hearing aids for the Highland Lions Club. The funeral homes represent many nationwide collection points taking part in the Lions’ “Recycle for Sight” and hearing aid recycling program.
The ‘Recycle for Sight’ recycling program, adopted by the Lions in 1994, distributes eyeglasses to people in need in developing countries where eye care is often unaffordable and inaccessible.”
Charity Partners with Syracuse Police to Offer Bikes for Those Who Had Theirs Stolen (Read Story)
“Jan Maloff, funeral director at DeWitt Memorial Funeral Home and director of the CNY Family Bike Giveaway has partnered with the Syracuse Police Department to provide bicycles to those who had theirs stolen.
So far, Maloff has around 100 bicycles, but with the help of a donation drive this weekend, hopes to have many more.”
Baldock Funeral Company Supports Hitchin Volunteer Army (Read Story)
“Shires Funeral Directors, Baldock, is helping The Hitchin Volunteer Army (HVA) in their Community Wardrobe Appeal, which aims to provide clothing for struggling families.
Principal funeral director at Shires in Baldock, Chloe McKnight, said: ‘At Shires Baldock we have always supported our local community, whenever and wherever possible.’”
Pay Respects to Soldiers, Veterans, and Their Families
A wonderful volunteer opportunity and one that benefits the community as well as the country as a whole is to support soldiers, veterans, and their families. There is no greater sacrifice than serving one’s country, and many funeral homes pay their respects through volunteer and fundraising efforts. See below for examples.
Volunteers Place 3,000 Flags in Kingsport Ahead of 9/11 Memorial Service (Read Story)
“Volunteers spent two days placing 3,000 American flags at the Veterans Park in Kingsport this week. Carter-Trent and Scott County Funeral Homes along with members of the Dobyns-Bennett High School Air Force Junior ROTC placed the flags in the shape of the Twin Towers.
Organizers say the 3,000 American flags represent every victim, emergency responder, and military member who lost their life on September 11, 2001.”
Operation Toy Soldier Accepting New Toys (Read Story)
“Veterans Funeral Care, a division of Trimble Funeral Home & Crematory, is participating in ‘Operation Toy Soldier,’ a toy drive for the children of local active and non-active military members.
This is a cooperative program with the Family Advocacy program at the Rock Island Arsenal. First sergeants from the Army, Marine, and Navy units annually identify local military family recipients of the locally collected toys as those who are having a difficult time making financial ends meet, may be under emotional duress, or scheduled for deployment.”
Close to 1,000 Sweaters Collected for U.S. Veterans by Local Funeral Homes’ Community Project (Read Story)
“Nearly 1,000 sweaters were collected for U.S. veterans in an ‘Operation Sweaters for Veterans’ community drive that was spearheaded for the second year in a row by Duksa Family Funeral Homes.
A total of 988 sweaters, as well as gloves and mittens and cash funds, were donated by the general public and community organizations during a month-long effort, with people bringing their items into Newington Memorial Funeral Home and Fisette-Batzner Funeral Home and to Burritt Hill Funeral Home.
All of the winter outerwear and money collected were presented in December to the Newington location of the VA Connecticut Healthcare System which is distributing them to veterans across the state.”
Funeral Home, County Residents Offer Stockings to Brighten Soldiers’ Holiday (Read Story)
“Gilmartin Funeral Home & Cremation Company in Batavia…is wrapping up its first “Stockings for Soldiers” campaign, an idea that Woodward said came from Veterans & Family Memorial Care, of which Gilmartin is the sole provider for Genesee and Wyoming counties.
Genesee and Wyoming county residents picked up stockings provided by Gilmartin at its three locations (Batavia, Attica and Perry), stuffed them with “goodies,” and brought them back to be shipped out to men and women in uniform serving in all military branches and at all ranks. The contents of the stockings range widely and include powdered Gatorade, non-perishable food items, toiletries, batteries, books, magazines and hard candy. While the sum total of returned stockings have not yet been counted, Woodward said they have somewhere between 500 and 600.”
Host a Holiday Remembrance Program
The holiday season can be an especially difficult time for those that are grieving, and hosting a holiday service at your funeral home can help ease the burden by helping your community gather in remembrance of those that were lost throughout the year.
Read our blog post to see examples of how funeral homes have volunteered their time and gave away special holiday keepsakes to help families heal.
Download our free guide on community involvement for ways your funeral home can connect with the community all year long!