Being a member of funeral associations such as FIAT-IFTA, Panasef or the NFDA can provide important advantages for your professional development in exchange for an annual membership fee, which often pays off handsomely thanks to the many benefits offered by these funeral services associations.
What do funeral associations offer?
Funeral associations are organisations that focus on the defence of the funeral industry and its workers. Do you know the saying ‘there is strength in numbers’? That is exactly the main value of funeral associations, which in many countries have become real lobbies with a strong influence on policy decisions affecting the funeral market.
Beyond the collective level, the membership of some funeral associations can also bring numerous benefits on a personal level:
- Funeral associations provide an interesting network of contacts with other professionals who share your interests and who face the same difficulties that you face on a daily basis.
- Most professional funeral associations offer free legal advice to their members. They will recommend lawyers who specialise in the field and keep you up to date with legislative changes affecting the profession.
- If you’re just starting a funeral home, joining a funeral service association can be a great opportunity to get a crash course from senior members and gain valuable experience for a newcomer.
- They will help you keep up to date with training courses as they become available. In addition, the cost of enrolment for such courses is often well discounted for members of professional associations.
- They usually have a job bank which can be very useful if you need staff for your business, or if you are thinking of changing company yourself.
- They will also help you to find out about and participate in the main trade fairs in the industry. Remember that professional funeral fairs continue to be an essential tool to make yourself known and to keep up to date with the latest developments in the industry.
- Funeral associations have high professional standards and an ethical commitment to society. Being part of a good association will undoubtedly bring you prestige in the eyes of your customers and suppliers.
Leading funeral associations in the world
FIAT-IFTA is a world funeral homes organisation representing funeral directors, funeral service providers, repatriation and funeral service suppliers. It is the only federation run on an international basis by national, active and associate members in more than 80 countries.
FIAT-IFTA provides advocacy resources, education, information, products, programmes and services to help members improve the quality of service to bereaved families in all countries. Associate members are listed in the global network’s membership directory and receive funeral information through Thanos magazine, the Funeral Exposure Service and the Change of Address and Data Service. They can also make exclusive use of the representative FIAT-IFTA logo.
The National Funeral Directors Association is one of the world’s leading funeral associations. It represents 18,500 members from nearly 10,000 funeral homes in the United States and 43 in the rest of the world, making it one of the largest networks of funeral service professionals.
In addition to its prestige, the NFDA is known for its high ethical standards and its members are committed to upholding them through a Code of Professional Conduct that addresses the funeral professional’s obligations in five key areas: the family, the care of the deceased, the public, the government and the NFDA itself.
As a funeral service association, the NFDA also offers its members the essential tools and resources any funeral director needs to run their business: advocacy services, a network of trusted suppliers, a job board, discounted convention and conference registrations, continuing education programmes including certification and training courses, numerous discounts and even medical care.
The International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association represents all segments of the cemetery, funeral service, cremation and memorial profession. Today, ICCFA is comprised of more than 9,100 cemeteries, funeral homes, crematories, monument designers and related businesses worldwide.
It serves and supports these members through a range of benefits designed to enhance their management competence and improve their businesses, from regular updates on government and legal issues, educational meetings, membership directory, certification programmes and a wide variety of services and products designed to meet their needs.
In the United States, ICCFA has created more than two dozen model guidelines that advocate for state legislation on a variety of consumer issues. The association also assists consumers more directly through information resources as well as through a complaint mediation service.
The European Federation of Funeral Services comprises around 80 national funeral associations from various European countries, in addition to its many individual members, including funeral directors, cemetery operators, crematoria, memorial products, online obituaries…
The national associations of funeral directors, regional associations of funeral directors and funeral directors of funeral companies that are members of the EFFS have committed themselves to a strict code of ethics which includes a professional relationship with the families of clients, sincere respect for all beliefs and customs, transparency in costs, confidentiality or integrity in the relationship with professional colleagues.
In addition, EFFS offers its members extensive training options through the European Knowledge Exchange Programme for professionals in the industry. This is a great opportunity to experience the traditions and cultures of funeral services and specific training on how business is done in other European countries.
The Latin American Association of Cemeteries and Funeral Services (ALPAR) brings together people and entities linked to the funeral industry in Latin America, but also in Europe and the United States. ALPAR promotes “continuous learning, framed in an environment of healthy competition, spirit of collaboration and professional ethics”.
Among its main purposes, ALPAR is responsible for “representing the common interests of its members, acting before the States, national associations, international entities and individuals”. This funeral association is also in charge of “collaborating with the States in the orientation and satisfaction of the needs of the associates and the community in general, in what is related to funeral services, funeral culture and funeral heritage”.
ALPAR members enjoy numerous advantages such as the possibility to participate in events, academic activities, discounted membership with other associations, access to specialised books, the possibility to provide services in 24 countries through strategic alliances between associates and the confidence of having numerous international consultants and advisors.
The National Association of Funeral Directors is one of the key funeral associations in Mexico. It is made up of funeral home owners, suppliers and professionals in different areas related to the country’s funeral industry and one of its main objectives is to “modernise and regulate administrative and operational practices” in order to foster joint growth.
For that reason, the ANDF has worked mainly on the formation of the network for mutual support among funeral servants. Through their quarterly meetings, they offer different conferences focused on the professionalisation of the industry with advice that is easily applicable regardless of the size of the company.
The main advantages of being a member of the ANDF include the possibility of obtaining greater presence in regulatory institutions; support, backing and coverage of more than 40 funeral homes throughout the country in case of services or transfers; agreements with suppliers at preferential prices and discounts and exchange of experiences and information on processes and methods.
The National Association of Funeral Services is the leading association of funeral services and maximum representation in the industry in Spain. It is made up of more than 130 funeral homes and its mission is “to defend the interests of the funeral industry in general and its members in particular, seeking to professionalise its activity in order to offer the best service to society”.
PANASEF regularly organises specific courses and seminars for professionals from member companies and these are open to the entire funeral industry. It also provides its members with an extensive database updated with the industry’s legislation, as well as numerous reports and studies for the correct management of the business. In addition, it offers them the possibility of resorting to a specialised legal office for any queries they may have.
The Federación Nacional de Comerciantes is a Colombian organisation that seeks “the development of commerce through the efficiency and modernisation of businessmen” and has a section dedicated to businessmen in the funeral industry. Although it is not a specialised organisation in the funeral industry, it is the most prominent in the country, so it can be a determining strategic alliance for the development of your funeral business in Colombia.
Asocolparques is another of the relevant funeral associations in Colombia. The Colombian Association of Cemetery Parks integrates an important group of companies that manage cemeteries in the country. Its main purpose is to “create a space of representation for this industry that allows it to be a synergistic body between its members, the state and academia, with a clear emphasis on the search for benefits for both the companies and their workers, thus promoting the development of the industry and all its personnel”. It is worth highlighting its effort to promote the integration of the funeral services industry in Colombia through its education and professional training programmes and its lobbying work to promote the updating of existing legislation.
The Spanish Association of Funeral Service Professionals is a homogeneous group of workers in the industry that includes undertakers, administrative staff, cleaning staff, funeral vehicle drivers, cemetery staff, morticians and funeral advisors. They are represented throughout Spain and their main concern is to “professionalise the funeral industry” through numerous training activities, publication of reports and the struggle to “achieve cohesion at national level”.