2020 DDS

The COVID-19 pandemic created a sudden shift in how funeral homes like yours serve families. Many traditional methods for hosting visitations and funerals were limited, but this limitation paved the way for innovation that could help us better serve families moving forward. In response to this, OGR has gathered some of the top industry thought leaders to offer concrete steps and new tools to help you lead your staff into this new future.

Take advantage of this member benefit and participate in four afternoons of learning, designed to improve your business and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

All 8 hours of education are included in your OGR membership!
Need CE credits? Register for each hour at $50/CE, or pay $299 for all 8 hours (that's more than $100 in savings!)
Non-members can register to attend and receive credits at $75/CE or $399 for all 8 hours.

Visit OGR.org/CEs for a list of CE approvals


Tuesday, July 28

What’s Ahead: A Look at What COVID-19 Means for Your Funeral Home
3 p.m. - 5 p.m. EDT | 2 CEs

Matthews AuroraWe get it. You’re tired of COVID-19 restrictions, a shortage of PPE, and the unknown of what could happen later this fall. Tune in for a panel discussion with colleagues on how you can prepare yourself and your funeral home for the coming months, whether there’s a second wave of the coronavirus or life slowly returns to normal.

You’ll leave this discussion with tips on how to:

  • assess your funeral home brand and make changes to your marketing message to speak to what families are looking for TODAY;
  • reorganize your staffing schedule;
  • partner with local and federal health authorities in a more productive way;
  • ensure you have enough PPE for the months ahead; and
  • examine your finances to ensure you are financially sound.

No one has to go it alone. Prepare your staff and funeral home for what’s to come, regardless of what the future may hold.

Panelists: Charles Castiglia, Lakeside Memorial Funeral Home; Roger Beyers, Beyers Funeral Home and Crematory; Bill Brock, Vander Plaat Funeral Home; and Andrew Loos, Heartland Cremation and Burial Society

Thursday, July 30

How to Harness New Technologies Well
3 p.m. - 3:55 p.m. EDT | 1 CE

During the past few months, did your funeral home use Zoom to make arrangements with a family? Did you start livestreaming funerals or get paperwork signed remotely using DocuSign? Now that restrictions for funerals and small gatherings are lifting, take time to evaluate these technologies and finetune how you and your staff use them. During this session, you will:

  • explore creative methods for serving families virtually;
  • identify options for making online arrangements, giving screen share-presentations, getting digital signatures, funeral webcasting and more; and
  • learn best practices for evaluating technologies you are currently using and newer ones you’d like to adopt.

Facilitator: Marty Strohofer, Matthews Aurora Funeral Solutions


Pivot and Prevail: How to Craft and Share a Message When Margins Are Tight, Funerals Aren’t Valued, and Social Distancing Is the Norm
4:05 p.m. - 5 p.m. EDT | 1 CE

As we all know, shift happened. There is no aspect of life the pandemic hasn’t touched, and we all have long lists of shifts we wish would go away. But we have no control over when life will return to normal. What we can do is control how we respond to the tectonic changes happening right now.

This presentation will help you:

  • adjust your marketing message to help families understand the value of services that you offer;
  • craft appropriate content for social media in the aftermath of the coronavirus;
  • avoid messaging pitfalls;
  • better leverage website and email communication; and
  • personalize your messaging for increased effectiveness.

Get practical tips for building connections with your community that will foster relationship, loyalty, and engagement during this one-hour session.

Facilitator: Alex McCracken, Funeral Innovations

Tuesday, August 4

Lessons Learned from COVID-19: Funeral Directors in Pandemic Hot Spots Share Their Experiences
3 p.m. - 3:55 p.m. EDT | 1 CE

While businesses worldwide have been impacted by the virus, funeral service professionals at the center of the pandemic have had harrowing experiences. Join funeral directors from New Jersey, New York, and the Philippines as they share experiences and what they’ve learned since March.  

During this panel discussion, you will:

  • learn what went wrong, what went well and why it matters for your funeral home;
  • examine what these funeral directors would have done differently knowing what they know now; and
  • glean advice foryour funeral home for the months ahead.

Learn from the experiences of your colleagues and be prepared for a potential second wave or for any future pandemics that may occur.

Panelists: Randy Gagnon, Brunswick Memorial Home in East Brunswick, NJ; Raffy Jose, Arlington Memorial Chapelsin in Manila, Philippines; and Jackie McQuade, Schuyler Hill Funeral Home in the Bronx, NY


A 3D Approach to Shifting Your Perspective on Wellness & Wellbeing
4:05 p.m. - 5 p.m. EDT | 1 CE

Whether it is working long hours, caring for families experiencing intense grief, or working through a global pandemic like COVID-19, being a funeral service professional can take an emotional and physical toll. Traci Fisher, a Wellness Coach, author, and speaker, will share how you can care for yourself in a way that is customized to YOU even amidst life’s stressors.

During her session, you will:

  • discover a holistic, scientifically based process to achieving your personal health goals and handling stress appropriately;
  • discuss how personal wellness is foundational to sustained professional performance;
  • create a 3-step process for customizing a health plan that is in alignment with your individual values and circumstances; and
  • access additional tools for continued support as your personal needs and circumstances change.

Facilitator: Traci Fisher, "The Wellness Coach"

Thursday, August 6

Serving Families through Delayed Grief: Opportunities to Serve and Connect with Your Community
3:00-3:55 PM EDT | 1 CE

Full-Circle AftercareAll of us have experienced grief during the pandemic – grief from the loss of connecting with others, the loss of jobs and financial security, the loss of visiting loved ones, and the loss of freedom of movement, to name a few. Those who have lost loved ones during this time are experiencing not only their personal grief, but also the burden of not being supported and surrounded by loved ones due to gathering restrictions. People are longing for ways to move through this collective and individual grief.

As a funeral service professional, you are in the position to become more visible in your area, to collaborate with others, and to build community as you provide healing resources. Join this 1-hour discussion to be able to:

  • identify the many types of pandemic losses and grief and the importance of accompanying grief;
  • discuss what community is, why it is important, and how to build it;
  • examine which community resources can be potential partners and various ways to build these partnerships; and
  • explore various community outreach programs, including grief education and support programs that involve storytelling and sending the message “you’re not alone.”

Facilitators: Spiritual Director and Celebrant Jackie Hook, MA; and Funeral Director F. Glen Flemming of Koch Funeral Home


Ideas Exchange: Find Solutions to Your Biggest Challenges
4:05-5:00 PM EDT | 1 CE

Hop on this hour-long idea exchange and share challenges you are currently facing as you serve families in the aftermath of COVID-19. Provide feedback for fellow funeral directors and work toward a solution for each challenge using breakout rooms in Zoom. Potential topics include doing business with COVID-19 restrictions, delayed grief for families, community outreach ideas, finances, new technologies, the devaluing of funeral service and more.