Oct 15, 2020
It still feels like a surreal dream. Who could have ever guessed when we were all gathered together watching the Blues Brothers playing at last year’s NFDA Convention Welcome Party that we wouldn’t be able to gather the same way this year? The COVID-19 pandemic has completely altered our normal routines and plans. Even though we are disappointed we won’t be able to see all of our friends and clients in person like we have every October for the past 15 years, we are staying focused on the positive. Maybe NFDA 2020 won’t be the “largest gathering of funeral directors in the world” this year…but it will be the largest online event in the history of the funeral profession. We think that’s something worth celebrating!
There are a lot of reasons to be excited about the first-ever Virtual NFDA Convention. For one, it is the most accessible convention yet. Those who may have been unable to attend in the past due to schedule issues and the difficulties of traveling will have an opportunity for the first time to explore what this annual event has to offer. We are hoping the inclusive nature of the convention will help us all to forge more new connections than ever before!
It seems as though the virtual format might have also helped the NFDA to book some truly renowned and exceptional speakers. We were absolutely blown away when we saw this year’s lineup of keynote addresses and educational sessions. The association has also taken great strides to recreate the Expo Hall experience by taking advantage of the latest in virtual technology. We are looking forward to chatting with everyone at our virtual booth and meeting one-on-one with funeral directors via video call. It’s going to be a fantastic three days of fellowship, education and camaraderie.
Below is our guide to the virtual events you won’t want to miss next week at NFDA 2020:
Virtual Exhibit Hall
Walk the tradeshow floor from the comfort of your home! For many funeral homes, the NFDA Convention provides the perfect once-a-year opportunity to explore new funeral products, visit with vendors and watch demos of the latest in funeral home technology. This year will be no exception! The NFDA has equipped funeral home suppliers with the interactive tools they need to give attendees a memorable experience at their virtual booths. You’ll be able to chat with sales and customer service representatives, watch videos, download helpful PDFs and enter raffle drawings for many different prizes. Best of all, you won’t even have to change out of your PJs to gain entrance. So, grab a coffee or a cocktail, open your laptop and meet us on the tradeshow floor!
Here are a few things you can expect at our Virtual Booth this year:
Live Q&A Sessions & Demos
At every NFDA Convention, we spend a great deal of time with funeral directors who want to learn more about how to enhance their funeral home’s communications. Whether you are interested in coming on service with our company or you’re a current client wanting to get the most out of your ASD experience, our team will be available to answer all of your questions.
ASD will be offering LIVE demos of our mobile app at our Virtual booth at the following times:
Tuesday, October 20, 10a CST & 3p CST
Wednesday, October 21: 10:30a CST & 2:30p CST
Thursday, October 22nd: 10:30a CST
We will be offering a Free Trial until December 15thto funeral homes that visit us at the NFDA Convention and decide to test drive our answering service. Our Sales Representatives will be available throughout the convention to provide information and interactive demos. We invite you to bring your communication challenges to our booth so we can help you overcome them with our latest solutions.
For our current clients, we want to help you take advantage of all of the features and tools available to you through our service. While our Client Solutions and Supervisor team are always available to answer questions and help you make updates to your ASD account, we know how busy funeral professionals are. So many of our clients view the convention as an annual opportunity to meet with all of their vendors to make adjustments for the year. We invite you to bring your questions and requests to our booth so we can help customize your ASD account to meet your needs.
One-on-One Personalized Video Calls
Funeral professionals have come to expect our ASD Mobile Live Demos at the NFDA Convention. This year, we’ll be providing personalized demos on demand via video call. You can request a video call with an ASD Team Member and ask for information on specific features you would like to know more about. Both ASD Sales and Customer Service representatives will be available to speak with you personally throughout the convention.
Lego Set Giveaways
For the past 8 years, ASD has raffled off our funeral-themed Lego sets at the NFDA Convention and we’re not about to break that tradition this year. Normally, funeral directors are lined up for blocks to enter our raffle drawing, but just because we can’t gather together in person this year doesn’t mean we’re going to deny funeral professionals their chance to win their choice of one of our popular funeral-themed Lego sets. We will be holding raffle drawings every day of the convention and there will be multiple ways for you to enter our raffle. Stop by our Virtual booth to enter for your chance to win.
Renowned Keynote Speakers
The NFDA has lined up some incredible keynote speakers to address the funeral profession at the Virtual Convention. Kicking things off on Tuesday from 1:30p-2:30p CST is Author and Renowned Speaker, Simon Sinek. Many people are familiar with Simon from his famous speech on Millennials in the Workplace that has been viewed online more than 12 million times. At the NFDA Virtual Convention, Simon will be addressing attendees about the importance of understanding the “Infinite Game” of business in helping leaders to stay ahead of their competitors.
On Wednesday, bestselling author and customer service consultant Micah Solomon, will inspire attendees with his keynote address on creating exceptional customer experiences. Micah’s session, to be held from 9:30a-10:30a CST, will provide valuable tips on how to create positive word-of-mouth for your funeral home by creating meaningful experiences for families.
Finally, capping off the convention will be documentary filmmaker, Brett Culp. Brett will address attendees on Thursday from 12:30-1:30p CST on the power of heroic stories and individuals. Brett’s insights on connecting individuals to an organization’s mission will help funeral professionals to inspire leadership and make an impact in their own communities.
Topical Continuing Education Sessions
One of the biggest changes to funeral service profession ushered in by the pandemic is the switch to online education. Funeral professionals must still complete their continuing education credits, but with very few in-person CE opportunities, the need for online learning is critical. The NFDA is helping to make this transition easier for funeral professionals by offering up to 9 CE hours during the Virtual Convention. What’s more, the class topics are relevant to the current state of funeral service, ensuring that attendees will take away some valuable insights along with their CE credits.
With more than 18 CE sessions being offered, we decided to spotlight a few that got our attention. Be sure to review the NFDA’s full lineup of speaker sessions to create your own Virtual Convention itinerary.
Supporting Families and Communities After Traumatic Death
Tuesday, October 20, 3-4pm CST
Janet McCord, Ph.D., F.T., Professor and Chair, Department of Thanatology, Marian University
Whether resulting from a drug overdose, suicide, homicide or a mass shooting, funeral service professionals often provide the first supportive care to families coping with traumatic death. In this session, you’ll learn practical strategies for supporting families who have been impacted by a traumatic death both before and after the funeral.
Five Keys to Cremation Success
Wednesday, October 21, 11a-12p CST
Mike Nicodemus, Vice President, Cremation Services, NFDA and Adam Sanden, CPA, Partner and Chief Financial Officer, Brunner Sanden Deitrick Funeral Home & Cremation Center
This workshop will unpack the five key factors that will help you succeed in cremation and develop a clear message as to why families should choose your business instead of your competitor’s.
Becoming a Champion
Wednesday, October 21, 1-2pm CST
Howard Kellman, Professional Speaker, Sportscaster & Author
Learn how to set higher goals for yourself at this inspiring session focused on improving your confidence and stepping out of your comfort zone.
Winning in Sales by Sharing Life’s Purpose
Wednesday, October 21, 2:30-3:30p CST
Justin Baxley, Foundation Partners Group LLC
Take your funeral planning to the next level by learning how to work with families during the arrangement conference to create creative and meaningful funeral experiences.
Imagining the Unimaginable: Promoting Healing After the Death of a Child
Thursday, October 22, 10:30a-11:30a CST
Betsy Hawley, M.A., Executive Director, Pediatric Palliative Care Coalition
Kristin James, LCPC, Executive Director, Greater-Ilinois Pediatric Palliative Care Coalition
A difficult but important workshop focused on how to improve the end-of-life experience for families and the community following the death of a child.
Which canine will be the first to cross the finish line? Find out at first-ever NFDA Pup-Doodle Derby. Since we always spend a little time at the convention hanging out with the therapy doggies, we are absolutely in love with this pawsome idea. Place your votes in the Thumbies virtual booth and watch to see who wins! If your doodle-pup wins, you’ll be entered to win a $250 gift card! Watch race one at the end of the day on Wednesday, October 21 and catch race two at the end of the day on Thursday, October 22.
Two of the adorable Doodle puppies we met at NFDA 2019
ASD is proud to be supporter of the upcoming Virtual Convention and an official sponsor of the NFDA Trivia Lounge. Challenge your fellow NFDA attendees at a round of self-paced trivia! You have 30 minutes to complete as many correct answers as you can for a chance to win a prize! The top three winners in each trivia lounge will receive a gift card up to $250.
A Brainstorming Break Lounge, Great Big Giveaway, Virtual Magic Show and so much more!
Click here to learn more about all of the special entertainment options offered by the NFDA during the Virtual Convention.
We hope you’ll join us at the first-ever Virtual NFDA Convention next week! If you haven’t already, you can conveniently register online on the NFDA’s convention website. The COVID-19 pandemic has taken many things from all of us this year, but we’re not about it let it take away an opportunity to connect with our favorite people. Let’s come together online to make the funeral profession’s biggest digital event an interactive experience we’ll all remember for years to come!
About The Author
Jess Farren (Fowler)
Jess Farren (Fowler) is a Public Relations Specialist and Staff Writer who has been a part of the ASD team since 2003. Jess manages ASD’s company blog and has been published in several funeral trade magazines. She has written articles on a variety of subjects including communication, business planning, technology, marketing and funeral trends. You can contact Jess directly at Jess@myASD.com