Digital Toolkit is the way ahead

Digital Toolkit

The new Digital Toolkit produced by SAIF to enhance members’ ability to provide direct cremations has been given a warm and enthusiastic welcome.

The toolkit is providing members with the skills and confidence to engage with a growing service that is proving to be ever more popular with families seeking a simple yet dignified send-off for their loved ones.

The toolkit provides a range of resources, many of which can be effectively deployed on social media, to help independent funeral directors raise awareness of direct cremations and promote the benefits they offer.

Simon Helliar-Moore, a SAIF national executive committee member who owns Crescent Funeral Services in Taunton, Somerset, is one of the driving forces behind the toolkit. He edited the powerful Mooving On video which is part of its contents.

“From what I’ve seen on social media and locally, people are using the toolkit and are enthusiastic about it,” he said.

“I’ve heard from local celebrants and from people within the profession but also from members of the public who have found the resources helpful and informative. They now know that we offer that service, so the message is getting out there.”

The 1,000 members of SAIF are being impacted by the rise in direct cremations, Simon said. “As an organisation, we felt that we needed to look at the impact that this trend was having on the funeral profession.

“We wanted to be able to support the membership by providing useful tools to funeral directors offering this service. We wanted to get the message out that people don’t have to look to the companies that are advertising on television.

“Instead, you can deal with your local independent funeral director and they will be able to offer the same service, and probably with better value and better understanding of your needs.”

The new toolkit is particularly useful from a business point of view, as direct cremation is generally not what funeral directors have been trained to provide. Simon explains that this means that for many it is a new type of service.

“Some funeral directors have not had the confidence to provide this, though my own business has done so. At the end of the day, it’s down to individual families and their needs, but we are in a changing landscape and we have to reflect that.

“Certainly, since Covid, some of the larger direct cremation companies have capitalised on the gap in the market, so this is very much about independent funeral directors reclaiming the right to care for families by offering this type of service.”

The Digital Toolkit contains several elements including the Mooving On video – a short but emotionally moving production featuring a herd of cows attending a farmer’s funeral – as well as posters and advertisements that can be adapted to suit the needs of an individual business.

The campaign materials also highlight SAIF’s Diamond Partnership with the Westerleigh crematorium and cemetery group, which allows SAIF members the ability to provide direct cremations at a more competitive price.

“The message we are getting across to people is that you can have what you want,” Simon said. “We are saying that you don’t have to have the biggest of funerals. It can be as simple as you like. You can have something that reflects your needs and your life.”

The relationship with Westerleigh allows SAIF funeral directors to offer the service and to be competitive, he added. “I think what we have put together is actually very empowering for our members. It says that we are here – that people don’t need to look elsewhere but can go to their local funeral director.”

Placing the emphasis on social media communication in the toolkit is deliberate, Simon said. “It has become such a big part of business now. I think most funeral directors are waking up to the idea that it is the future.”

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