Embracing change and technology

words: Jim Auld, National SAIF President

New SAIF National President Jim Auld looks back at a successful 2019 AGM and Banquet Weekend and shares his future ambitions to support SAIF and its members.

Having returned to my desk after our AGM at the Five Lakes in Essex, I have been thinking about connections made and friendships renewed.

Life is all about connections and we all see this in our day to day lives, and as funeral directors we connect with families at times of loss and tragedy. These connections are so strong that families often feel we are very close to them by the care we show to them. Some would say we are only doing our job, others would say it is not a job, it is a vocation. I would say it is the latter.

I am enormously proud to be elected President of National SAIF – I have been a member since 1994. I have never been a member of another trade organisation and I uphold everything SAIF stands for. I look forward to being an ambassador representing our organisation during the coming year.

The funeral profession is undergoing changes that most of us will never have seen in our working lives. We must be responsive to these challenges and willing to accept change. We must embrace new technology. Twenty-five years ago everything was done by telephone or fax. Bills were typed, estimates were handwritten. Now we see different ways of marketing and communicating with our clients, different types of funerals, but at the end of the day what remain at the core of our profession are the families who entrust their loved ones into our care, for that is most important and will always remain at the forefront of what we do.

An exciting innovation that SAIF is involved with establishing is funeraladvice.org – this is going to give impartial advice to the public looking for guidance at time of need, or perhaps leading up to a death when people are uncertain about what happens when someone dies, but are too scared to ask.

I hope that I will be able to strengthen relationships with SAIFCharter and maintain and build on existing links we have with associate members and kindred trade organisations.

During the year I will be fundraising for Breast Cancer Care and I hope that you will be as generous as possible to this truly worthwhile cause. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK today. More than 62,000 people are diagnosed every year which includes 370 men. Sadly 11,500 people will die of breast cancer every year.

I will talk about Breast Cancer Care more in next month’s issue of SAIFInsight.

My thanks must go to my predecessor Alun Tucker for all his wisdom and support, along with SAIF Chief Executive Terry Tennens, Claire Day and the staff at the SAIF national office for all they do, for us the members.

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