Save on Burial Costs with a Funeral Committee
There is perhaps no better way to cut back on funeral costs than to take a community approach to burial. Part of the reason funerals are so expensive is because most families go through the process alone. They meet with a funeral home, make decisions in isolation, and handle the entire burden by themselves. This type of process makes it difficult to share resources and even best practices—two things that can actually end up saving thousands of dollars on a funeral.
What is a Funeral Committee?
Funeral committees are a community, church, or other group effort created to establish a safe place for families to turn for low-cost burials in keeping with local traditions. Most funeral committees exist within religious institutions (since so many burial practices have their roots in a specific religious ideology), and are formed as part of a congregation effort to make planning a funeral on everyone involved.
These committees vary in terms of what they can provide depending on who participates. Funeral committees may be composed of professionals within the funeral industry, medical professionals, or simply people who have a basic knowledge about funeral planning and care enough to help out. In most cases, these individuals band together to provide basic funeral services and planning. For example, they may offer to coordinate the funeral, write the obituary, create memorial programs, hold the memorial service, plan for music and other audio-visual effects, host meals for after the service, perform a ritual washing of the body, and even purchase burial plots in bulk so that costs can be lowered to those who participate.
How to Create a Funeral Committee
By encouraging more and more people to be involved in this type of process, it is possible to share the burden of funeral planning. However, putting together a committee could be more difficult than you think. This service requires a long-term commitment and a rotating membership in order to survive over the long term.
You’ll need to find a group of individuals willing to form the group and help run it. Decide whether or not these volunteers will be the only ones eligible to benefit from services, or if it will be open to all interested community members.
There are also limitations regarding what your services will be. For example, how will your funeral committee be run? Will you provide no-cost funerals to those in need? Simply provide help in handling arrangements? Work with a local funeral director to lower costs? Be a resource of information rather than an actual hands-on provider of care? Any and all of these are legitimate options, but it’s important to know what you can (and can’t) do—especially regarding legal issues.
Funeral committees aren’t yet widespread enough that everyone knows about them—and there may be restrictions related to religious regulations. If you’re interested in creating a support network for funeral services, talk to a funeral director, religious official, or the Funeral Consumer’s Alliance. They may be able to help you get started and recruit others who share your passion for making funeral planning easier on the whole community.