In this eNewsletter


April, May and June 2016

Q2 eNewsletter

President's Note 

    While family influence prompted my start in the death care industry,  what has continued to drive me throughout my career has been the opportunity to serve businesses that play an essential role in our communities and the lives of its members.


     Funeral service and cemetery professionals are deeply connected to their communities. These connections drive success by shaping business strategies, marketing efforts and memorable at-need and preneed arrangements. More than 35 years ago, I learned the value of these connections and strive to continue focusing on relationship-building today.


Connections are a common theme in this quarter’s eNewsletter.

  • Industry events and online communities foster connections, information sharing and engagement among professionals. In this eNewsletter, learn how to connect with FSI at the ICCFA Annual Convention and Expo in New Orleans, and how to build a presence on LinkedIn, a social media platform with a growing audience in the death care industry.
  • Connect to your community through events. Memorial Day presents another opportunity for funeral service and cemetery professionals to contribute to their community and connect with its members.
  • Relationships have an undeniable role in passing legislation. Of interest to our industry is new legislation recently signed into law that will allow Florida cemeteries to elect a unitrust withdraw method for care and maintenance trusts. 

     At FSI, we value our relationships with our clients. Whether at ICCFA, via LinkedIn or phone, I look forward to connecting with you soon. 


Bill Williams
President and CEO, Funeral Services, Inc.   

    The ICCFA Annual Convention and Expo is one of the year’s exciting opportunities for the death care industry and funeral service professionals to come together for a packed schedule of breakout sessions and special events. The 2016 convention will be in held in New Orleans, Louisiana from April 13-16. The theme of this year’s event is “March to Your Own Beat.” At FSI, marching to our own drum has inspired new and innovative solutions for preneed and perpetual care trusts.
Visit us at booth 1301.

 For more information, visit

Unitrust Legislation Signed by Governor Rick Scott

     Beginning July 1, Florida cemeteries will have the option of using the “unitrust” withdrawal method, now that Governor Rick Scott signed House Bill 473: Funeral, Cemetery and Consumer Services. State of Florida Representative Ken Roberson, a funeral director from Port Charlotte, Florida, introduced this legislation in October 2015.


      This new option will provide cemeteries the potential to grow care & maintenance principal and earnings faster than the industry has seen in the past. With a unitrust, distribution is a fixed percentage, between three percent up to five percent, of the trust’s fair market value. In most cases this provides a better distribution to the cemetery while also helping to preserve and grow the trust fund’s total balance in a more responsible manner, as opposed to interest only withdrawals.


     For questions about this new legislation and what it means to your business, please feel free to contact Bill Williams.

Memorial Day:

Helping Your Community Remember

     Memorial Day is a time of remembrance, to focus on those individuals who gave it all while serving our country. This is also a great time to build business relationships with the local community by organizing or supporting local Memorial Day activities. Here are three ways your funeral home or cemetery can help your community observe the holiday:    

Provide flowers for the graves of  fallen soldiers

General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11, designated Memorial Day for decorating the graves of the fallen with flowers. A small arrangement or just a single flower will show a family your appreciation for their loved one’s sacrifice. Consider placing flowers on these graves and reaching out to family members to let them know their loved one will be remembered this Memorial Day.


Organize an On-site Ceremony

In 2000, the National Moment of Remembrance resolution was passed which asks that at 3 p.m. local time, all Americans observe a moment of remembrance with  either a moment of silence or by listening to Taps. Consider organizing a small ceremony for the community to come together and remember. Invite local public officials, community  and civic  leaders, and  families

of fallen service members. Local media and news photographers will be looking for images of Memorial Day observances, so be sure to let them know how you’re commemorating the day.


Send Red Poppies

Consider sending a card with an artificial red poppy to your clients, or donate artificial poppies to a local organization, such as a Boys Scout Troop or Girls Scout Troop, to distribute to the community on Memorial Day. Moina Michael wrote this, “We cherish too, the Poppy red. That grows on fields where valor led. It seems to signal to the skies, that blood of heroes never dies.”

LinkedIn: Your Connection to Industry News & Funeral Service Professionals


     At FSI, we believe in the power of connection and enjoy the industry events that allow us to interact with our clients and also fellow funeral service professionals. But how do you stay connected with an industry that is spread out across the map? LinkedIn. This social media platform dedicated to professionals is a great way to connect, share insights and build your business’s profile.

     Here are five reasons you should be using LinkedIn:

 Stay up-to-date on
industry trends

     LinkedIn is a great place to learn more about how other businesses are marketing their services. Industry leaders use this platform to talk about changes in the marketplace, providing tips and suggestions on how to adapt. Traditionally, this type of information has only been found in industry publications but with social media platforms, like LinkedIn, everyone has the ability to share thoughts, expertise and information with a click of a button. Just as you would pick up the latest copy of an industry publication, you can read through your LinkedIn news feed or search for articles while enjoying your morning coffee.

Connect with fellow
industry professionals

     Connecting with fellow death care professionals should not be reserved just for industry trade events, use LinkedIn to stay connected everyday. The upcoming ICCFA conference is sure to provide the face-to-face opportunity to meet new potential clients and fellow funeral service professionals. Connect with these individuals on LinkedIn as a follow-up to your in-person meeting at the conference and stay engaged throughout the year.

Establish yourself as a
thought leader

     As industry professionals, we have unique perspectives on what is going on in the marketplace. Post your professional opinions or share your expertise on LinkedIn to establish yourself as a thought leader within the industry. This will help build trust with potential clients and/or business partners. A great example of this

concept is a post titled, “Funerals Re-defined!!!” by Roger Glenn Sept, president at Saamis Memorial Funeral Chapel and Crematorium. He shared a post about the changing preferences in funeral services as ‘baby boomers’ are redefining the way funerals are perceived. The post wasn’t long but it combined his knowledge and expertise on an industry issue that is sure to affect funeral service professionals everywhere.

Generate leads and build
your contact list

     According to Hubspot’s  State of Inbound Marketing, 62 percent of businesses acquired customers via LinkedIn. Use your current network to generate new leads and secure future clients. LinkedIn is a web of connections. For every professional you are connected with, there are a host of second and third degree connections between the two of you. Use this web to reach out to potential new clients and build your business without leaving the office.


     Get to know a business or potential client before the initial face-to-face meeting. If you plan to visit the CemSites booth at the upcoming ICCFA conference, get to know the company before your plane lands in New Orleans by visiting the company’s LinkedIn page. There you can get to know their team, read posts shared on the page and go into the initial meeting with background information. With this knowledge under your belt you can spend time in the booth having a more informative and deeper conversation about technology behind the partnership between CemSites and FSI.
Click here, and connect with FSI on LinkedIn today!
In the News

American Funeral Director
March Technology Roundtable
Features FSI President Bill Williams

FSI is no stranger to utilizing the latest technology in the death care industry, so its no surprise Bill Williams, President of FSI, was invited to participate in the Technology Roundtable for the March issue of American Funeral Director. This piece addresses the use of technology to efficiently and effectively run your business, the risk of security breaches, how to assess your technology needs and much more. Read the full article here.
Association of Trust Organizations Q1 Newsletter Features
Jim Atwood, FSI board member & CEO
of Infinity Management Advisors


     Jim Atwood, FSI board member and CEO of Infinity Management Advisors, contributed to the ATO Q1 newsletter with his article, “Death Care Industry Adopts Estate Planning Techniques, Yielding New Opportunities for Trust Organizations.” The article reviewed the latest Florida legislation that allows the unitrust distribution method for perpetual care cemeteries. This estate planning technique could mean new business opportunities for trust organizations statewide. Read the full article here.  


April 13-16, 2016             2016 ICCFA Annual Convention, New Orleans, LA
                                                Booth 1301

May 30, 2016                   Memorial Day
                                               FSI office will be closed in remembrance
                                               of those who died in service to our country.

June 12 – 15, 2016         Alabama Funeral Directors & Morticians Association
                                               Historic Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, AL

Copyright © 2015 Funeral Services, Inc., All rights reserved.

Funeral Services, Inc.
Post Office Box 13407
Tallahassee, FL 32317

(800) 749-1340

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