Funeral and memorial services cooperatives are formed to empower consumers when dealing with one of the most stressful and emotional events in life. Cooperatives of funeral homes help independents to survive in an industry facing rapid consolidation, thereby preserving a local connection for funeral arrangements.
After suffering the loss of a loved one, consumers are confronted with the task of negotiating with funeral homes and memorial service companies, often with little information to do so, leaving them vulnerable to unscrupulous practices. Funeral cooperatives allow family members to plan meaningful, dignified and affordable funeral and memorial services.
Consumer-owned funeral cooperatives operate worldwide and many provide direct services, rather than working through preferred vendors. In Canada, for example, the Fédération des coopératives funéraires du Québec has 36 affiliated funeral cooperatives with some 125,000 members. In the United Kingdom, most large diversified consumer-owned cooperatives offer funeral services and pre-planning to consumers.
People’s Memorial Funeral Cooperative operates a consumer-owned funeral home in Seattle. It was launched in 2007 by the People’s Memorial Association, which helps members save thousands of dollars in funeral costs through contracts with two dozen funeral homes throughout Washington.
The Funeral Consumers Alliance is a federation of nonprofit organizations dedicated to protecting members’ final interests. It helps build mutual support among 100 funeral planning societies, including People’s Memorial.
Thanexus is a shared-service cooperative made up of more than 100 funeral homes in New Jersey. It provides key support to members in the areas of human resources, communication and financial services.