Do you find Lunch and Learn community outreach events to be effective lead generators for estate planning clients? By making your Lunch and Learn part of a Before I Die festival, you can reach even more new clients.
Before I Die festivals offer a range of activities to get people to think about, talk about, and do something about our 100% mortality rate. Festivals may take place over several days all around town, or as a concentrated one- or two-day event. Activities may include Death Café discussions, movies, tours of funeral homes, cemeteries, crematories and other death-related businesses, speakers and panel discussions, The Newly-Dead Game®, and other events.
New Mexico’s Example
The Before I Die New Mexico Festival that I coordinated in 2018 drew 685 people to 32 events over six days. A prize drawing for two green burial plots at La Puerta Natural Burial Ground generated contacts from 235 festival participants. Comments from attendees included:
- “A great experience regarding a topic people shrink away from but need to address head-on!”
- “We enjoyed the presentations which we attended and intend to patronize some of the presenters.”
- “Grateful that our community is coming together to discuss death and dying, as it is something that we are all doing.”
The International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association (ICCFA) recently recognized the festival with their Keeping It Personal (KIP) Award for Best Event. This industry award shows the value of the Before I Die festival approach to engage and educate the public about planning ahead for end-of-life issues.
Attorney Jim Plitz, a partner at AAEPA Member firm Morris Hall, PLLC, participated in New Mexico’s Before I Die festivals in 2017 and 2018. As a sponsor, he spoke at panel discussions about financial and legal issues. The firm also received contacts for festival participants, links to their website in emails and blog posts, the Morris Hall logo on all marketing materials, and online videos of panel discussions with links to the firm’s website. Here is a YouTube link to the 2018 Legal and Financial Issues panel discussion with Jim Plitz:
Plitz said, “The Before I Die festival concept provides a unique forum for our communities to better understand what it means to die – especially for those we leave behind. Gail’s ability to ‘start the conversation’ is a tremendous value to the people we serve. As an estate planning attorney and proud sponsor, these events provide a platform to get more people engaged in their personal planning needs.”
Introducing One-Day Festival Events
This year, one- or two-day Before I Die festivals will be held in multiple cities. Local businesses such as estate planning attorneys, banks and trust companies, hospices, professional organizers, funeral homes, cemeteries, and related professions can get involved. One-day Before I Die festivals are currently being planned in Bakersfield, CA, El Paso, TX, and other markets to be announced.
As legal marketing rules allow, you can access contacts from the festival attendees who fill out local prize drawing slips. Even if festival attendees don’t attend your Lunch and Learn, they will find out about your event and your firm through the overall schedule of events.
Gail Rubin, Certified Thanatologist, is a pioneering death educator who uses humor, funny film clips, and outside the box activities to start end-of-life planning conversations. She’s the author of three books on the topic, creator of The Newly-Dead Game®, a Certified Funeral Celebrant, and Before I Die festival coordinator. Albuquerque Business First named her one of their 2019 Women of Influence. Download a free planning form and Executor’s Checklist at www.AGoodGoodbye.com.
Academy Guest Blogger
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
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