A common complaint from people who are trying to learn about funeral planning for the first time is how poorly designed much of the information available online can be. Below are five of our favorite sources for reputable information about funeral planning and the death care industry:

Description: A national nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting a consumer’s right to choose a meaningful, dignified, affordable funeral. Offers free information about funeral planning resources to the public and serves as a consumer advocate for legal and regulatory reform.

Sage & Grace Tip: Local FCA chapters are typically run by a very small group of volunteers who are passionate about helping families with funeral planning. They may have done price surveys for local funeral homes, are great sources to learn about local laws, and can help advise you on which funeral homes to avoid. If you feel like a funeral home is trying to scam your family or take advantage of you, they’re an excellent place to report the behavior and ask for advice. Find your local chapter here.

Description: California-based company that seeks to be a comprehensive resource to help educate people about their options around death and dying, and to encourage an open dialogue about an uncomfortable subject.

Sage & Grace Tip: Seven Ponds has a similar mission to Sage & Grace and is rich with information around all of end of life experiences (beyond funeral planning, extending to estate planning and end of life directives). The website can be a bit confusing to navigate but a great source of inspiration and exploration.

Description: The National Funeral Directors Association is the worldwide source of expertise and professional resources for all facets of funeral service. Through education, information and advocacy, NFDA is dedicated to supporting members in their mission to provide families with meaningful end-of-life services at the highest levels of excellence and integrity.

Sage & Grace Tip: The NFDA has been around for over 120 years and its members tend to be independent funeral home directors who rely on the association to conduct research about emerging trends and consumer preferences. The site is a bit challenging to navigate, but full of information about the funeral industry. It includes a search tool to locate funeral homes that are members of the NFDA. All Houston-area NFDA homes are also included in our Sage & Grace search tool and tagged as NFDA members.

Description: The Green Burial Council is the environmental certification organization setting the standard for green burial in North America. Their education and advocacy efforts are helping organizations and individuals within this industry understand the environmental, societal and economic benefits of green burial. We hope to make “green” or “natural” burial the new standard within industry.

Sage & Grace Tip: The availability of green burials varies widely city by city. Houston has very few options (you can search for the ones we have listed by going to Search For a Local Vendor > filter by Green Burials tag). This website will help you understand the reasons people elect for green burials. We’ve talked to quite a few people who have said something along the lines of, “I wish I knew more about this when I was planning a funeral for my loved one, but there was just no time and my funeral home didn’t explain it.”

Description: The NHFA, an all-volunteer 501c3 non-profit, has the mission to educate the public to their choices and provide clear information about all things relating to home funerals. They share information about home funerals, including directories for where to find home funeral guides, home funeral education programs, home-funeral-friendly funeral directors, celebrants and clergy, and groups who will help families when needed.

Sage & Grace Tip: Home funerals are seeing a growing resurgence and allow families to have more time with their deceased loved one for visiting and grieving. But, they are not the type of service you want to wait until after someone dies to start thinking about. This site is full of resources about what a home funeral is and will help you find a local guide. Understanding the process and deciding how much involvement your family wants to have likely requires some conversations beforehand and with a home funeral guide.

Are we missing any? Do you still have questions about planning a funeral for your loved one? Contact us and we’ll do our best to help.