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5 Things to Consider Before Planning a Columbarium Program

There are many reasons why a church or an organization wants to offer its members a columbarium program. Some are considering it because their members have requested a special place for their loved ones cremains to be housed at the church or organizational facility they frequently visit. Some members of the church or organization have loved one’s cremains in their closet or on a shelf at their home or somewhere else and want a proper place of respect. Maybe you are looking for a way to raise funds for a church or organization project. No matter what your reason is you want to put thought into the five items. 

Number 1: Who will be in charge? Someone has to be in charge. The failure of a program is always due to the lack of leadership, a lack of proper plan and the lack of record keeping. The committee needs to have in place the business plan that will insure that the Columbarium Program will succeed and continue to serve the needs of the church or the organization well into the future. Now don’t let this seem overwhelming. Choosing an experienced design/build company will help you with the business plan you need to have a successful columbarium program. 

Number 2: Do you have a managing plan in place? After the “sale”, one of the critical elements of the truly successful columbarium program is the service that is in place after the program is completed. Is there a plan for keeping records, is there an operations manual in place, have you developed the rules and regulations for the columbarium? Once again, choosing an experienced design/build partner will help provide you with the tools you will need to be successful. 

Number 3: Location, location, location. Columbariums can be designed and installed almost anywhere. The high density of a columbarium means that relatively little space is required. A columbarium can be almost any size and can be put in areas you may not think to use. The columbarium should be convenient for the families to visit loved ones; this helps the family feel connected to the church or the organization. Having the columbarium outside may make it easier for the project to grow into additional phases, adding additional niche units as needed though many churches and organizations are finding areas inside their facilities that have no other use. Choosing the right location is sometimes confusing so choosing an experienced design/build partner is very critical. An experienced design/build partner will help you determine the best location for your church of organization. 

Number 4: How will the church or organization raise funds to pay for the columbarium program? There are a number of ways to approach raising funds. Having roundtable meetings and seminars to inform, educate, and respond to the comments and questions from the congregation need to be planned. The meetings and seminars need to be conducted by and with the design/build partner selected for the Columbarium Program as they can respond with exact facts and they bring in the product knowledge needed. At the conclusion of each meeting or seminar, “reservations” are made, and an initial deposit for the purchase price is given . . . the process begins. The fund raising process is a step-by-step plan, that when properly executed will lead to a Successful Columbarium Program. The design/build partner selected should provide your organization with a business plan that outlines and defines the steps in the fund raising process. 

Number 5: I’m sure you have already discovered what number 5 is… choosing an experienced design/build partner. Every day new companies enter into this field and they do not have the credibility or experience to provide you with the help and guidance to have a successful columbarium program.


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