- The practice of group planning for funeral arrangements started early in the 1900s in the Northwestern United States; members of the Farm Grange organization formed burial co-ops.
- From there, the idea spread to cities, often under church leadership. The People's Memorial Association of Seattle, organized in 1939, was the first such urban group. Success with cooperating funeral directors helped to advance the whole movement.
- Societies spread gradually up and down the West Coast, then eastward across the United States and northward into Canada.
- Funeral Consumers Alliance (FCA) is a nonprofit federation of local organizations that educate the public about sensible funeral planning and stand guard against exploitation of grieving consumers. Founded in 1963, the federation helped push for the successful enactment of the Federal Trade Commission Funeral Rule in 1982, the first national regulations to curb funeral industry abuses.
- Most alliances are non-profit and completely run by volunteers. A few large societies pay a small stipend to their secretary and treasurer.
- The local Funeral Consumers Alliance of the Hudson Valley1 (FCAHV) was established in 1962. We are still non-profit and completely managed by volunteers.
1 Name change from the Mid-Hudson Memorial Society in November 2009.