Organization is the key to your success when it comes to the job of being an activities director in a retirement community. One of the first things that I did when I came to my job was to set myself up with a system that works best for me. Today I will share one part of it... which is processing the residents request for season tickets to community concert series.
At my community we go to approximately 6 different shows. These include the ballet, philharmonic, a few different drama series, a pops concert series and a musical series. Since our company has had accounts with these organizations for 20+ years, we have managed to get some prime seats within our group's allotment. This is a nice perk for the residents.
The way I work this element of my job is to first set myself up with a plastic folder with pockets on the inside for each series. I specifically said a plastic folder so that it will last you a long time. Mine are black, but you can get them in any color(s) you want. I turn the folder so that the opening of the folder is at the top, and there, I put a stick-on name tag with the series' name on it on the top right corner - BALLET. This way, when I am looking into my file cabinet, it will be easy to identify.
Next, I label both pockets of the folder.(I do not buy the folders with any clips in the middle because I don't use them for this project.) On the right side, I put a name tag that says "last year" on it. I like to keep last year's information so that I can refer back to it. I throw away all the work that leads up to the end result, but keep the seating assignments, price per seat, and maybe a copy of what I did to sell the program. On the left side I put a label or a post it note, on the pocket that has all the information that I need to find quickly. This usually is, how many are attending, the cost for transportation per show because it varies in my community (if a resident calls and wants to bring a friend along for one show and they have purchased their own ticket) and the contact information of the box office.
On the left side, where the current season's information goes, I've come up with a small quarter-sheet of paper that has a check-list on it. I print this on a bright piece of paper so that I can find it quickly and keep it at the front of all the paperwork. On this check-list, I put the date when I started to sell the program to the residents, when I sent my seating request to the box-office, when the deposit was made, final payment was made, bus request made and approved, when I gave the charges to the billing department, when I put the dates onto my calendar and when residents were billed for the series. As you know (or can see) there are many details, and I do not want to miss one of them because it will wreck havoc and could result in residents loosing their specific seats.
I send each existing subscriber a renewal letter that gives them the dates of the new shows, what the shows are, and the current cost for their existing seat. I give them three options: renewing their current seat, change their seat (and ask for their new requirements in writing), or to cancel their subscription. I do not do anything without it being in writing! If the resident calls me to make a change, I ask them to come to my office to make the change on their renewal letter. I take the blame for this and tell them that this is my need as I am handling multiple series with multiple resident requests.
Renewing residents have first priority over the new new requests for season tickets. I try to match the needs of new subscribers with the seats that I have in my inventory. This means that I must have a good understanding of what they are requesting and a good understanding of the theater. You can usually find a seating chart on-line these days and you really must have that in your folder for each venue.
As I mentioned in my office organization article, keeping your files organized on the computer is critical for your success. I have a file called Concerts. Under it are each of the series we attend. Inside those specific folders I have the seating requests sent to the box office, a copy of the signature sheet that I use when a resident accepts their tickets, the renewal letter that I send to residents and the bus request information. Most of the time, I have these items in a hard copy in the folder also.
Being able to offer your residents the best possible seats to see a concert means that you must be organized. If you are struggling with this today, take time to think these suggestions through and see if you can implement any of the ideas. If it works for you, great, if it doesn't, I bet you will still be better off than you are now! Also, if you have suggestions that work for you, I would be interested in hearing from you. There is always room for improvement.