The calendar at my retirement community consists of weekly entertainment, bridge games, bingo, day trips, theater trips, special holiday celebrations, theme parties, dances, educational programs, fitness programs and more. I like to look back to find the programs and shows that were successful and pencil them in for the future and then I get to work towards adding new ideas! As you know from bring an activities director, you must be organized and have a system that works for you in order to bring back community favorites, not have to research it all over again, and to recall what not to do again, ever!
How do you know if a program or entertainer is worth repeating or not?
I use my computer to help me with this question. First let's talk about a program.... I call outings, special events, lectures, etc a "program." It is something that I might like to repeat in the future and have all the details of how I did it available to me. I've created a "worksheet" for each of my programs. On this worksheet it has the name of the event, the contact information, the details of the program (time, menu, etc), how I figured out the cost for the program and an evaluation of the program - which you will have to go back to do after it is over, or it is worthless. I save this worksheet on the computer by the name of the program and file it under in a file that I've named Worksheets. I also have a separate file called Worksheets- Lunch Outings, because I do them on a regular basis also. Sounds simple, but I've learned that many people do not name their files appropriately and then can not find them later. Think about your computer as a large filing cabinet. If you had to file the document after you printed it, where would it go. Create that folder on your computer and keep putting the appropriate files there. Create as many folders as you need. (Creating new folders is usually a right-click on your mouse when you are in the area where you see all your files - usually when you are opening a new document.)
It might look something like this:
Daggerwing Nature Center
Worksheets - Lunch Outing
Now, for entertainers. Back in the "old days" (a few years ago) I would try to remember if a show was good or not. Then I realized that was not going to work, so I started writing it on my calendar in the date block when I had the performer scheduled. I found that that was not good enough either, because I could not retrieve the information fast enough when I needed to. So, I've created a document I call my Entertainer's List. It is in a table format in my word processing program that has a column for the date of the show, the act's name, and then their rating. Since the beginning, of doing this, I've added a column for the fee, which I find very helpful. The ratings come from a 1-5 number system that is given to the act after a monthly review with my Activities Committee. (This is a committee that is formed through our community's Resident Board.) If you do not have such a committee, you may want to develop a way to get resident feed back that you can rely on. Once I have the information in my computer, I save it and I can easily find a performers name by using the search key (usually the Control F keys) and I can learn what I need quickly and I book them or I don't. I do not bring back entertainers how received a 3 or below, and feel that the quality of performers has increased since putting this system into place.
I would love to hear if you have any other ways that you keep track of your programs and entertainers or if you have any questions about this process. Get started today and you will see positive results in the future.