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I manage a 55+ independent living senior community. Our budget is very low for resident events but per our LURA we are required to provide regular monthly events and activities. I have become very creative with activities at a very lost cost to the property. Last week we had a Guess Who Luncheon. This game is a way to bring laughs and fun to a group of seniors who want to get to know each other. This is how the game works. We had each resident bring a picture of them in their younger years or as a baby to the party. We set up a table early in the morning, prior to the game with a poster board so they could tape their picture on it. Once all pictures were displayed the pictures were numbered. Everyone received index cards and wrote down the number with the guess of who each person was. We had a cheat sheet so that we could score the resident’s card of most correct answers. We had gift bags for 1st to 3rd place winners. Additionally we played the toilet paper game. We passed around a roll of toilet paper and had each resident tear off squares of toilet paper - as many as they want - but didn\'t tell them why. Once everyone has some, we explained that for each square they have taken, they must tell the group one \"fun fact\" about themselves. Our residents are still talking about how much fun they had!
Fall is quickly approaching and you know what that means; out with the tanks and shorts and in with coats and scarves. As everybody has busy lives, finding time to drop off cloths to the local donation center can be a challenge! So invite each resident to bring as many new or gently used items to the community office to be donated to Goodwill. Have food, snacks, drinks, gift card give-aways and a grand prize raffle.
But beyond simply donating clothes, we though a good incentive would be to help residents “Fill Up” their closet, too! So rather than generic VISA gift cards, reach out to local stores that sell clothing to see if they would like to participate in the event by donating a gift card! This is a fantastic way for them to support a good cause, and at the same time get good publicity with your community and prospects. (We have an entire write-up on asking for donated gift cards.) This way, as they donate old clothes, they can possibly win gift cards to buy new ones! Plus, being able to advertise gift cards from the Gap, American Eagle, and other stores will help increase the response from your residents and hopefully drive up the number of clothes donated.
Social Media Tip: Take pictures of some of the cute tops and other clothes that get donated and share them on your Facebook Page or Instagram! This helps advertise the event AND helps show prospects what type of community culture you have.
Marketing Tip: Consider opening this event beyond just your residents. You have great incentives (gift cards) to give away, so use this as a marketing opportunity to offer non-residents to bring in their clothes, as well!
Media Tip: This may not work, but if you end up with a LOT of clothes, it may even be news-worthy! News stations are always looking for uplifting stories, so consider approaching them with your story and maybe some free press will come your way when you drop off the clothes to Goodwill!
This event that has a community service focus while also serving your residents. This even doesn't require residents to bring anything to the office, and doesn't cost anything for you either! The best part? It serves your local Goodwill or Salvation Army with much needed items. The basic idea is that you will provide large plastic garbage bags in the office for residents to get if needed, they fill them with gently used items from their closet and home (no furniture), they RSVP with their apartment number, and they set their bag(s) outside their door by a certain time on a Saturday morning. The community staff drives through the community going to each RSVP door and picking up their donated items. The team then delivers the bags to a local Goodwill or Salvation Army (or other charity organization) for the residents. This is a perfect event to do during a busy or expensive month as it is simple and can be free!
A great idea is to do this event in the Spring so you can organize it around the theme of "Spring Cleaning Your Apartment!" You will need 2 dates on the calendar: one for the RSVP date, and one for the actual event. Here is a basic timeline:
• 2 weeks before the event: Flyer the common areas of the community letting them know that RSVPs are REQUIRED, and giving the RSVP deadline. Also let residents know they can pick up garbage bags in the office, and that bags must be outside their doors by 8am the Saturday of the event. Let residents know that you will not be able to get them tax deduction receipts. This can just be a small *asterisk at the bottom of the flyer.
• 1 week before the event: Send a reminder email to all residents (if you have access) letting them know of the RSVP deadline and going over details again.
• The morning of the event: Drive to each RSVP door, pick up their bags, and deliver them!
If you have budget money to put towards the event, have you can drop off a small brown bag with a granola bar and a little Thank You note to each participating resident.
Summer is finally here – the perfect time to organize a social event in your community. Events can be a great opportunity for your residents to get to know their neighbors and develop a sense of community. And let’s face it…residents who feel connected to your community are more likely to stick around year after year!
Planning a resident event this summer? Read on for a few tips for a successful event.
Give People What They Want
Are your residents more interested in a BBQ or a community rummage sale? You won’t know until you ask! So before you start planning, find out what types of events your residents are interested in attending in order to get the most attendees.
Involve Residents in the Planning
Have you heard of the IKEA effect? Basically, the concept is that people place a higher value on things they help create. So recruit a committee of residents to help you plan your summer event. Not only will it take some of the work off your plate, but these residents will also feel more committed to the success of your event.
Get the Word Out
Now that you've planned a great party, it’s time to spread the word! Hang signs in the elevator, fitness center, leasing office and other common areas of your community. Send out an email about the event or include the details in your next community newsletter. And if you have an online renter portal, be sure to include the details there too!
Perhaps you have a resident who dabbles in photography or a staff member who has a creative eye. Designate that person to be your event photographer. After the event, post photos to your blog and social media channels. People who attended the event will enjoy seeing photos of an event they were part of, and those who didn’t attend will see for themselves why they should attend your next event! Just be sure to get your residents’ permission to use their photos.
Learn for Next Time
Did you have a lot of leftover food? Or maybe not enough seating? Make notes of what worked and what didn’t so you have those insights the next time you’re planning a resident event. Also, consider conducting a quick survey to those who attended the event to find out what aspects of the party they liked and what could use some improvement.
Get prepared for winter by planning a hot chocolate bar during your winter party! We found this idea at Indianapoluxe and love their take on a simple hot chocolate! Rather than simply providing hot chocolate, they give everybody the chance to customize it to their preferences by adding peppermint, peanut butter, marshmallows, or caramel.
This is one of those small elements of an apartment party that isn't huge in itself, but adds a little magic to the event.
What other ingredients would be good to add?
We have a photographer set up a few times a year, usually Easter, Christmas, Mother's Day etc..and take resident photo for free and they usually receive a free large photo.
Starbuck's Starters Budget Range: Low
CARES Teams stand at main gate, passing out free Starbucks to residents on their way out in the morning. Starbucks has caraffes they sell and supply all the cups, sugars, half and half, stirrers, lids with them. This is a resident favorite here allowing us to interact with an average of 100 people for about $50!
We have a sign that says "FREE STARBUCKS COFFEE," because some people try to pay us! Set up on a pool area table and as they pass by, they tell us what they'd like in their coffee. We make it up for them in seconds and off they go! They love it!
We provide breafast on t he run for all resident;s, statrt at 7:00am.
So you have already reserved the community room, put out the E-mail blasts, door hangers and flyers, set out the food and drinks and your residents are now arriving. WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT DUTY YOU HAVE AS HOST?
A) to make sure the food and drinks are full
B) to ask them if they are going to renew their lease
C) to introduce everyone and make sure they are meeting people
D) to ask them how everything is in their apartment
If you answered, "C", give yourself one of those chocolates you have stashed in the office... :)
The purpose of resident events is to get them to meet other people, socialize, make friends and to have a good time. Extroverts will naturally talk to lots of people, but introverts and people in the middle sometimes need a little more attention. Help them to meet other people and break the ice with an introduction. I have hosted over 2000 events and can tell you stories of the quiet person who comes out of their shell when they meet people. When residents make friends in their apartment community, they will be less likely to move when their lease is up.
If you answered "B" or "D", please realize that your GOAL is to get them to renew, but the PURPOSE of the event is to help them put down roots and for you to try to build a true community. In sales, we tend to be hunters where we see our objective and go for it. With retention, you have to be a farmer. Plant the seed, nurture it with fun events, excellent customer service and maintenance and watch how your relationship grows.
Our apartment communities are filled with interesting and unique residents who are active outside the community. Whether it is their actual job, or just a hobby, many times these residents participate in a variety of events that are open to the public, and is an absolutely fantastic opportunity to showcase them! A while back, someone mentioned that their most successful event was “A Grand Opening for a new tenant's Used Book Store”. How brilliant is that!? It’s a way to showcase an interesting resident, plus make them extremely appreciative at the same time! The same type of concept could be for a resident who has a band and is playing in the area, a comedian, someone who is in a theatrical production, or maybe someone who is a volunteer for a local charity. Getting to know your residents will find out all sorts of interesting events that they are a part of, and opportunities for events that have a much stronger connection with your residents!
Residents come out and have their own swap meet! Have racks and tables available for residents to layout clothes, furniture and household items to either sell like a community garage sale or swap items with other residents. At the end of the event, whatever is remaining can be donated to a good cause such as the salvation army or a local charity.
This event goes far beyond just your average bar-b-que, but can really add a lot to your community. You can add additional fun and contests such as encouraging residents to set up their own themed selling area. Turn the event into a game where residents keep a tally on every time they make a 'swap' and whoever has the most swaps wins a small prize. Most charitable organizations will write a receipt for donations - whoever has the largest donation (based on their receipt) wins a $50 discount on the following months rent.
Have fun with this event and your residents will have fun too - everybody wins!
For a while we’ve been talking about residents taking “emotional ownership” of their apartment and community, where the more they put into their apartment, they more satisfaction they have and the less likely they are to abandon all the effort they have made. So we see huge benefits in providing opportunities for residents to improve their own apartment in a positive way. In this sense, we believe there are huge opportunities with “Do It Yourself” community projects where residents get together to work on an improvement option for their apartment.
Today’s DIY project is not only a great option for those residents with a green thumb, but it also is a great fit for communities that are looking to be more ecologically minded! Here is an apartment garden DIY project that might be fantastic for residents:
The website for the main garden project is http://www.windowfarms.com/, which allows you to either join the community and get the blueprints for the project or buy complete kits pre-made. The pre-made kits are pretty expensive, in the hundreds of dollars range, but I’m not sure how much it would cost for the DIY approach.
What do you think about this DIY project for your residents?
We hosted a winter weather party that we termed "S'mores Indoors".
We had platters chocolate, graham crackers. Baskets of marshmallows on skewers and small dishes with sternos (canned fire that you use under buffet dishes)and decorative rocks to keep them from sliding. Residents would roast their marshmallows over the indoor flame and then build their s'mores.
We also set up a hot chocolate bar with crushed peppermint, Bailey's Irish Cream, whipped cream, and flavored syrup.
The event was a huge hit.
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