Want to book an act that's beyond your budget's reach?
Try these tips for funding entertainment your budget won't cover:
Join forces with another department:
Approach your facility's Marketing Dept. about going in with you on an event to which the general public (including prime prospects) and residents' family members are invited. Typically, the Marketing Dept.'s budget is greater than the Activity Dept.'s, allowing it to spend more, when justified.
If an act is popular with the staff AND the residents, ask your facility's administrator if they'll consider footing part of the bill on behalf of the staff as a gesture of staff appreciation or employee perk. Like the Marketing Dept., the Administration Dept.'s budget generally offers more leeway than does the Activity Dept.'s. You'll never know unless you ask!
Host a fund-raiser
Nobody loves a good yard sale, fashion show or tea (or both!), bake sale, craft sale, auction, or talent/variety show more than when it's for a good cause, like treating your residents to a fabulous experience! Let visitors, family members, and visiting therapists/medical staff know how much it would mean to the residents to be able to host such an event, and how much their contribution towards funding it helps. And when you go to order signage to publicize the fund-raiser, be sure to check with Marketing to see if they'll help with that expense if the fund-raiser is promoted outside of the facility!
Do many of your residents have disposable funds? If so, approach the Resident Council with the idea of selling tickets to the performance if the ticket price were kept low. Determine the minimum number that would need to sold at the lowest ticket price affordable to most residents, family members and staff and heavily promote it throughout the facility with a running tally of how many more tickets sales are needed to make the dream a reality.
If the event were touted to family members as a rare opportunity to share an elegant occasion at the facility with their loved one, Marketing may again be able to justify pitching in to cover any shortage that still remained, especially if a videographer were on hand to capture residents' and their family members' reactions after the performance as a memento of the occasion. (Just be sure to get a signed consent form from those who will appear in the film (or their responsible party/family member, as appropriate) beforehand, granting you permission to include them in the film, to cover your bases with respect to legalities.)
Consider having the videographer there before it begins, too, with residents being asked as they walk a red carpet to take their seats to share any memories they might have of attending similar performances in their younger years. You may even have residents who had performed on stage once upon a time, who can answer pointed questions that elicit memories, like how it felt to be an actor, dancer, musician or singer just before they took to the stage.
Really ham it up, Joan Rivers-style, in a parody of Hollywood's royalty at the Oscars, asking each resident as they file past who designed their gown (even if they're not wearing one!), with staff and, no doubt, family members, snapping photos left and right, to make it especially fun and memorable!
Not only would the occasion be a welcome departure from the norm for the residents, by memorializing it on film, you can also create both a treasured keepsake for family members and, if those in the film or their responsible party agree to its use as one, a marketing tool that can be shown to prospective residents and their families.
Find a Sponsor or Raffle a Prize
IFit's legal to employ either of these techniques within a care facility or senior residence (and I don't know if it is, besides, laws regarding them may differ from state to state, so the onus is on you to find out!), you might ask a local business if they'll sponsor the occasion in exchange for prominently displaying their (obviously appropriate) logo on table drapings, a banner, or signage at the event. Likewise, (once again, assuming it's legal to do so), you could involve the outer community by selling raffle tickets to win a drawing for a coveted prize (hopefully one that is donated), with proceeds going to fund the event.
A little imagination can go a long way toward expanding your budget, especially when entertainment that would create a special experience for your residents is at stake. Test the theory yourself and you're bound to find that it's true: where there's a will, there truly is a way!