Over the last several weeks I have been talking about group pictures for your apartment parties, and how they can impact a sense of community. Not only do I think that taking a group picture bonds residents together, but I also think seeing the final product can have a huge impact on both residents and prospects. For residents, they can either pick themselves out of the crowd, or inspire those that couldn’t make it the last time. For prospects, they want to find people who they can connect with. Without some sort of visual, all the residents who live in the community are an unknown. But seeing a ton of smiling faces shining back at them makes a prospect feel more comfortable in their decision.
But event group pictures are really going to only cover a portion of residents – those that could make the party. So I think it would be fun to buy a green screen and ask each new resident to take a picture in front of it. For those who don't know, taking a picture in front of a green screen allows you to isolate just the people without a background a lot easier, like they do for the weather forecaster. Then, once a month add all new residents to a composite group picture! That picture would grow and grow over time, and will be a neat time capsule of all the residents who had lived at the property.
Note: if you do this, make sure you ask every single new resident! By not asking one resident, you could open yourself up to Fair Housing issues.
When planning any apartment community party, it is really important to not only plan for the best case scenario, but also plan for the worst. During one of the first parties I ever hosted, we decided to let people self serve on food. That was a monumental mistake, as suddenly people acted as if they were storing up for a long winter. The residents didn’t care that because they took 3X the amount that would have been reasonable, others may not get any. Within fifteen minutes, we were out of food, and I was sure I was getting kicked off the property by the property manager. Fortunately, they were very understanding and none of the residents got too upset about the lack of food. But it did bring up a very important aspect: Always plan for the worst.
Here are a few questions you can ask yourself as you plan the event:
1) What happens if way more people show up than what I planned for in food?
2) What happens if too few people show up to do a certain game?
3) What happens if only a few people show up at all?
4) What if a game needs an even number of people but you have an odd number of guests?
5) What if a certain game doesn’t play out in the way that you thought it would?
6) What if your DJ, caterer, or other supplier doesn’t show?
Obviously, these questions will be specific to your party circumstances, and you don’t necessarily need a written plan for every eventuality. Simply taking a few minutes to think about some “plan B’s” will help if you have to go in party crisis mode.
Good luck with the resident event planning!