So, your season has finally come to an end. Now what?
Like many community chorus leaders, you're probably busy preparing for some type of annual meeting. Annual meetings are a good opportunity to meet with the chorus members, staff, volunteers, and donors to discuss the current and future state of the organization.
If it's your first time preparing for an annual meeting, you might be wondering... what should I prepare?
1. Financial Reports
You'll want to give your members an update on the organization's financial status. Determining how much information to include can be challenging because it's important to provide an overview but to also not overwhelm your audience with numbers. I'd recommend providing them with the following:
- YTD budget versus actuals - what deficit or surplus are you projecting for the end of the fiscal year?
- Financial status of the chorus - are you in good standing, in need of help, etc.?
- Financial highlights - highlighting any increased revenue and saved costs from the year.
- Financial concerns - any areas that you'll want to address financially in the coming year(s).
- High-level breakdown of income and expenses - break down the big bucket items for your income. How much is restricted/unrestricted? Where does most of your income come from? And break down your expenses. Where does most of your money go?
2. Season Highlights
The annual meeting is a good time to generate excitement about the awesome things your organization is doing. I always like to include season highlights and the particularly exciting things that we accomplished that year. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Programming highlights - were there any stand out concerts or projects you took on this year?
- Operational highlights - were there improvements you made to the organization's operations that helped the organization be successful?
- Fundraising highlights - did you have an outstanding year for fundraising or a very successful fundraiser?
- Fun highlights - were there any stand out social events or fun things your chorus did this year to build your choral community?
3. Marketing & Ticket Sales Stats
Often singers don't understand what it takes to bring in an audience and their crucial role in that. So I think it's important to address marketing strategies for generating ticket sales at the annual meeting. Some things you might want to share:
- Ticket sales source analysis - where do your ticket sales come from? Which marketing channels are effective or ineffective? What role do your singers play in selling tickets?
- Ticket sales against revenue and capacity goals - what were your revenue and capacity goals for every concert? Did you meet them? Why or why not?
- Marketing experiments and trends - Did you try anything new this year in your marketing efforts and was it successful? What are some of the trends you are seeing in marketing that have been successful?
It's important to take some time to thank all of the people who have made your current season possible. Be sure to thank your staff, board, singers, donors, ticket buyers, and volunteers!
5. The Slate
If your bylaws require you to vote in your new leaders, then the annual meeting may be the right time to do that. Prepare the leadership slate, send to members prior to the meeting, and do an official vote at the meeting.
6. Next Season Review
And finally, you'll want to spend a bit of time talking about what the plans are for next season.
- Goals - what are some of the goals you plan to accomplish next season?
- Organizational changes - are there any big changes planned for the organization?
- Projects and programming - what's on the program for next season and are there any interesting projects coming up?
Tori Cook is the Director of Sales & Marketing at Chorus Connection. She is the former Music Director of the Harborlight Show Chorus, past President of Chorus pro Musica, and sings with Tanglewood Festival Chorus in Boston. When not making music, she daydreams about adopting a golden retriever puppy and scuba diving to exotic locations around the world.