How to stop choir admin becoming a massive headache

It's probably fair to assume that most of us become choir leaders for a love of music and singing. In the midst of all the creativity, the more mundane task of choir administration risks getting overlooked. But a badly-run choir will soon be a pretty miserable choir. Admin needn't take too much of your time. With some simple organisational steps, you can ensure everything is up to date and running smoothly.
  1. Having an organised registration process can really help you to keep on top of how many singers are in the choir and how often they attend. The simple act of having a register where people are checked in at rehearsals not only looks professional but shows singers that they belong to a group and that their presence is valued. This may also encourage better attendance and make them more likely to inform you when they cannot attend.
  2. Having some willing helpers in the choir can be a great benefit, particularly if you run a large choir. Someone who can manage the register and payment on the door, someone else to assist with refreshments. If you use backing tracks and amplified sound, someone to manage that for you can all make life easier.
  3. If your choir wears a uniform which you provide, such as branded t-shirts or sweatshirts, it's a good idea to have an online page or order form showing all the options for members. An online payment system is efficient, but might not suit your choir, in which case a paper slip that can be returned with payment works well. Remember to allow enough time before a performance to collect in all orders and get them printed and distributed.
  4. It's helpful to keep all your membership information in one place, whether that's a spreadsheet, an online system or even a paper file. Ask new members to provide the information you need straight away, and make sure the choir knows that if they change their phone number or email address, you need to know. Don't forget to remove the details of members who have left the choir. If you notice someone hasn't attended for a while, a polite email asking if they plan to return will help you keep on top of current membership. This is particularly important if numbers are limited and you have people on a waiting list.
  5. If your choir is proving very popular and bursting at the seams, a waiting list is a great idea as it helps you to feel in control of numbers without having to turn people away with no option to join the choir in the future. A waiting list also encourages existing members to value their place in the choir and attend regularly. If you do have a waiting list, make sure you keep in touch with those on it and update them on the situation even if you're not yet able to offer them a place.
Different choirs will suit different ways of working, but the central messsage is that a few simple systems can help you to stay on top of the admin and spend as much of your time as possible on the creative side of your choir.
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