WHAT IS TFT?
Tickets For Troops is a military charity founded in 2009 that solicits ticket donations for a variety of music, theatre, sporting and cultural events and then distributes them to service personnel so that they can enjoy a little bit of quality time with their loved ones when they aren’t busy selflessly deployed on exercise, operations or other duties.
WHO IS IT FOR?
All regular and reserve personnel currently serving in the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force and anyone who has been medically discharged or war widowed since 2001.
HOW DO YOU JOIN?
Eligible personnel create a free membership account online at ticketsfortroops.org.uk and then have instant access to hundreds of free event tickets around the country.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Members get tickets via the TFT website. The ticket offerings update daily and it is usual to have in the region of 120 different events available each week. Over 90% of events are allocated on a first come, first served basis. The remainder are generally special, high value, tickets that are allocated via ballot. Members are entitled to enter as many ballots as they like but, if successful with a ballot draw, will not be able to enter another one for 12 months.
WHAT DO I GET?
Members get access to all of the tickets available on the Tickets For Troops website. Tickets For Troops relies upon the generosity of donors and so the variety and location of events will vary from week to week. To make it as fair as possible members cannot enter ballots for a period of 12 months once they have won one and members are asked to take no more than 10 first come, first served tickets each year. This way there should be enough for everyone who wants something.
DO I HAVE TO PAY ANYTHING?
All the tickets are complimentary, TFT cannot accept discounted tickets. Members will be charged a small transaction fee, (currently £3.50) per booking (not ticket), which quite simply goes directly towards the charity’s administrative overheads.
HOW DO I KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON?
There are a few ways to keep in touch with what is on offer. The website ticketsfortroops.org.uk is where all the tickets are listed along with news, links to social media and everything else there is to know about TFT. TFT has recently launched a notification app which notifies members of the types of events that they would like to be alerted of by their smart phone. A weekly newsletter highlighting selected events is emailed to all members who have opted to receive internal communications and TFT uses social media to promote the events too.
HOW BIG IS THE TFT TEAM?
TFT is a pretty small team that works on quality rather than quantity! We have 4 full time members, one of these is usually an intern, and one part time member. A huge amount of work gets done by these few people: finding new donors, building and maintaining these relationships, managing membership, answer membership queries, dealing with unfortunate breaches of membership T&Cs, drawing ballots, manually recording and sending out sometimes literally thousands of tickets each week and much more.
DO YOU HAVE ANY VOLUNTEERS?
Since July 2016 TFT has recruited a small number of Regional Ambassadors who are volunteers tasked with finding new donors in their own regions. Most, if not all, the ambassadors have served in the Regular or Reserve and have been, or are, TFT members. The programme has been very positive and also made volunteers realise how tricky it can be to find new donors!
WHO DONATES THE TICKETS?
The donors may be promoters, marketing departments, production companies, venue owners, event organisers, box offices or anyone who has some tickets that it is within their authority to donate to TFT. We have some regular donors that have been giving since 2009 and the TFT team also actively researches and contacts prospective new donors in the hope that they will want to develop a relationship with TFT.
WHAT DO THE DONORS GET?
All donors are offered free promotion in return for their ticket donations. TFT has over 200,000 social media followers and distributes weekly internal communication to over 56,000 of its members and so donors really do appreciate this promotional reach. Some donors opt out of promotion and this is usually because they want to get seats filled without drawing attention to this, (TFT can sometimes be given thousands of tickets for venues such as the O2).
WHY CAN’T VETERANS AND CADETS JOIN?
With hundreds of thousands of veterans around the country TFT simply wouldn’t ever have enough tickets. The charity’s key focus is about giving serving troops quality time with their loved ones when they aren’t deployed during their time in service. If a veteran contacts TFT then they are signposted to other services such as the Defence Discount Service. Cadets and cadet instructors are part of an MOD sponsored organisation and not part of the Armed Forces.
WHO ARE THE BOARD MEMBERS AND PATRONS?
A full list of Board members and Patrons can be found on the TFT website: ticketsfortroops.org.uk/about-us.aspx
ARE THERE ANY T&CS?
Yes, TFT has some terms and conditions that are rigorously enforced to ensure that both members and donors are protected and that tickets are fairly allocated and used. Donors are less likely to repeat their giving if tickets are not used, attempted to be sold on, or passed on to friends and family without the service person for whom they were intended being present at the event. Full T&Cs can be viewed here: ticketsfortroops.org.uk/terms-and-conditions.aspx