Reunion Planning

 

How do you go about planning your reunion?
Here are some tips and suggestions about reunion preparation:

Tasks

There are a lot of jobs and tasks involved in planning a reunion. Here's a partial list. If you think of any I've left out, please send an E-mail to robfish@wyhs.org

  • Coordinating the entire event

  • Assembling a "Reunion Committee"

  • Developing a time table for planning the reunion

  • Taking notes at the Reunion Committee meetings

  • Obtaining current addresses

  • Putting all the names and addresses of class members in a database and making mailing labels.

  • Creating a Class website

  • Creating an E-mail list

  • Arranging for a facility to host your reunion

  • Contacting your old high school

  • Contacting hotels for special room rates

  • Creating mailers and registration forms

  • Creating a questionnaire to help make a Memory Book

  • Organizing a golf outing or other events

  • Finding a DJ or band

  • Finding a photographer.

  • Coordinating the taking of candid pictures at the reunion (classmates and spouses can take pictures)

  • Arranging for mementos/favors/souvenirs and "goodie bags"

  • Finding sponsors and/or companies to make donations

  • Finding a guest speaker

  • Arranging for a Master of Ceremonies

  • Planning ice breakers, games, and activities for the reunion

  • Fund raising

  • Collecting and banking money

  • Creating program booklets

  • Printing and assembling program booklets.

  • Creating Memory Books

  • Creating or acquiring awards for things like "traveled longest distance," "most kids (grandkids), etc.

  • Setting up Memory Tables with the display boards (everyone brings stuff, such as pictures, scrapbooks, old sweatshirts, etc. )

  • Making multimedia presentation of class memories and past reunions

  • Calling classmates to encourage them to attend the reunion

  • Publicity. Calling local newspapers and write up articles for any papers that will take them. Don't forget the cable companies, and the online alumni sites.

  • Arranging for centerpieces and decorations.

  • Making name tags

  • Arranging for decorations

  • Getting "Thank You" gift for reunion coordinator

  • Greeting guests at the door and checking them in.

  • Acting as liaison with the facility during the reunion

  • Sending out thank-you notes to contributors and sponsors

  • Doing a follow-up survey of classmates

  • Distributing photos and Memory Books

  • Putting reunion photos on the web site

  • Making a class reunion video

  • Deciding who will work on the next reunion

  • Distributing a class newsletter every six months or so.

Name Tag Ideas

  • Use different colored name tags for class members and spouses/guests to make it easy to tell who is who. For the spouses/guests, you might consider having their name on the name tag, along with "spouse of ________" or "guest of ____________" (fill in the blank with your classmate's name)

  • Have extra "blank" name tags printed so you can use an indelible marker to write in the names of last-minute arrivals

  • As we get older, it gets hard to see small print. Make sure the names (especially the first name) on your name tags are big enough to be seen from a distance. Many name tags have the first name printed much larger than the last name.

  • Use name tags with magnetic fasteners instead of safety pin fasteners or clip fastener

  • Put copies of senior pictures on the name tags

Potential Problem Areas

  • Most reunions have someone show up after the meal is served, expecting to get in for free. On your registration form, make it clear that classmates are welcome to join you after the meal, but they will need to pay their share of the reunion costs. Determine that amount by subtracting most of the price of the meal from the normal ticket price.

  • Make it clear in all your contacts with your classmates that there is a date that you will be ordering souvenirs, and that the budget does not allow any/many spare souvenirs. Spares will be first come, first serve to latecomers. They are welcome to pay late (and late fee), even at the door, but they may receive less goodies.

  • Folks interested in complaining or offering constructive criticism after the reunion should first fill out an "I volunteer to help with the next reunion" form.

Registration

  • Give folks an opportunity to register (and pay) early, with a reduction in the registration price as an incentive. Folks who register during the "regular" registration period pay the "regular" fee, and folks who register after the registration deadline get to pay a higher fee.

  • Several different sources estimate that from 10% to 25% of a class will attend a typical reunion, and many of those will wait until the very last minute to sign up. This last minute sign-up may cause problems with your banquet hall or caterer. One strategy is to increase everyone's fee by a small amount and then use the additional money to order several extra dinners when you submit your final count. Then if several people show up at the last minute, it is no problem to add them. You may want to charge an added premium for the last minute registration.

  • Make the actual registration process as simple and quick as possible. If your registration process includes an "about you" questionnaire, many folks may set it aside until "later" instead of just writing a check and registering. If you're going to ask your classmates for additional information (like biographical information), consider doing a completely separate mailing so that if your biographical questionnaire gets set aside until "later," you've still got their name, address, phone number, the name(s) of the folks who will be attending, and their check.

No matter what you decide to do, there are going to be folks who don't like it...and won't have any qualms at all about telling you how it should have been done.

My preference for deciding reunion activities is to ask some folks in the class what they'd like to do, maybe even do a survey. Then after you get all the ideas, you sit down with the reunion committee (the folks who will actually do all the work), and decide what you want to do.

Let's say you had 303 people in your graduating class and there are 4 people on your reunion committee. If 300 of your classmates say they want a formal sit-down dinner, but 3 of the 4 folks on your reunion committee want to take over the back 6 tables at your local Denny's, then you either have the reunion at Denny's or get some of the other folks to do the work.

Reunion committee members should all go around humming that Ricky Nelson tune. "You can't please everyone, so you've gotta please yourself."

If you've got a suggestion or idea you'd like to share with others, please send it in an E-mail to update@wyhs.org

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