Have you been selected to serve on a high school reunion committee? Are you excited or reluctant? Class Reunions require a large commitment of both time and energy on the part of committee members. I recently served in the capacity of public relations and media relations for my 25th High School Reunion Committee. Today’s communications can be made much easier than just a few years ago, thanks to social networking sites and email. Ours was a success, and it was due to the hardworking committee. Here are a few tips I learned along the way.
Assemble the Committee
You will need a committee of at least ten people but less than twenty. Encourage former classmates from out of town to be involved, yet still within driving distance to attend the meetings. You will need one person to be the facilitator for the event. This person will initiate emails, keep track of all the other committee members, and step in if problems should arise. This person should not be in charge of a particular area'”overseeing and acting as a liaison between committee members is responsibility enough. This should be an individual not over-burdened with family responsibilities or a high pressure career that has the time to devote for six months. This person should coordinate the meetings and keep check on all the items that need to be completed at certain checkpoints.
Reunion committee members should head one specific area. Some of these include:
- Finance'”keeping track of the budget and all expenditures
- Treasurer'”making deposits and arranging for payments and disbursements
- Souvenirs and Door Prizes'”arranging for donations from local businesses
- Classmate Locator'”this committee member is invaluable, and will require assistance from all committee members. Locating classmates is the hardest part of class reunions.
- Public Relations and Media'”takes photos and places announcements in local newspapers, sets up Facebook Reunion Groups, and generally broadcasts the event in every venue possible.
- Website'”this is something that every class reunion needs, in order to keep in touch, track who is coming, and be a general solid location of all information
- Decorations'”this will include the design and decorating of the tables
- Memorabilia Table'”gather items to display from high school days, including photographs, memory books, football jerseys, marching band hats, etc.
- Event Chairperson for each event'”if you plan to have more than one event around your reunion, such as a family picnic and a dinner dance, then you need a chair for each activity
- Vendor Liaison'”this person would reserve a band or DJ, reserve facilities, secure a photographer
- Nametags'”this person will have to coordinate closely with the website master to keep running track of who is coming and who is not. Our committee member actually scanned in our high school Senior photos and created nametags.
- Secretary'”takes notes of all discussions and suggestions or concerns.
- Program'”keep track of everything and leave no one out
Four-Six Months Before (First Meeting)
Your first meeting should take place ideally six months before the event.
- Confirm event location(s)
- Set budget
- Set ticket price
- Create and send out first mailing
- Send out email requesting biographies and photographs
- Choose photographer
- Plan extra events, such as a family picnic, homecoming game attendance, or a social mixer the night before the event
- Open bank account
Three Months Before
- Create and order mementos and souvenirs
- Plan nametags
- Create tickets and acknowledgement postcards or emails
- Organize personal histories, photographs, videos for reunion displays or programs
- Make phone calls and send emails to unresponsive alumni
- Update mailing lists and email lists
- Create a list of special invitees, such as former teachers or principals, band directors or coaches
- Create and send out the second mailer or email
Two Months Before
- Plan decorations for all events
- Plan program
- Set color schemes
- Review telephone activities to contact classmates
- Order souvenirs and mementoes
- Have each committee chair recruit his or her own volunteers for his or her particular area
- Recruit greeters and registration workers for the event
- Send out third reminder postcard or email
- Create nametags
- Plan photo collage, power point or video for the event
- Plan banners to hang at the event or events
One Month Before
- Work on finalizing any loose ends
- Deliver any deposits required
- Create table centerpieces
- Update email and mail lists
- Create program notes and announcements
- Make phone calls'”everyone needs to bring a fully charged cell phone to this meeting!
- Finish nametags
- Send out fourth reminder notices or emails
- Choose award categories for the event
- Choose preliminary events
- Make sure hotel and other information is on the class website
- Create signs for strategic locations at the event sites
Three Weeks Before
- Mail tickets
- Check and verify everything at every event location
- Make a list of every important number and fact for every committee member
- Send reminder notices to volunteers for the event, such as greeters
- Check table centerpieces and any other decorations
- Banners complete
- Verify attendance of special invited guests
- Double check with the photographer, DJ and other vendors
- Collect all door prizes and souvenirs
One Week Before
- Prepare final list of attendees
- Create and put together registration packets'”nametags, handouts, etc.
- Finish and print any signs needed
- Give final head count to caterer and event location
- Go over room set up with event location manager
- Develop a contingency plan, just in case something was to go awry
Day of Event
- Deliver all items to event locations
- Set up tables and decorations
- Have a great time, knowing you have organized a successful event