By Mac McCarthy, Zenergo.com
Whether you’re holding it for your family, for your high school or college class, for your event alumni, for a company a military unit, reunions can be very special events that bring back great memories, reunite friends of the past, and acknowledge the contributions and successes of colleagues.
But a great reunion takes a lot of planning and hard work to get it right. Here is an outline of key steps you’ll need to take, and things to consider.
(And Zenergo’s group, event, calendar, and photo sharing features can be there to help!)
Start One Year Before the Likely Date
You’ll need the time for several reasons. The venue where you’re holding the event needs advance notice, and you want to get your bid in before someone else grabs the best weekends. Planning takes time; so does gathering together the list of all the potential attendees. And those coming to the reunion from far away will appreciate the extra time.
A weekend in the late summer or early fall is generally considered the best time for class, business, and unit reunions.
Assemble a Reunion Committee.
Ideally, you’ll pull together a team of people willing to do the work, meet deadlines, and keep everyone informed. extra mile to make sure the reunion is a success. Appoint one person to set up conferences and set up meeting agendas. Appoint a second person to oversee the finances.
This will serve as communications central for the Reunion Committee. Here you have your committee contact info, your documents and photos, and reunion calendar so you can set goals for each step.
Set up Subcommittees.
Zenergo lets you set up “SubGroups” which can serve as your subcommittees – you will need a subcommittee in charge of finding and booking the venue and deciding on the date, a subcommittee to locate all the people you want to invite, a subcommittee to decide on entertainment, events, and activities; and a finance subcommittee to make the tough decisions about what to spend and what to charge.
Invite your Guests.
You can set up a reunion Event under your reunion Group on Zenergo. Import your guest contact list, then send out your invites. Guests will be able to RSVP, and you can let them post pictures and documents, and chat among themselves.
Meet with your reunion committee members regularly.
Monthly is good initially, when you’re getting everything set up and need to make sure it’s working smoothly. Meetings can be face to face, or over the Web or by conference call.
Decide on a budget.
This can take some deep thinking. What are your costs? This depends on the venue, and the cost of the dinner and other activities. How much do you need to charge to cover expenses, and how will your guests react when they find out how much tickets cost? Bear in mind guests may have added expenses to get to the venue and book hotel rooms. Now is the time to determine if it’s all affordable.
Consider holding one or more fundraisers during the year before the reunion, to help cover some of the costs and make the reunion tickets more affordable. Check to see if the alumni group of your school, or the company or organization or unit are willing to pitch in — they might want to host the reunion at their facility, which can greatly reduce your expenses.
You can maintain planning documents and budgets on your Zenergo reunion group’s site, for sharing among the committee members; taking advantage of Zenergo’s privacy controls.
Plan activities or a theme — fun ones, and
Reunions can be as simple as a dinner, or as elaborate as a weekend retreat complete with a full schedule of activities. Here are possible elements to make yours a memorable and engaging event.
- Have key people give speeches; it sets the tone for the evening.
- Invite a special or surprise guest: a favorite teacher; a classmate or colleague who’s now a celebrity.
- Give tribute to those who have passed away.
- Run a slideshow at the side of the room, and solicit photo contributions.
- Dancing can be fun; plan the kind of music your guests will enjoy.
- Take the reunion guests on a trip to visit the old school or base or headquarters or other key location. Or take the group to a local winery, or a historical site. Or to an activity such as rock climbing, hiking, a bike ride, or sailing.
- But leave the most time for free socializing; that’s the real reason you are all here.
- In addition to dinner, your reunion can include a picnic, games day, or a sports night.
- Collect yearbooks to display at the event — not just your graduation year, but for several years earlier as well. Plan to create your own Reunion memory book, assembling pictures from the reunion plus pictures of mementos, and essays or memories from the attendees. Publish using one of the custom-publishing sites.
On the day of your reunion make sure all your guests are properly registered.
That means you’ll need to assign a workgroup to man the check-in table, and consolidate the information afterwards.