A successful class reunion is the culmination in large part to the efforts of its volunteers, particularly the planning committee.
It is these folks that generously give up their time, and put forth the effort to help everyone else catch up with a past gone by.
In doing so, they help create new memories, forge new friendships, and even rekindle an old romance.
In this article, we will be going over:
- Who should be on the class reunion planning committee,
- How many people should be involved,
- When should the committee start planning,
- And how often they should meet
Let’s start with the first one.
Who Should Be On The Class Reunion Planning Committee?
Selecting committee members is an important and time consuming task and should be done knowing that the success of the class reunion will depend on them.
Historically, class officers, student body presidents, and even the homecoming king and queen make great committee members. However, any person in your graduating class will do so long as you they are willing to commit to the time and energy it requires.
Many planners start by asking friends that they have kept in touch with to help get things started. Others are using Facebook groups, and email blasts to try and recruit friends.
In today’s world, the physical location of a volunteer does not necessarily create a hindrance. With videoconferencing and meeting software, any group can meet online and discuss their progress.
How Many People Should Be On The Class Reunion Committee?
The answer to that question depends on how long it has been since your graduation and how many people you expect to attend. As a general rule, we would say that you should have at least one person for every 25 people that you are expecting to attend. If this number results in too many people, then reassign a few to less intense tasks. Having more than you need is a good problem to have.
When Should The Class Reunion Committee Start Planning?
You should start planning the class reunion as early as possible. Remember that class reunions with high attendance numbers are organized at least a year or more out. Giving people that much notice lets them plan their vacation time and budget so they can travel to the class reunion.
Also, by planning ahead, you will get better pricing from vendors.
For example, hotel rates go up as the date of arrival nears so the later you book rooms for a class reunion, the more you can expect to pay. Planning ahead and getting group rates for hotels near your school would result in at least a twenty (20) percent savings. To learn more, read “Need a hotel for a class reunion?”
How Often Should The Class Reunion Planning Committee Meet?
If you are beginning to plan only a few months ahead of the actual class reunion, then you need to meet a few times a month. If you have planned ahead and have more than a year before the class reunion, then you can meet as often as needed provided that everyone is getting their work done.
Also, instead of having a full scale meeting, you can opt to have smaller meetings online. Just do a Google Hangout (Free), or use software like GoToMeeting.com ($$) to meet online. It’s simple to plan an online meeting and the results can be just as good.
Spread The Responsibilities
One of the advantages of having a lot of people on the committee is that you can spread the responsibilities amongst everyone. No one person should have to shoulder a larger burden than someone else. Set up different committees with two or three people in each. To get some ideas, read “Common Class Reunion Committees”.
Define The Responsibilities
In order for the committee to succeed, each individual on it should have a detailed list of responsibilities for their subcommittee. Without this direction, everyone goes at their own pace and nothing gets organized in a timely manner, if at all.
At the very first class reunion planning meeting, the leader of the committee should assign responsibilities and expectations. By the second meeting, a detailed list of tasks should be created with due dates and checklists.
Keep Your Class Reunion Committee Diverse
Select committee members from diverse backgrounds. Doing so will provide alternate points of view, ideas, and solutions. Make an extra effort to include people from different nationalities and religions. Having them on the planning team will help people from their communities identify with the reunion group.
Have a Goal In Mind
Organizing a class reunion with loosely defined goals is like chartering a ship with a broken rudder. From the very first meeting, you should define what the goal of the reunion should be. Ours was to increase class reunion attendance. We wanted more people to attend the upcoming class reunion than the last one and we would do everything in our power to make that happen. If we could just get one additional person to attend, it would be considered a success.
By setting this goal, it became clear to the reunion committee and to the attendees that we were very serious about our attendance numbers.
Recruit Go-Getters and Idea Mensh’s
Go-getters are the folks that get things done well in advance of the due date. When planning something as intense as a class reunion, you do not want to be bogged down by a procrastinator. Try to recruit only those that you feel are strong willed and are able to get things done.
In addition to doers, you also need idea types to help you solve problems that require creativity. When looking for classmates to help, select the person that asks a lot of questions.
Select The Right Leader
If you are not comfortable leading the team, then you need to help find the right person to take the reins. The reunion chairperson (aka reunion chair) is responsible for
- Providing leadership,
- Coordinate and assign committees,
- Act as a liaison between the school and the planning committee,
- Follow-up with committee members,
- Keep things under budget,
- Set planning committee meeting agenda
- Oversee fundraising
- Generate ideas to promote event, and find more classmates
- Set the goals
- For more information, read “Class Reunion Chair Responsibilities”
- Recruit A Member From A Previous Class
Try to recruit a planning committee member from another class to help you plan your class reunion. This person, having already planned a class reunion, will provide helpful tips, ideas, and solutions to common problems.
The ideas above will help you select an effective team to plan a great class reunion. You’ll know you have the right team when everyone is contributing and the planning does not feel like work. Finally, remember that it’s a long road ahead so have fun while planning.