Budget & Finance
The most important aspect of planning a reunion is the budget. Your budget should include every expense you can think of, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem. Allow some extra money in the budget for unexpected expenses that you may come across. The budget will have a big impact on the location and type of reunion you will have. The person who is responsible for the budget must be strict and account for every penny spent. It is a good idea to set up a separate reunion bank account for tracking all expenses.
There is not as much planning and work involved with a one-day event, but a weekend reunion allows plenty of time to visit with everyone and bond through activities and outings. If it’s a Saturday cookout in the park, will you ask everyone to bring food to share? This is a less expensive option than having a catered meal, but sometimes part of the fun is in the cooking and interaction while preparing.
You don’t want to plan a reunion that no one can afford to attend. To determine the cost per person, divide the final cost by the number of members attending. This is the price per member. You might want to give a discount for seniors and/or small children for a family reunion example, but remember to recalculate, because doing so would alter the price per person for everyone else. Make sure you specify exactly what is and is not included in the “ticket price” or price per person when you send out invitations. It would be embarrassing if someone arrived expecting their hotel room to be covered by their “ticket price” when this was intended to be an additional cost.
Always set a deadline sometime in advance for at least a percentage of the “ticket price.” You will need some money for advance deposits and fees to reserve different aspects of the reunion that you’ve planned. Also, if you collect some or all of the money up front, people are less likely to cancel at the last minute, leaving you with food and other amenities that you didn’t need.
To defray the costs of the reunion and keep “ticket prices” down, employ some fun ways to raise money, including having auctions and raffles. Some auction ideas could include handmade crafts, family heirlooms for a family reunion, baked goods for school reunions, or white elephant gifts. This is a fun way to get everyone together to support a good cause—your togetherness! For the raffle, sell tickets for items that many members would enjoy having or giving as a gift. Some ideas include handmade crafts for a church reunion, professionally framed family trees for a family reunion, coolers or wine totes for an alumni reunion, concert tickets for a sorority reunion, etc. Sell tickets for a few dollars each, and hold the drawing at the end of the reunion. This way, you can drum up some friendly competition and sell more tickets, earning enough to pay for the items as well as make a profit towards your other reunion expenses.
Another option for creating profit for the reunion is to sell memorabilia at the reunion. Selling slightly marked up college t-shirts, sorority tote bags, sports hats, etc. will provide members with a memento that can also be passed down through the family or group. Make sure to put the date of the reunion on the items, and create a different design for each gathering, so that your demand will stay high for these items year after year!