“The credit card came back declined. Would you have another?”
Embarrassment and anger both come to mind when you hear these words.
Imagine spending months planning the class reunion dinner and one week before the event, you find yourself at the caterers clutching a card that won’t go through.
Your worst nightmare has come true. The class reunion has run out of money.
This Would Have Never Happened If We Had A Budget
The scenario above has happened and will continue to happen to many class reunions that fail to plan with finances in mind. Having a finance committee provide monetary direction, independent of the reunion chair, is extremely important to the financial well being of the event.
The primary job of the finance committee is to create a class reunion budget. Their jobs are pivotal and their responsibilities are such that if they don’t do their job correctly, the entire event can be in jeopardy.
The following are the most important responsibilities of the class reunion finance committee:
- Set up budget
- Estimate total cost of the class reunion
- Figure out the per person cost
- Estimate the registration fee
- Set up bank account
- Pay vendor bills and deposits
- Deposit registration checks, fundraising proceeds etc
Set Up Budget
Setting up a budget is not as difficult as it sounds. If you want to learn how to create one, read “How To Create a Class Reunion Budget”.
Grab Some Resources
In order to make things even easier, we have created a sample budget with the most common expenses already included. All you have to do is fill in the estimated numbers for your class reunion.
The important thing to realize when setting up a budget is that the class reunion needs to run like a business.
Run the class reunion like a business
Expenses need to be controlled and revenues have to be brought in to cover those costs.
When estimating expenses, consider the economic levels of your attendees. If most of your classmates are blue collar working types, then setting up an expensive high end event at a local museum is probably not going to attract a lot of people.
Keeping the costs down will also keep the registration fees down. The lower the registration fee, the more people will attend. If you budget each activity and stay under it, you will more than likely incur a surplus that can be donated to the school or used for a future class reunion.
Let the budget be your warning, instead of your pitfall
Lastly, maintaining a budget will serve its ultimate purpose: It will provide an advance warning that money will need to be raised.
As expenses get realized, the budget will get fine tuned enough that you will begin to see any shortfalls that may occur. Perhaps you are not getting the attendance you were expecting so the revenues are lower. Or maybe the food costs have gone up and now your budget has no room for error.
Regardless of the issue, a budget will be your first indicator of financial trouble. And your first hint that something needs to be done about it.
Once a budget is in place, the finance committee can look at the cost per person.
Figure Out The Total Cost Of The Class Reunion
In order to create a budget, get estimated expenses for every item or event that has a cost associated with it. For example, if you are blocking hotel rooms for out of town guests, you will need to place a deposit. In order to get a dollar figure for the deposit, the person responsible for selecting the hotel will have to get group hotel rates and deposit amounts from multiple hotels.
Add up all the estimated expenses for every item on the budget and you have a total cost for the entire class reunion.
Figure Out The Per Person Cost And The Registration Fee
The per person cost of a class reunion is just as simple to figure out once you have a budget. Just take the Expense and minus out any income (Donations, Class Reunion Fund etc.) and divide the result by the number of classmates you expect to attend (Estimate about 20% of your class to attend).
[Total Expenses – Total Income] / Number of classmates =Cost per person for class reunion
Why is this number so important? Because it tells you what you need to charge as a registration fee. For more information, read “What is the per person cost for a class reunion“.
Set Up Bank Account To Pay Bills, Make Deposits
The finance committee (aka Treasurer) is also responsible for opening a class reunion bank account so they can pay vendor bills, reimburse committee members, and accept checks for the registration fee.
Keep in mind that when a bank account is being opened, it should have at least two people as approved signatures on the account. The treasurer and the reunion chair are generally the ones that are responsible for this.
Maintain Adequate Cash Flow
Not every expense is incurred all at once. For example, the deposit for a hotel room block may be due at the time of contracting but the trinkets don’t need to be paid for till a month before the actual event. The class reunion finance committee should set up a schedule of what expense is due when so they have a clear understanding of their cash flow needs.
Just because the reunion is going to cost a total of XX dollars does not mean that this exact amount has to be in the bank at all times. Predicting the cash flow is an easy way to ensure that the bank account has the necessary funding to cover only the expenses that are due within the next month or two.
A successful class reunion depends on sound financial planning right from the start. By creating a budget, and planning their cash flow, the finance committee will deliver what is expected of them the most. Peace of mind when paying with the class reunion debit card.
What should you do next?
Read our article on how to make your class reunion more affordable.