Questions you may be asking yourself are:
- When should you send out the save the date cards?
- Are there any templates available that will save you time (Hint: Yes, you can Download Class Reunion Templates here for free)
- Should you set up a website right away or can it wait?
The questions above and many more will begin to spring up once you have taken on the responsibility of the communications committee for the class reunion. The tasks may seem daunting at first, but with a little organization they can be overcome by having a communications schedule.
What Is A Communications Schedule?
It is a timeline of what your committee needs to do when. Simply put, it is a checklist of sorts that guides your communications with classmates to ensure that everyone knows what they need to know.
While the exact timeline may not match, it will impress upon you the need for a scheduled release of emails, forms, and information of the website.
So Where Should You Start?
The initial problem of any class reunion planning committee is to inform classmates about the reunion. In order to get the word out as quickly as possible, use avenues that will give you the biggest bang for the buck. Two such suggestions are creating a Class Reunion Website and a Facebook Group.
Initially, concentrate on setting up a Facebook group and inviting former classmates to join. Encourage every member of the planning committee to do the same. Facebook is much like a web that connects everyone. By getting a few friends to join, others in your graduating class will start joining on their own based on everyone’s connections.
While setting up a Facebook page is great, it does not offer the flexibility of a class reunion website. Set one up ahead of announcing the class reunion and make sure that you have information on there that your classmates are going to be looking for. To learn more, read the article on what Information To Have On A Class Reunion Website.
Once you have setup a method to find and communicate with classmates, it is time to create a communications schedule.
12-18 months before class reunion
Send out Class Reunion Save The Date Cards. These should be sent out as soon as the date and location is finalized at your first class reunion planning meeting.
Email the cards as it is cost-effective. Most classmates already have e-mail accounts and many expect invitations by e-mail. In the email, make sure to include information about accommodations for classmates that are coming from out of town. Giving them this information ahead of time will let them make their travel arrangements when they want to. Read “How To Reserve Hotel Rooms For A Class Reunion”.
6-12 months before class reunion
Send out an invitation letter with detailed plans about the class reunion including tentative agenda, and hotel room block information. In addition to including the cost, direct people to the class reunion website where they should be able to register and pay online.Read “The Secrets to Creating Awesome Class Reunion Invitations“.
Make sure to include a deadline for RSVP so that you have counts for meals and hotel rooms. While this may or may not be an option for you, having early bird pricing encourages many to register right away.
A month or so after sending out the invitation, send out another e-mail with a link to the registration page on the class reunion website. Title the email “Registration Open. Come One. Come ALL”.
Make sure your website has the capability to provide easy registration experience and accepts common payment methods like credit cards. Read “How To Create An Awesome Class Reunion Registration Form”
3-6 months before class reunion
Send out regular reminders that everyone has to register before the deadline or else they will not be able to attend the class reunion. At this point, anyone that has not registered should be contacted by telephone. The act of talking to your classmates may turn a few more “on the fence” types into registered attendees.
Once registration for the majority of classmates is done, send out a class reunion questionnaire (also known as a Memory Book Questionnaire). This form can be included as an attachment in an e-mail or posted online. It should include questions about people’s past, their accomplishments, their family information, and any other relevant details.
Use this information to create the class reunion slideshow and the memory books.
One month before class reunion
Send out a final reminder to those that have not registered. Also send a separate e-mail asking for pictures and memorabilia from registered guests so you can include them in the slideshow or presentation at the class reunion banquet.
Before and after pictures make for great laughs during the class reunion and encouraging people to send them in will prove to be a great move.
One month after the class reunion
Within the first month after the class reunion, send out a thank you note to all the attendees and a “missed you” e-mail to those that didn’t. Include a recap of the class reunion on the website and provide a link to it in your e-mail.
Also, send out a Post Class Reunion Survey to find out what everyone thought of the event. The feedback you receive will be invaluable for when you or anyone else plans the next reunion. A copy of the results should be turned into the alumni office for their records.
Some Final Tips
In every communications piece, there are certain things that have to be included:
- A list of classmates that have not been located is crucial and should be included as an attachment to any email.
- Include a direct link to the class reunion registration page or the website in all emails. In doing so, you are sending a constant reminder that registration can be on the website. End every email with this “P.S. Did you know know that you can register for the class reunion online? It is simple and easy. Early bird pricing ends soon!”
- Before sending anything, make sure to have it read several times to catch any grammatical, spelling or factual errors.
While the timeline above is obviously an approximation, the order in which things are sent is not. Following the above schedule will keep your communications organized and your classmates informed. The result of a good communications strategy will show with an increase in your class reunion attendance.
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