Many class reunion planners just reside to the fact that they can only plan a few things in order to keep the class reunion affordable.
This, however, is far from the truth.
There are other ways to make the class reunion affordable
With a little bit of creativity and effort, almost every fundraising committee can raise significant funds to help support additional activities and entertainment.
The result will be increased attendance, and a better experience for everyone that attends.
In this article, we are going to go over how to get the fundraising efforts started and go over some specific fundraising activities that have proven very successful for other class reunions.
Let’s start by going over some simple rules for class reunion fundraising.
- Plan ahead
- Create a goal
- Have lots of volunteers
- Plan to have many small fundraisers
The most important factor in raising class reunion funds is time. The more time you have, the more funds you can raise. When setting up committees for a class reunion, create a fundraising committee comprised of at least three people that have some experience in raising funds.
Have them put together a detailed plan of action that specifies the goal of the committee, the number of volunteers needed and the number of fundraisers that will be required to get to the goal. Once the plan is approved by the reunion chairperson, put the plan to action as soon as possible.
Create A Goal
Create a target amount that you want to reach by the end of all the fundraisers. Without a goal, it’s easy to lose direction and your fundraising efforts will go kaput. Provide a sense of purpose like “We would like to raise enough money that we can pay for everyone’s activities”. It sounds ambitious but without a goal, there is nothing to aim for.
Recruit A Lot of Volunteers
Having a lot of volunteers is important. Every member of the planning committee should help recruit volunteers for the fund raising committee.
You need people who will host car washes, and bake sales in their home towns. You will also need people who are willing to create crafts that can be auctioned off online (Ebay) or sold at the flea market. Others may be recruited to host Bingo in their local towns where half the money goes to the winner and the other half goes to the class reunion fundraising effort.
One way to keep the volunteers motivated is to provide an incentive. Offer something simple like “If you raise over $1000 in funds, your hotel room and reunion registration will be free”. An incentive like that will encourage many to volunteer their time and will also keep them on target.
Have Many Fundraisers?
Many class reunions plan just one big fundraiser hoping to make up most of their shortfall. This, however, is a mistake. It is better to host dozens of small fundraisers hosted by different volunteers in cities that folks already live in. Planning for and hosting a car wash fundraiser across three or four cities where attendees currently live is far more effective in raising more money than one single person trying to plan a large event.
The trick is to coordinate the folks doing the events so they can learn from each other’s experiences. Have a monthly meeting for volunteers where everyone can go over how much was raised and share some best practices for others that are planning the same event in their city.
How To Raise Money For A Class Reunion
Sell Ad Space Online And In Your Memory Book
There is a lot of real estate on your class reunion website and you have a large amount of page views so why not sell some ads on it. Get some volunteers to sell to local insurance agents, real estate brokers or any restaurants that might be interested in spending $100 for small business card sized ad. Many businesses want to be seen promoting the community and will gladly put up a small amount to be “seen”.
Another business you can solicit is the hotel where you reserved a block of hotel rooms for out of town guests. Since they are getting your business, you should ask for them to support your class reunion by buying a spot on the website. Most hotels won’t put up much resistance and will do it out of good faith.
Sell ads in your class reunion memory book. Have local businesses put up ads congratulating the class on the reunion. Encourage them to place a coupon or offer just for class reunion members and their families. Most small business owners like pizza places or the local deli won’t balk at a small ad buy so it’s worth asking.
Asking for donations does not have to be painful. Many people make the mistake of just asking for money and that is where they go wrong. Most people do not like to part with money but they do not mind giving their time. So ask people to donate goods and services instead. If there is someone who makes incredible hand-made ornaments, ask for a donated item. If someone is a plumber, then ask then to donate a block of time.
Once you have a list of things that folks want to donate, then either auction them off online or locally at a flea market.
Another way to get someone to donate something is to get them to sponsor an entire event. If you have a well to do classmate, ask him/her to see if they would like to donate enough to cover an activity or event at the class reunion. For their generosity, you will gladly put up several banners recognizing their contribution.
Car Washes, Bake Sales, Garage Sales
There are so many different ways that you can hold a fundraiser nowadays. You can sell Pizza cards or host tournaments at local community centers to help your cause. Here are some ideas that will get you started.
- Ideally, have volunteers in different cities hold a bingo tournament at their local VFW, Church or community center. The winner of the bingo tournament gets to keep 50% of the proceeds and the rest goes to the class reunion.
- With the popularity of Poker, why not host a fundraising tournament where the winner walks away with a cruise to the Bahamas and everything over this amount is for the class reunion.
- How about setting up a local soccer tournament in your area? Talk to the coaches of the top four teams in the area and have a tournament. You can raise funds from the entrance fee and from the sale of food/drinks.
- Lastly, you can also hold something like a pumpkin sale a few weeks before Halloween. Just take a large amount of pumpkins (On consignment) from a local farm and set up shop outside the local church. Put up a big sign that the sale of the pumpkins will help your class reunion. As most people are going to be buying pumpkins anyways, many will stop by and gladly purchase one. Pay the farmer a wholesale price for what you sold and keep the rest for the class reunion
Raising funds for a class reunion need not be hard. All you need is some creative folks to plan, organize and execute the fundraising. Done properly, your fundraising efforts will yield an affordable class reunion with some great activities, entertainment, and food choices.
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