Putting together a class reunion budget is one of the keys to a successful event.
Being proactive in estimating expenses, negotiating, and keeping track of costs will result in a well planned reunion that won’t run short of funds.
Creating a class reunion budget (Download Class Reunion Budget: Free Template) is a simple process and can be done by anyone that manages a household budget. Simply follow the steps below.
Tip: Getting a copy of the previous class reunions budget can come in handy as a starting point for what expenses can be expected at the event. Many school alumni offices will provide a sample budget if you ask for it.
Step 1: Estimate Attendance
Begin by estimating the number of classmates attending the reunion. This information will help when it comes to planning the dinners, hotel rooms, and mementos.
The simplest way to estimate this number is by looking at prior class reunion attendance figures (the alumni office can provide this information). Most schools average between 15-30% attendance from a graduating class and almost every classmate will bring a guest. If you have not already, then read our Class Reunion Statistics.
If you have a graduating class of 200 and are expecting 20% to show up, then you should plan for 80 people (40 expected classmates and 40 guests). The numbers above are just estimates and should be fine tuned as registrations continue to come in.
Some factors that will adversely affect your attendance are time of year (summer is better), registration fee (lower is better) and reunion milestone (50th class reunion is most popular with 40th, 25th, and 10th being not far behind).
Step 2: Identify Your Needs
Class reunions can be as simple as a dinner on a weekend or as elaborate as a full week cruise to the Bahamas. In order to begin budgeting, your committee needs to decide on the kind of class reunion being planned.
How many dinners, lunches, and activities are being organized? What kind of entertainment are they looking to provide? What about mementos, awards, website costs? Are they planning on doing fundraisers or expecting donations?
Step 3: Itemize Expenses And Get Quotes
Once the committee members have decided on the kinds of things they would like to include in the class reunion, they should go out and get estimated costs of each item. Make sure to check your list of expected expenses against the budget from previous reunions to ensure you did not miss any high ticket items.
Encourage committee members to be aggressive about negotiating costs for large items like catering and hotels. As an example, if you are blocking hotel rooms for out of town classmates, then consider getting group rates from hotels. In addition to getting discounted rates, you can also get great amenities like free hotel rooms or a free breakfast for attendees (Read: How To Get a Free Room When Booking a Hotel For a Class Reunion).
Also, when itemizing individual expenses, add an additional 5-10% in expenses under the “miscellaneous” category to account for unexpected expenses (Trust us, they will show up). Plan for contingencies so you don’t have to raise additional funds at the last moment.
Once a detailed list of costs is prepared by each committee member, they should submit it to the treasurer or the finance committee head.
Step 4: Get Income Information
While it may seem like it, a class reunion is not all expenses. There are numerous ways to raise funds to pay for a class reunion that involves selling ads and fundraising. You can learn more reading “Add More Value To Your Class Reunion With Effective Fundraising”
Step 5: Present Estimated Budget
Add your total expenses minus the income and the big negative number is the amount you need to raise from registration fees.
In order to estimate registration ticket fees, divide the total estimated cost by the number of expected attendees. The resulting number is how much you will need to charge as admission. Is it affordable?
If not, what events/activities can be cut to bring the costs lower? Can you do a potluck in the park instead of a sit down luncheon? Can you play CD’s at the class reunion dinner instead of hiring a live band?
To learn more, read “How Much Does A Class Reunion Cost Per Person“.
Step 6: Fine Tune Budget
As actual expenses occur, fine tune the budget by replacing estimated numbers with real ones. Are your expenses higher than expected? If so, what can be cut to bring costs back in line. Bring up any unexpected costs to the class reunion committee’s attention and provide a revised budget if there is going to be a shortage.
If, on the other hand, expected costs are lower, then you may find yourself in the enviable position of either adding more activities or donating the additional proceeds to the school in the way of a class gift.
After The Reunion
A final budget which includes actual expenses and income should be submitted to the class reunion chair. Submit a copy to the alumni office as well.
As you can see, creating and maintaining a class reunion budget is not hard as long as you follow the steps above. It takes up a lot of time so be ready to ask for help if you feel overwhelmed by the numbers.
What Should You Do Next?
Since we are talking about budgeting, why not read our article on “How To Make Your Class Reunion More Affordable“.