So you’ve recently decided to plan a class reunion with a few friends who are enthusiastic and filled with some great ideas.
However, your plans have come to a screeching halt when you realized just how much money was needed to get started.
Between website hosting fees, hotel room block deposits, catering deposits, gas, tolls and faxes, it is readily apparent that you are going to need additional funding to continue.
So, is there a way to raise the initial start-up costs instead of fronting all the money yourselves?
There are several sources of funds that you should consider before committing to fund the reunion with your own money. They are:
- Money left over from previous class reunion (also referred to as class fund)
- Sell Ads
- Get a well to do classmate to donate the money
- School support
- Pre-sell reunion registration tickets at discount
Let’s go over each one of these.
Money Left Over From Previous Class Reunion
There is always a small amount of overage that is left over after a class reunion. Many committees leave the balance for the planners of the next reunion so they can get a head start on planning the event. The money is generally left with the school or university alumni office. When you start planning the class reunion, it is always a good idea to check if there are any funds left over that you would be able to use.
Many colleges and high schools maintain a small fund to help class reunions get started. While you are checking to see if there is any money left over from a previous class reunion, ask if the school provides any help financially.
Why would a school provide seed money for a class reunion? Because class reunions can raise money in the form of a class gift that benefits the school itself.
Another reason that a school will fund a portion of the event is that class reunions create a sense of camaraderie and belonging to the institution. This belonging creates a stronger connection and results in a stronger group of dedicated alumni that can donate back to the school.
Sell Class Reunion Ads
While it sounds like a difficult thing to do, selling ads is actually quite simple. Many small businesses around the school will gladly pay $100 for a small ad in the reunion book, a coupon in the welcome packet or an ad on the Class Reunion Website.
In fact, it is a good idea to ask every vendor you do business with to buy a small ad in the book. For example, when we were planning a class reunion, we asked the hotel where we had a reserved hotel rooms for classmates to buy a small ad in our class reunion memory book.
Since we were already blocking hotel rooms at their establishment, they bought a full page ad for themselves at a cost of $400. After all, it’s good publicity for them and they are got our business in return.
Another group to sell ads to are your own classmates. Many still live around town and are willing to place small business cards to help support the reunion and increase exposure for themselves. Insurance agents, real estate agents and attorneys, and Doctors are all great candidates for these ads and should be called personally by a committee member.
Donation From A Well To Do Classmate
We all have a classmate that has done well for themselves financially. If you are looking for funds, try asking this person to fund the start-up costs. At most, the expense is going to be a $1000-$1500 and it should not be difficult to obtain. If you are having trouble finding a well to do classmate, then locate several professionals in the class reunion that would be willing to donate 300-$400 each instead.
Asking for donations is tough but it can be done.
For our class reunion, we needed about $2000 to get started. We identified a list of five classmates that we wanted to ask. In order to increase our chances of success, we asked a person that knew our potential candidate well so the call was not from someone they did not know.
In exchange for the donation, we offered the honorary chair position at the Saturday night banquet along with a big thank you banner at the event. The donation was secured on the very first call.
Pre-sell Registration Tickets At Discount
Need to raise money in the beginning? Then give classmates an incentive by discounting the registration fee to the first twenty that sign up. Typically, a 20-25% discount will get people to pay a year or more in advance. The proceeds from these tickets will hold you over till regular priced registration funds kick in.
As we have learned, there are many ways to raise funds when you start planning a class reunion. The methods above can be used exclusively or can be combined to get the class reunion going. Once your class reunion is done, maybe you can donate any leftover funds to the next class reunion planner.
What should you read next?
Since we’re talking about raising funds for a class reunion, read “Add More Value To Your Class Reunion With Effective Fundraising“.