A Class Gift is a fundraiser conducted by the class reunion planning committee on behalf of the school.
The funds raised through classmate pledges can be used towards scholarships, endowments, or even as a donation to the school for it’s purposes.
The gift is presented from the class and represents everyone as a whole, though large donations are sometimes individually acknowledged.
In order to raise a meaningful amount for the class reunion gift fund, this class reunion gift committee must coordinate an effective and meaningful campaign right from the beginning
What Are The Responsibilities Of The Class Gift Committee
Once you have identified a goal, its time to get to work. Here is what needs to be done:
- Send out an email/letter to all classmates identifying the class gift goals and asking for donations (more on this later in the article).
- Decide on a scholarship or need that can be met by the class gift (A new student lounge? Or set up a Scholarship for the disadvantaged?). If you need help deciding on a cause to support, put up a poll on the Class Reunion Website and let your classmates decide.
- Mention how much has been raised in a monthly email and how much more is needed
- Call individual classmates who can make large donations
- Send out class gift reminders in all communications (Email, snail mail)
- Create a page on the class reunion website outlining the goals and what the funds will be used for.
- Set up a fundraising hour at the banquet to raise funds at the class reunion
How To Set The Goal
The alumni office can tell you how much previous class reunions were able to raise for their class gift. Knowing the average will help you target a goal for your class reunion.
The alumni office is also a great resource for ideas and inspiration. They have helped dozens of class reunions and would be able to provide ideas on the most effective fund raising campaigns.
They can also provide some terrific letter templates to use on your website, or in your newsletters to make classmates aware of the class gift.
How Do I Spread The Word?
Use every available resource to communicate with classmates. Send out emails, answer questions on the website message boards etc. When creating any kind of written piece, use the following rules:
Use longer copy
The longer the class gift letter, the better. As is the rule with traditional sales letters, a donation letter will get a better response with longer copy. Make it at least a two page plea that tells the readers about the benefits of their generosity.
Ask for larger donations
Give them an idea of how much is needed and also how much to give. Ask for larger numbers followed by pleas for smaller amounts. Suggested donations should always be for large numbers. Below a certain dollar amount, use the words “Other”.
Make it easy to donate
As an example, include a prepaid envelope in the letter. This way, once they have filled out the check, they are not looking for envelopes or postage. All they have to do is drop it in the mail.
Create a sense of urgency
Writing something like “We need the funds today so we can purchase the computers, furniture and equipment and install everything before the class reunion”.
Sample Template Of An Email You Can Use
If you are looking to send out an email to potential donors for your class gift, here is some sample wording that can be used:
It is hard to believe but it has been [XX] number of years since we walked the halls of [Name of school]. As I walk those same hallways, I see students that are no different than we were. While they may look different, they share the same spirit, both academically and athletically.
Unfortunately, there are some things that have not changed. The computer room in our school is in dire need of an upgrade. From the furniture to the light fixtures, the computers to the routers, they all have to be changed. The students attending [insert name of school] need our help.
As part of our class reunion, we are asking for donations for a class gift so that we can help upgrade the computer room. It is my hope that we can completely revamp the area so current students benefit from it. How big an upgrade depends on the your donations so give generously. Our goal is $30,000 and while that sum seems insurmountable, it is similar to what previous class reunions have been able to raise.
We hope to see you at the class reunion this fall. Please consider donating what you can, even if you don’t plan on attending. It is my hope that we can come together as a class and help the school where we all got our start.
Please donate any of the following amounts:
$10,000 ____ $7500 _____ $5,000 _____ $2500 _____ $1000 ______ $500 _____ Other ______
Please make checks out to [insert name] and mail to:
Organizing a class gift does not require an advanced degree in event planning. It simply requires hard work, perseverance, and a dogged desire to achieve the goal. Following the above tips will help you accomplish your goal of raising funds and will provide the satisfaction of knowing that you made a difference.
What should you do next?
Read our class reunion planning guide to get some more great ideas on organizing a great event.