The alumni office has many objectives, but a key one is to help you plan a class reunion.
Because class reunions are vital to keeping school traditions alive. They provide the spark that keeps donations strong, and the school pride burning inside everyone. When you are starting to plan, the alumni office can be your single biggest resource for ideas, advice and historical data. Using their knowledge to its fullest will help your planning stay on track.
Below, you will find a list of things that the Alumni office at your school may offer. Just remember that every school is different so they may not offer some of the services listed.
The Class List
Your college or high school alumni office most likely maintains a database of graduates by year. They regularly update the names, addresses, email addresses, and phone numbers. Instead of trying to create a list from scratch, use their’s to start with. When requesting the list, ask for a digital copy so you won’t have to re-type all the email addresses.
If the alumni office does not maintain a class list, then grab a yearbook from the school library and start writing down all the names. You can use this list when searching for classmates, or when uploading classmate information into the class reunion website.
The alumni office has a lot of budget planning experience as they are involved in planning several reunions every year. Request a copy of previous budgets versus actual budgets and any historical data on the cost of previous class reunions. The data you receive will serve as a great starting point on creating your own class reunion budget.
Most alumni offices have a class reunion timeline indicating what needs to be done when. Use this timeline as a framework to plan individual class reunion committee schedules. By incorporating important dates from the schools calender into your own timelines, the entire planning effort will be well organized from the start.
The class reunion gift is a way for a returning alumni to give back to the school that provided them with a start. Many class reunions raise money at the event to put together a scholarship or simply provide a cash donation to the school. The alumni office can help you plan, market, and provide templates to use when organizing a class gift.
Most alumni offices maintain a list of trusted vendors, caterers, photographers, and suppliers that they have used in the past. Don’t bother reinventing the wheel. Simply ask them for a list of vendors that they would recommend.
The only exception to this would be hotels. Many of your class reunion attendees will require lodging so you will have to arrange for a block of rooms at a nearby hotel. Instead of calling hotels individually, try filling out this group hotel rates request form. Not only will hotels respond by email, most will respond with group rates within minutes of your request. It’s easy and free.
The advantage of having planned several events is that the alumni office becomes very familiar with planning class reunion activities that classmates enjoy. Use their knowledge and expertise to get ideas for your class reunion.
One of our favorite resources that the alumni office provides is invitations. They can provide sample invitation templates that were used by previous class reunions. All you have to do is personalize and make it your own. A little known fact is that many alumni offices will also e-mail invitations and in some cases mail them out at their expense.
Most schools have a website and the alumni office usually has a presence on it. Ask about having your class reunion details placed on the school website for additional exposure. You can also ask them to provide a link from the schools website to your class reunion website so it is easy for classmates to find out more about the event.
Lastly, ask to see if they will announce your class reunion in one of their regular email blasts to alumni.
Alumni offices have dozens of templates that they have used in the past for all sorts of flyers. Whether you need one for a fundraising event or to recruit volunteers, the alumni office can provide the design and in many cases print them for you at no cost.
Need help making phone calls to classmates? Let the alumni office handle the details. Many colleges offer the service for free as well. A volunteer will make the phone calls to your classmates to make them aware of the reunion and to gauge interest.
The alumni office has a lot of experience in designing, creating, and mailing trinkets related to the school. Look to them to see what other class reunions have done in the past and see if anything is suitable for your class.
The alumni office has access to a lot of templates. They can provide assistance in production, printing and sending of class communications. Examples of things that many alumni offices can provide are:
- Electronic versions of yearbooks
- Save The Date Cards
- Initial letter to classmates announcing class reunion
- Memory Book Questionnaire for more information about your classmates
- Meal Tickets
- Name Tags
- Place Cards
- “Last Chance” Invitation Cards
- Programs and Agenda
- Campus brochures
- Fact sheets
- Audiovisual equipment for your event
Do you need help reviewing a hotel contract for a block of rooms? Try the alumni office. They go through dozens of documents a year and are very familiar with all sorts of contracts, caterers, and even photographers.
Don’t want to be responsible for class reunion registrations? Have the alumni office handle it for you. They will provide a telephone number that classmates can call to register for the event, track who is coming, take payments, and cancellations.
With the advances in website technology, many schools have begun to provide an online registration area where you can see which one of your classmates has registered live.
Many classmates have not been at the school since they graduated. The alumni office can provide a tour during the class reunion to bring everyone up to date on the many changes that have occurred since graduation.
Most alumni offices are able to secure a student volunteer to show everyone around on the day of your class reunion. Many of the schools will provide courtesy transportation for your guests while they are taking this tour.
Need to locate an old teacher or principle? How about a professor that was a class favorite? Look to the alumni office to help you locate, and contact them with ease. Once you are in touch with them, you can ask to see if they would be interested in speaking at your class reunion dinner program.
How Should You Do Next?
We recommend that you make a list of things that you need from the list above and call the alumni office to see what they can help with. You’ll notice that they will be eager to help plan and coordinate your entire event from beginning to end (and it’s free!). Read our class reunion tips to get some more ideas for your event.