A Successful Family Reunion Requires A Planning Committee

Hilton Head Family PortraitA successful family reunion is the result of careful planning and organization. In order to succeed you have to remember that you cannot do everything alone.

You may possess the qualities of a great leader and organizer but you can’t expect yourself to perform all the tasks associated with a family reunion.

In order to organize and accomplish many of the tasks that are required, you will need to enlist some initial help.

Put Together the Initial Planning Committee

Your family reunion survey responses include a list of people that are willing to volunteer. Use this list as a starting point when selecting your initial planning committee. What you are looking for is a few family members that possess leadership qualities.

Seek out either successful business owners or family members that have jobs that requires them to manage other people. Possessing the experience of managing others, this core group of volunteers will already have the required expertise to deliver a great family reunion.

When selecting this core group, remember that you will need people with several different skill sets.

You’ll need someone who’s very good with finances to be the Treasurer (Sets up budget, maintains bank account etc.). Read more about the finance committee responsibilities.

You’ll also need someone who’s good with computers so he/she can potentially create attractive invitations and keep a database so everyone’s informed. This person may also be responsible for creating and maintaining the family reunion website, sending out surveys, and taking opinion polls electronically.

Yet another volunteer would have to be good at negotiating with hotels and caterers. This person can help organize a group of volunteers and even run a subcommittee.

Here is a list of common family reunion committees if you need more details on the topic.

Once you have a core group of volunteers for your family reunion committee, it’s time to select a leader. This could be you since you have already gone about selecting the committee members or it could be decided by vote. Regardless of who is selected, the leader of the committee has the following responsibilities:

  • Schedule and moderate committee meetings. Provide everyone a chance to update everyone else.
  • Resolve disputes amongst the committee members.
  • Follow up with all the committee members to make sure things are done on time.
  • Approve large expenses and sign any contracts.
  • Approve timelines for each committee
  • Coordinate tasks that require multiple committee input and execution
  • Provide leadership and motivation to get things done on time and under budget
  • Be a part of the welcoming committee.

Keep The Selections Balanced

In order to keep things fair and balanced, make sure you’re not selecting family from just one side or from a certain geographic region. Evenly select the committee members so that every family feels represented.

Once you have identified several people, make sure to call and confirm that they are still interested in helping you. Also let them know that you will be communicating with them over the next few weeks to try to finalize the date for the first meeting of your planning team.

Including yourself, you now have the initial planning committee for your family reunion.

What Size Should The Family Reunion Planning Committee be?

It’s best to have one person for every 15-20 attendees. As the family reunion gets larger over the years, you may need less since many will have the experience from previous reunions. Having many people on the committee will provide many of the benefits listed below.

Different Points of View
Enlisting family members will give you a different point of view on any problems that may show up. You’ll also have somebody who you can bounce ideas off of. While you may not always get your way, you will gain a better understanding and create stronger bonds with other family members by working together.

They Want to Help
You have to remember that your family wants to help plan. By involving them in the initial planning phase of the family reunion, you’re not only satisfying their needs, you’re also creating a buy-in factor. This will result in a greater number of attendees at the family reunion.

You Don’t Know Everything
There are many skill sets required to accomplish a successful family reunion. You will have to be good at negotiating (With a hotel when you need to block hotel rooms), public speaking, organizing, multitasking, and a gazillion other qualities. One of your jobs as an organizer is to be able to enlist family members that feature their skill sets. You’ll be surprised at how well people do when you set them up to succeed.

Generating Ideas
Families of all sizes have members with differing interests and ideas of what makes up a good time. A portion of your family may enjoy softball whereas another would rather be at the beach. Having family members from multiple areas will give you a truer representation and a better idea of what activities to plan. Remember, you’re not planning the reunion for yourself. You’re planning it for everyone.

What should you do next?

Once you have selected your initial planning committee, you want to send them the results of the family reunion survey.

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