This committee should devise multiple methods of communicating with family members of all ages in order to reach a maximum number of attendees.
The communications committee will play a very crucial role in attracting a maximum amount of attendees to your family reunion.
In order to understand why, you must first understand what the communications committee does.
What Does A Communications Committee Do?
1. Serves as the official mouthpiece for the family reunion planning committee.
2. Relays family concerns and ideas, poll results, and attendance information to the family reunion planning committee
3. Creates excitement about the family reunion by getting people involved (A good number of volunteers can be recruited early if the communications committee creates enough excitement in their message)
4. They will need volunteers with very diverse skill sets that include creating a website, a monthly newsletter, online polling etc. They may also need someone to get on the phone and call family members that do not have internet access to inform them of any updates or change of plans.
There are a variety of methods that a communications committee can use to keep everyone in the loop about the planning process. Here are some things they will need to create in order to keep everyone informed.
Save the dates
Once a date and location is selected, save the date cards need to be e-mailed or sent via mail so everyone can plan ahead. These can be designed with a Microsoft Word template, or you can do it online at vistaprint.com (for a minimal charge, they print and mail them for you).
Another responsibility is sending out actual invitations to your family reunion attendees. The final invite should include details such as a final agenda, hotel information, room block information, and any other pertinent details.
Reminders (Due dates)
There will be several due dates during the course of your family reunion planning. For example, registration packets may be due by certain date or funds may need to be collected by a certain date. You may need to send out several reminders for each.
Providing regular updates is another responsibility of the communications committee. Updates should include information like any new decisions made by the family reunion planning committee, how much was raised at the last fundraiser, or who else has decided on attending.
The communications committee is also responsible for designing, creating, and mailing out the registration packets for the family reunion. Nowadays you can even create registration forms and payment methods online right through a dedicated family reunion website. Doing so is both economically and environmentally sound.
Instead of sending out a registration packet to everyone, send out an e-mail ahead of time asking people to register online. State that those who cannot register online should either e-mail or call to request a physical registration packet.
Compile physical addresses and send out a newsletter every 2 to 3 months. While e-mail and websites are great way of communicating, getting a physical newsletter ads that final touch and generally convinces your last holdouts to join in the festivities.
Create and manage website
Having a family reunion website is supremely important to the success of any family reunion. It fosters communication between the family reunion members and those who are planning it. Regularly updating the website creates a greater buy-in factor and will increase attendance.
Take opinion polls (For food, activities)
Use the website to create opinion polls when selecting activities or food choices. Any questions you need to ask of the family can be answered through the opinion polls. Setting one of these up on your website is relatively simple and is usually part of the website package you purchase.
Another benefit a website is that you can also collect dues from family members without having to wait for checks. Your family can register online and pay their share without having to fill out lengthy forms.
Know who is coming to the family reunion- the benefit of a website is that it allows you to keep tabs on who is coming, and who the last holdouts are.
How often should they communicate
How often you choose to communicate with the family members really depends on how large a family reunion you’re having. A small family reunion wouldn’t require something as elaborate as a website or even a newsletter. Some simple phone calls handled by a few people should do the job.
A larger family reunion will require multiple people on a communications committee to manage the different formats being used to keep everyone up-to-date. Regular updates to the website (Once a week) and a monthly newsletter should do just fine.
Family reunion planning is a complicated process that requires a lot of coordination and planning. Primary among these is the communications aspect since it plays such a key role in the process. If you fail at this portion, your reunion attendance will suffer.
The guidance above should (hopefully) provide you with a good road map of what it will take to make sure you successfully communicate and increase the attendance at your next family reunion.
What should you read next?
Since you’re planning a family reunion with a committee, why not read about the most common committees for a family reunion.