Planning a large event like a multi year alumni reunion requires dynamic qualities. According to respondents from a research study, the top five most important event planning skills are: people skills, organization, time management, flexibility and passion. With that in mind, let’s discover the 5 alumni engagement best practices when preparing for multi-reunions:
1) Adopt an Intuitive Alumni Portal to Maintain Organization
As we mentioned earlier, people skills and organization are the top two event planning essential skills. With a central hub such as an alumni reunion app, an alumni portal, or even a dedicated website, manage your reunion activities in one go-to space. Posting events and the latest updates and announcements in a designated hub provides consistent access to alumni to stay informed.
Organize even further with dedicated class reunion pages, such as Tufts University Alumni. Their pages include program recaps, a recent photo album, a map of pins indicating the states where alumni reside, a list of committee members, and much more.
2) Don’t Rush, Host Multiple Alumni Weekends
Are you and your committee going back and forth about reunion dates and how you’re going to juggle the cluster of class reunions? Remember your alumni engagement best practices and consider breaking out reunions into tiers and separate celebrations. Instead of trying to host everything at once or within a short span, get inspiration from Depauw University and divide it into two weekends. Host quality events and focus on one reunion at a time. Make it a special event for each set of classes and avoid your team feeling overwhelmed. The more time in between you’ll get to recharge, garner volunteers for each reunion, and take pride in each outcome.
3) Create an Internal Shared Calendar and Keep to a Schedule
While you have recruited the dream team, organization still takes precedence. In order for your members to truly thrive and operate as a unit, everyone needs to be on the same page. With a reunion app, project management system, or a shared calendar, invite everyone supporting the reunion preparation to one internal calendar. In it, provide team meeting dates, deadlines and reminders to keep everyone in the loop. At Dartmouth, their alumni reunion planning team has a month to month timeline to refer to. Create a version that best works for you and your members to track all your progress.
4) Empower Your Alumni Committees with a Hybrid Approach
Drive enthusiasm amongst your team and committee members by planning hybrid meetings and meetups. In addition to digital planning via messaging or virtual chats, prepare in-person get togethers with members and volunteers in the area. Local meetups will help your teammates reconnect with fellow alumni and spark excitement for future gatherings. It’ll also give them the opportunity to reminisce about old times and brainstorm innovative and meaningful ideas for the reunion.
5) Offer Alumni Volunteer Opportunities to Divide and Conquer
On top of having committee members in charge of logistical necessities such as overseeing budget and finance, program booking, and event promotion, have roles for volunteers who want to actively participate. It’s easy to overextend yourself, jotting your name down next to all of the tasks. Instead, source out some of the lower priority duties, allowing you to focus on top priorities to ensure quality work.
Be intentional with the assignments and ask volunteers to share what is their first and second choice volunteer roles. As you and your team divvy out tasks you can assign tasks based on what interests them.