My 35th high school reunion was supposed to have occurred this summer, but unfortunately, it was canceled due to “lack of interest.” I couldn’t believe it, and to say the least, I was a bit disappointed, as I always look forward to our class reunions and reconnecting with all of my old friends-most of whom I haven’t seen since our last reunion.

Distance and time constraints prohibited me from being a part of the reunion committee, and I certainly don’t fault the group for trying to put this thing together. It’s not an easy task, and demands plenty of time and effort to plan a successful event. However, I looked back at the way it was planned and determined that it failed not because of lack of proper planning, interest, poor location or high cost. Rather, cancellation was necessary due to inadequate notification and follow up to members of the graduating class. Many in the class simply did not know about it.

The only notification of the reunion was by a series of approximately 5 or 6 emails which announced and described the event, invited graduates to attend, and followed up. Though email is cost effective and can be useful, it should be just one element of the notification and promotional process.

To make your class reunion (family or military reunion for that matter) a successful event, it requires usage of a variety of different promotional tools to get the word out so that you have the highest possible turnout. The rest of this article will hopefully give you some tips and ideas so that your reunion is well attended.

Locating your classmates is obviously the first thing that you need to do, and is a subject for an entirely different article by itself, and will not be covered here. For now, you can do a web search on “finding classmates” or some similar search phrase to find the various tools available to accomplish this daunting task. Once you have your list of classmates together, the fun really begins!

Publicizing your Class Reunions

o Email. It’s a great way to stay top-of-mind with your classmates and to inform them of upcoming deadlines and reminders for events. Create various guest lists and send specific emails to each group. Email is also a great tool to solicit classmates for help in locating missing classmates. Popular uses of email include newsletters, special announcements, thank yous, “In Memory” notices, and help finding missing classmates.

o Telephone. Get together one night with the rest of your committee, along with some pizza and drinks, and start dialing. You will not only have fun with this, but can often enlist others to help spread the word.

o Mail. Send a letter to the entire class. In most cases, classmates who are not personally contacted are unlikely to attend. The letter should include the following: a form requesting biographical data, a survey of desired reunion activities, a list of “lost” classmates and a request for any information available on these people, and a postage-paid return envelope. Having the input of every class member will make the task of accommodating each individual’s different interests less challenging.

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