Class Secretary's Corner- 7 Tips for Reunion Success
1. Pick an adage/theme for the reunion - our class used “Get Back, Give Back and Get Down (Again)” to help communicate many of our planned reunion activities related to yes, Getting Back (and why – “meet classmates you never knew as an undergrad”); giving back – the Bill Gates factor but which tied into our symposia /”77 Up” programs around giving of $ AND one’s TIME and learned expertise/experience.
2. On the Class Book – start early and NEVER give up on trying to increase Class Book participation and encourage online submission for the sake of reducing costs and environmental impact: I am now a disciple of delegating random portions of the Class contact list and having the ENTIRE class committee reach out via telephone (a telephone tree) to classmates THEY DON’T KNOW. I can’t tell you how many classmates appreciated the personal touch and attention and expressed interest in meeting the Class Book submission deadline and “Getting Back”
3. Website – a website such as Class of '77 Websiteis CRITICAL for real time communications and containment of mailing costs. Drive ALL Reunion messaging and communications back to your website. Make prudent and frequent use of your class list serve – the HAA has an excellent sense of the right amount and frequency of email communications (short and sweet and simple are a good mantra here). Constantly remind classmates to bookmark the website URL and save the date. Post all communications and a FAQ to the website so that it is the definitive repository/reference site for classmates that misplace the mounds of Reunion (expensive!) pony express mail. By so doing, you greatly assist the HAA Classes & Reunion’s staff (and undergraduate assistants) in responding to hundreds of Reunion inquiries: the answer is always uniform: GO TO YOUR CLASS WEBSITE! That way, you politely indoctrinate classmates into the habit of going there FIRST before logging a call to the HAA staff. If your website has usage statistics, use them to help gauge your effectiveness.
4. Harvard College Fund- use the website and class communications to reinforce the HCF message. Include the HCF leadership and a Forward in the Class Book. Give them the exposure and recognition they deserve. It makes their “ask” that much easier! My adage has always been that if we are successful in “Getting Back” classmates and selling reunion F-U-N, then the “D” will follow given the strong affinity that we create with our classmates over time. Or put another way, it speaks to the lifetime relationship that we establish with classmates. We won’t necessarily get them every reunion, but their overall affinity with Harvard College will grow in fascinating (and mysterious) ways! For example, I am always amazed (and energized) by the number of classmates who approach me or write about the “catharsis” (my word-not theirs) they experience upon “Getting Back”. In fact, for our next reunion, I am working on a theme/adage that speaks to this ‘out of body’ experience.
5. Premium/gift idea- the BIGGEST hit was the maroon “HR 77” athletic caps. The HAA was very instrumental in negotiating a handsome COOP discount for us. And there have been some post reunion sales as well.
6. Photography- as our website allows Web 2.0 style self-publishing of photos/video, remind classmates to bring their digital cameras… let classmates incur the work and expense of photographing the Reunion events. Let classmates post digital photos to the website… it becomes a simple, viral way for classmates to remind you and others to check back often for updates. BTW: you will likely discover that classmates capture some wonderful moments that a professional photographer would arguably miss (apologies to any professional reunion photographers among us!)
7. Good weather conditions- solves the lion’s share of ALL Reunion woes- start praying NOW. Seriously,
--Actilt 18:31, 27 April 2008 (EDT)