Fall The Reunion Budget
The class is responsible for all reunion expenses. It is imperative that enough income is received to meet all of these expenses. The reunion fee should be set high enough to generate a moderate surplus to enable the class to cover unanticipated expenses and to organize future annual events between reunions. If either the reunion itself or the Class Report runs a deficit, the class is liable and will have to find a way to pay off the deficit. Financing the Class Report is discussed under the Class Report section of this guide, but the class leadership must always bear in mind that a small surplus from the reunion can be wiped out by a whopping Class Report deficit and vice-versa.
Reunion expenses fall into the following categories (see worksheet Appendix iv for more detail):
- Overhead expenses
- Web Page
- Registration Supplies
- Printed materials: name tags, signs, registration forms, maps, programs, information sheets, and other literature
- Stationary supplies: pens, pencils, markers, note pads, masking tape, tacks, scissors
- Minimal First Aid Kit: aspirin, Band-Aids, antacid, etc.
- Transportation – busing to and from events
- Insurance – see section on security and liability
- Reunion memorabilia: T-shirts, ties, scarves, tote bags, etc.
- Event expenses
- Facility charges
- Rental equipment: tables, chairs, tents, dance floor, coat racks, etc.
- Audio-Visual costs: P.A. system, projection, and operators
- Police, security, and entertainment & liquor permits/licenses
- Food cost
- Extras (candles, china, flowers, menus, service charge, anything for which there is a surcharge)
- Bar service - (See section on Catering and Beverage)
- Set-up and clean up.
- The Unknown, Uncertain, or Murphy's Law – add at least 10%
- Reunion fees
- Package charge
- Registration fee
- Individual event charges
- Income from beverage service if you choose to have cash bars.
- Reunion memorabilia sold at a profit.
- Subsidy from class treasury.
- Supplementary contributions (could be cash, memorabilia, give-aways, beverage, etc.) from committee members or classmates.
In planning the reunion budget, every reunion expense should be estimated and the reunion fee structure set to cover all expenses based on the minimum estimated attendance. Classmates should be able to buy the entire reunion package at a favorable price and to unbundle the package and purchase only individual events if that is their preference. The one-time registration fee would be charged in either case (see next paragraph).
REGISTRATION AND EVENT FEES
A registration fee should be charged to all classmates sufficient to cover overhead expenses. This fee is charged to each classmate, but not to spouses or guests, regardless of whether they buy the package or pick from the "menu." Typically this charge has been $25-$35 per classmate, and it is our experience that it should be no less. An alternative is to charge a lower registration fee ($12-$15) from everyone, including spouses and guests. To set the registration fee the committee may wish to include some individual event costs such as police coverage, audio visual charges, some rental equipment, and/or entertainment costs, in the reunion overhead category since these costs are fixed regardless of attendance. The effect of this policy is to keep specific event fees lower.
An alternative is to charge no registration fee but to increase the cost of each specific event by a certain percentage or dollar amount to cover overhead. This method is not recommended because it generates less income than a fixed registration fee and makes the specific event charges high and consequently unattractive.
The committee should not count on income from bar service, sale of reunion memorabilia, classmate contributions, or class treasury subsidies to cover a deficit due to a fee structure that is too low. There may be income from these sources but it should be viewed as insurance and a welcome addition, not as a way to eliminate a deficit due to an artificially low fee structure. It is an inevitable permutation of Murphy's Law that a committee that is not fiscally conservative in its reunion budgeting will end up in deficit.
The HAA staff is available to work with your reunion committee to prepare the reunion budget. See Appendix iv for a budget worksheet.
"Get it in writing" has never been more important than it is today. Whenever possible a contract outlining all of the details should be secured from your suppliers. This is especially true with caterers and companies that supply reunion gift and memorabilia items. It is important that the agreement is clear and detailed and that "no stone is left unturned." This provides the reunion committee with back-up if it becomes necessary when the bills arrive. Contracts protect both suppliers and their clients from unnecessary misunderstandings.
Members of the reunion committee may sign contracts for goods, facilities, and services after first being authorized by the reunion co-chairs and the HAA. Alternatively, if you are not comfortable with this, a member of the HAA staff will sign contracts for the class if necessary. If a deposit is required that is beyond the means of the class treasury prior to receiving income from reunion fees, the HAA will advance the deposit to the class. When such an advance is made a member of the HAA staff normally signs the contract. The reunion committee may wish to request certificates of adequate liability and Workman's Compensation insurance from contractors.