Class reunions give alumni the opportunity to reconnect with old classmates. These events also provide a great opportunity for schools, districts and foundations to connect with alumni and foster closer relationships.
Unfortunately, a lot of reunion committees and schools that host class reunions experience underwhelming turnout. There are ways to make the most of your time, energy and resources to ensure more alumni attend these events.
What causes low turnout?
It's first helpful to understand what causes low turnout to events in the first place. One of the main reasons why people do not show up to class reunions is because they are anxious about feeling alone or out of place among those they haven’t interacted with for years.
In some cases, people don’t attend class reunions because they simply do not have enough information about the event or they don’t hear about it far enough in advance to plan accordingly. Others hesitate to attend because of the costs associated with attendance, including registration, meals and lodging.
How to increase attendance
The following are some key tips for increasing turnout to your next class reunion or alumni event:
- Contact alumni early and often: As soon as you have a date for your event on the calendar, reach out to alumni with invitations. Start contacting your alumni well in advance of your event and continue reaching out on a regular basis in the weeks and months preceding it. Encourage alumni to register or RSVP so that you can get a better idea of how many people will attend and whether you need to adjust your strategy to encourage more attendance.
- Cultivate connections before the event: To help your alumni feel more comfortable attending your event, make an effort to connect with them before the class reunion takes place. An online platform where alumni can connect and chat, as well as an active social media presence, can help spread the word and lead to better attendance.
- Mitigate costs: You might not be able to offer free food and accommodations for those who attend your class reunion. However, you can contact local hotels for group rates and discounts, while offering registration discounts to alumni who sign up additional classmates.
Coordinating a successful class reunion can be challenging, but these events can significantly support your school or district's alumni engagement efforts. Keep these tips in mind as your school or committee plans your next big event.