Planning to Pay For Your Family Reunion

Today I will meet with our family reunion committee to plan our 2011 family reunion. Because of the current state of the economy our fund raising auction last year was not as productive as in years past so we are faced with some new challenges this year.  How are we going to pay for our family reunion?  We always joke about plugging our “money tree into the “currant” bush but this year I think we’re going to need some new ideas.

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I can tell you that our 3 day reunion cost $16.00 a person in 2010 and that included everything!  Doing the math, I figure that we are going to need about $1,500 to pay for reunion expenses.

I needed some  new ideas so I  talked to everyone I knew and did a lot of research on the internet and these are the ways I found you are paying for your family reunions:

Divide all expenses equally, or have everyone pay individually for expenses as they incur.

Collecting recipes and producing cookbooks and many other publishing projects such as directories, scrapbooks, and history books to sell at the reunion.

Pass the hat

Food, beverage and white elephant sales. Food sales can net a nice profit if you consider carefully your reunion customers. A bake sale could feature desserts to eat right there as well as whole bakery specialties to take home.

Family yard sale

Order personalized (imprinted) products such as t-shirts, caps, coffee mugs, pens, pencils…and many more items to sell

Charge a traditional registration fee to families. Some families charge per family unit and others charge different prices based on age and family size. Average cost families are charging for their reunions are adults (ages 13 and over)- $70.00, children- $40.00. Pay electronically or elect to pay with a bank check or money order.

If some families can’t afford to pay then give them opportunities to provide service in exchange for paying fees- for instance could type in recipes for a family cookbook, maintain a family website or do family history research.

The easiest way to reduce reunion expenses is to cut back on the time your reunion lasts. If you normally have a three day reunion cut back to two or just get together for a Saturday afternoon and evening. Make your meals potluck and enjoy the time, however short, that you have with each other.

With finances in mind, some families opt not to have reunions every year.

Ask for reunion dues and ask family members to send a portion of their dues on a quarterly basis so that it isn’t a one-time large payment.

Hold a raffle of donated items from companies or family members during the reunion. Plane tickets or electronics are good money generating items.

Collect corporate donations or pledges for a fundraising event like a bike or 5K race. Corporations sometimes donate to large reunions where knowledge of the company’s name and contribution reaches many people.

My favorite idea, and the one  am going to suggest at our planning meeting is:

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Family reunion pocket change. Ask family members to save their pocket change during the year and bring it to the reunion. Count money by hand or take to a counting machine. Announce the grand total at your reunion.

In hopes that our reunion committee will adopt this idea I quickly made some labels using fun fonts from Lettering Delights. http://www.letteringdelights.com/  I hope they’ll like this idea and that along with our annual auction we will be able to fund our Stewart family reunion.

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