Organizing a Class Reunion Online
This summer I have had the pleasure of working with my friends Dan, Amy and Kristin in organizing our 20th high school reunion. For anyone that says organizing high school reunions is easy, don’t listen to them! You can check out these “to-do” lists for organizing a reunion on eHow and WikiHow but these miss the mark in describing which activity takes the most time: tracking down our fellow classmates. We had about 340 graduates in our class and today, two months before our reunion, we have about 160 email addresses, or just shy of 50% of our class’ contact info.
Following are some of the tools that we used to get back in touch with our classmates. I hope you find these helpful and let me know if you have find anything else.
1) Our high school administration. Miraculously, some of our classmates actually called in to our former high school and left their email address and contact info. So, that provided a great head start.
2) Classmates.com – Remember seeing all of those Classmates.com banners when the dot com bubble burst? Well, they paid off for high school reunion committees since it provides a central location to find classmates associated with a particular class. About 100+ of our classmates signed up on Classmates over the years so we were able to get in touch with them and post an announcement about our event. Big thumbs down for the site overall though. Classmates actually blocked out the Evite URL as well as our class email address on our posting!! So, I had to go back into the announcement, delete the Evite URL and post our email address as “[at] yahoo” so that people could read it. Plus, they require class reunion organizers to pay for events on top of all of the obnoxious flashing banners and promotions.
3) Facebook – With Facebook being free, better designed, easier to post information such as URL’s and emails, there is no doubt that Facebook could become the default place to organize reunions. It’s easy to find people, share photos, videos, links etc and post events without any costs. Two thumbs up.
4) Evite – It’s fun to see who is invited, who replies yes, and who invites additional friends/classmates. The integration with PayPal also makes for an easy way to collect money for our event. (Does anyone write checks anymore?) Two thumbs up for evite, although Facebook again could derail evite’s leading position for organizing get-togethers online.
5) Classcreator – We won’t be using this new service but have heard that setting up a site for a class reunion here is fairly easy.