These are suggestions for steps and the time it takes from the time you start your very first reunion. For someone organizing a reunion with a history, this list is also good for checking your progress or as agenda considerations for committee meetings.
If your reunion has a newsletter, include some of these steps from time to time. Your members can better appreciate what their part is, if they know what you need to do when. For example, they might return reservations and t-shirt orders, if they realize your deadline date is not arrived at arbitrarily.
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24-18 months before your reunion...
Talk to other reunion organizers
Attend a reunion organizing class, workshop or conference
Start collecting mailing and email list
Form reunion committee(s) and establish responsibilities and schedules
Keep records of everything
Develop budget and bookkeeping system
Contact convention and visitors or tourism bureaus
Podcast: How to ask for money
Search for / visit locations, facilities
Podcast: Hotels are looking for your reunion
Set up social media presence! A website, Facebook and Twitter pages.
One year before ...
Send Save-the-Date cards.
Send first mailer; tentative reunion schedule and plans (tours, souvenirs, memory books), theme, approximate cost, and missing persons list.
Podcast: Art of the loving invitation
Begin souvenir directory/list of members, memory book
Arrange or hire entertainment, caterer, photographer, videographer, printer, motorcoach for touring
Podcast: How to hire a motorcoach
Reserve picnic area in the park
9-6 months before ...
Visit hotel, meet with staff
Reserve block of rooms
Use website and Facebook pages to send announcements and build excitement
Send second mailer; include registration and souvenir order forms and cost