With fall reunions just months away and a potential vaccine for COVID-19 even further down the road, will our alumni be ready this fall to hop on planes, rent random airbnbs, greet each other with affectionate hugs and kisses, and gather under tents or in large banquet halls ten or twelve to a table? How many alumni in their 70s will show up for their 50th Reunions?
We need to face the reality that our in-person reunions need a Plan B. So, what is it?
Change the mindset
Our Plan B begins with a new mindset ““ viewing our 2020 reunion not as one weekend event in the fall but as a continuum of engaging touchpoints in the months leading up to your potential in-person reunion date. These touchpoints will serve the purpose of creating excitement for your fall reunion, should it take place, or a means to give your alumni the opportunity to engage with their classmates and the school in lieu of the in-person event.
Bring your class leaders together and ask them for their input on how to engage their class in the coming months “just in case.” What are alumni looking for? Support? Social connection? Networking? Updates on their school, professors, and classmates?
This is a perfect opportunity to give your alumni what they are looking for. A few virtual programs and e-newsletters tailored to each reunion class, together with a reunion class book are a perfect combination for your virtual reunion.
How do I know? For the past 10 years, I have been successfully generating momentum for law school, undergraduate, and independent school reunions in the months leading up to the reunions by creating class e-newsletters and reunion books. My virtual model takes my tried-and-tested business model one step further by creating engaging online programming too. I am working with a law school and an undergraduate school right now to put together programs to engage alumni just in case their fall reunions are cancelled, and so far, so good! Alumni are excited to be getting together virtually and are very appreciative of the schools’ efforts.
Alumni are more available now than they ever have been. Take advantage of this time to strengthen your school’s relationship with them. Turn the 2020 reunion cycle into a uniquely memorable one instead of a disappointment.