As I work with schools on their virtual reunion programming this year, there are certain points we consider to create the best virtual reunion experience for their alumni.
When planning an in-person school reunion, you automatically think of one large event or a multitude of events packed into a single weekend. A virtual reunion, however, is different. Having only one online event on the day of the postponed/cancelled reunion will not maximize results. Instead, view your 2020 reunion as a continuum of virtual touchpoints that can accomplish the goal of connecting class members to each other and your school.
What touchpoints can comprise a virtual reunion?
- A virtual reunion can be a series of online events, such as happy hours, trivia nights, and back-to-school nights with favorite professors.
- A virtual reunion can be a periodic class newsletter that updates alumni on classmates, professors, and the school. The newsletters can highlight favorite school memories, interesting facts about class members, and nostalgic photos of school days.
- A virtual reunion can include a special reunion class book with updates and photos from classmates that give class members the ability to connect with each other and the school in a meaningful way.
- A virtual reunion can be a hybrid of the above.
To determine the perfect shape and size of your class reunion, consider:
- The age of your alumni in each class.
- In general, older alumni are adverse to meeting in person and may not be as technology savvy as younger alumni.
- Alumni’s input and preferences.
- Ask your alumni about what they are looking for in events and programming and what contributions they can make.
- Your resources.
- Dollars saved on in-person reunions can be reallocated to virtual programming.
How do I know? I have been virtually strengthening alumni communities for ten years by using a mixture of newsletters, emails, and class books to encourage alumni to participate in their in-person reunions with positive results and rave reviews from our partner schools.