Homecomings, reunions and special events are high visibility opportunities to engage alumni from all generations. Freshen up your events with these creative event-planning tactics and top CASE resources.
Pro Tips: 3 Event-Planning Ideas to Try
1. Crowdsource your visuals.
Rather than issuing a straightforward save-the-date communication, consider engaging attendees from the outset.
In an eye-catching save-the-date email for the kickoff of its “Blueprint for the Future” campaign, the independent Pingry School in New Jersey asked recipients to Instagram casual photos of themselves or upload the pictures to a special event website.
The images became part of a mosaic design used in various online and print promotions and displayed on flat-screen TVs during the event’s red carpet introduction.
2. Engage the masses online.
Extend the reach of your events online. For instance, to launch a $95 million campaign in 2010, Binghamton University held an in-person “Bold, Brilliant Binghamton” reception and online event. Through LiveWired, an online event platform, virtual participants watched the live feed, chatted with faculty, viewed both the event and videos about giving (with bloopers), and participated in contests and trivia games. It was a relatively low cost way engage its audience and, in the end, the campaign exceeded its goal by $6 million.
Explore more ideas for online reunions and alumni events in this Currents piece on virtual events.
3. Give your audience a new perspective.
Take your audience to a new or unexpected space. For instance, for a 2003 gala, Harvard Law School used the familiar setting of the law library, where graduates had spent countless hours. Rather than having attendees enter the space through the main doors, they walked up emergency stairs and then entered the stacks dramatically lit with hundreds of white lights. This vantage point, which few had experienced, was intended to recapture alumni’s awe as first-year law students.
Homecomings, Reunions and Special Events: Top CASE Resources
- Learn about boosting the ROI of events and find more about the above strategies in “Return on Revelry” from the May/June 2017 issue of Currents.
- Explore our CASE Library’s resource collection on anniversary celebrations.
- Find articles, tips and guides on events in this event planning roundup compiled by the CASE Library.
- Join us at our Homecomings and Reunions conference Feb. 6-8, 2019, in Atlanta. Learn how to explore, create and rebuild programs to fit your institution’s needs. There’s still space to register.