Budgeting for your Reunion
Like any gathering, family reunions can be costly for the host. How will you pay for your event? You may prefer to personally pay the expenses – especially if the gathering is small and held in your own backyard. A potluck buffet with everyone bringing food can also reduce expenses but what about large gatherings involving substantial expense?
Don't be afraid to ask for support
People understand that gatherings cost money. Most are willing to help defray expenses for the sake of the cause. Unless the event is your gift to the family, you need to ask for contributions – preferably in your first communication with family members.
What will you spend money on? Beyond the seed money required to start planning, you may need funds for:
• Food and beverages
• Facilities rental
• Phone calls
• Name tags, signage, posters and decorations
• Party favors
• Music or entertainment
• Expenses related to creating/reproducing a family tree
• Transportation of out-of-town guests
• Photography or videography
• Prizes and awards
Keep accurate records of all expenditures and send out financial reports that detail them. People are more willing to contribute when they know exactly how their money will be spent. Your goal, of course, isn't to make money. It's to break even.
You may wish to set up a special checking account to help keep track of revenues and expenditures. Again, it’s essential to keep family members informed about how their money is being spent. To ensure that money is spent wisely, the account can require the signatures of two people for expenditures.
How to generate funds
Besides donations, funds can be raised by:
• Selling tickets for the gathering and/or meals.
• Selling family gathering T-shirts.
• Raffling off a luxury item that people would probably not buy for themselves such as a meal for two in a fine restaurant or a night in a lavish hotel. You can sell tickets for $5 or $10. Display the prize with a card that clearly states how much money you are trying to raise.
• Get teenagers in the family to hold a fundraising event – a car wash, for example.
• Hold an auction of donated items at the gathering.
• Sell group photos and/or videotapes of the gathering.
• Ask everyone to donate money collected at the supermarket for recycled cans and bottles. The donation of newly acquired money is less painful.
• Would your Aunt Martha be willing to donate some of her delicious pies? Sell them for $5 or $10 each.
Raising money may seem bothersome. But properly handled, it can be a fun part of the family reunion experience.