Family reunion communication is a major task in your planning to keep everyone informed of the event as well as any changes that happen along the way.

Selecting a member from each branch of the family to keep the lines open will be very important....

Gone are the days of cans and string.

You’re going to need several forms of communication to keep in touch with your guests. Not only to keep them informed, but to maintain their interest in the reunion over the months of planning.

No matter how you do it; keep the hotline open!!

The use of computers and email has become far easier and faster for the Communications group. However, there will still be some individuals who do not have a computer and prefer receiving mail or a phone call.

Great-Aunt Rosie, would love to hear from you and she will be more than happy to fill you in on everything that’s happening on her side of the family. After all, she's the one who communicates with everyone else.

She would also be a good one to "bird dog" those you haven't heard from yet.

Note: Keep in mind that phone calls are great, however, emails and "snail" mail offer a "hard copy" of all information to prevent any confusion.

It may be wise to have several people help with the family reunion communications.

Besides handling all correspondence, incoming and out-going, the committee will also be responsible for the following:

  • Create, maintain and update a database (or spreadsheet) of guest names, addresses and other pertinent personal information
  • Develop mailing lists from your database
  • Create a survey and other necessary forms and flyers
  • Receive responses and follow-up on responses not received
  • Mail out “Save The Date” announcement postcards
  • Mail out invitations & RSVP cards
  • Make phone calls to those who do not have email
  • Set up a filing system
  • Create family reunion newsletters

Keep copies of all forms family reunion communication in a Family Reunion Binder, this binder will be valuable when planning future reunions.

Getting mailings or emails out is not a problem, because your committee has control over them. It’s getting the responses back again which may pose a problem.

The responses are essential to your planning; it will give you a head count, the dates the majority of guests would be able to attend and their suggestions for a theme, activities or other ideas. They may even include names and addresses of “lost” or "missing" relatives.

Whenever you want to receive a reply, always make sure you include a stamped, self-addressed envelope with your mailing. What could be easier for someone to simply make some check marks, slip the response back into the envelope and mail it back?

Another way is if you send a folded postcard, have it perforated so it can be easily torn from the original message and the other portion can be stamped and returned with their reply.

Other ways to receive responses back promptly are:

  • Plan a prize or award at the reunion for the first registration received
  • Offer a discount incentive for early registration; set a deadline date to receive discounts
  • Send a list of who has responded and who hasn’t with your follow-up mailings
  • Whenever you talk to family members, always mention the reunion and how many have responded so far
  • Always ask them to remind other family members about the reunion
  • Again, keep that hotline open!

If you still haven't received responses by your deadline, then members of your committee may have to get on the computer and email your guests, or phone the ones without a computer. You know every family has procrastinators, some just need some "prodding".

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