Your Guide to Top Alumni Event Ideas & Planning
May 17, 2022 10:00:00 AM
If you're looking to plan an alumni event, you may feel a bit overwhelmed by where to start. Although building a guest list is pretty easy, deciding what to do at the event may be more challenging. After all, your school likely has a wide variety of alumni who may be interested in different things. You have to gather ideas that will appeal to a broad cross-section of people.
Fortunately, we're here to help. We’ll break down everything you need to know about top alumni event ideas and how to plan your event effectively. Let's get started.
Thanks in part to the COVID-19 pandemic, in-person events are not necessarily the only way to go. Modern event technology enables organizations of all shapes and sizes to host hybrid and virtual alumni events quickly and seamlessly. So, before sending your invites, you need to know the type of alumni event you'll be hosting.
Even though the pandemic is subsiding, there are some tangible benefits of hosting your gathering online, such as:
Now that you know the advantages of virtual and hybrid events, let's look at some of the specific elements to consider during the planning stage.
With vaccines and boosters widely available, many people are far less hesitant to travel and gather in large groups than they were before. You can likely secure pretty good attendance numbers for an in-person alumni event. Some points to consider include:
This event type is the most challenging because you have to determine the logistics for both in-person and virtual attendees. While you might not need as large of a venue, you must address some of the more technical challenges, such as:
The most significant challenge of hosting a virtual alumni event is maintaining engagement for long periods. As a rule, guests can only stay focused for up to two hours at a time, so either you can cut your event short or break it into sections. However, if you go with the latter option, it's hard to ensure guests log in for each session since it's easy to opt-out. Some other virtual-specific obstacles to consider include:
As a rule, a themed alumni event is much more engaging than a generic gathering. Some themed ideas can include:
While one appealing element of an alumni event is visiting with old classmates, you also have to find high-quality entertainment to boost your attendance numbers. The activities you choose will vary based on the type of event you're hosting. Here are some ideas that can work for in-person, hybrid, and virtual events.
You can take your guests to Las Vegas or Monte Carlo with various casino tables such as craps, blackjack, and roulette. This option works well for virtual events, as some companies offer digital tables with live dealers. This way, your guests can get a taste of Lady Luck but without the risk of losing their shirt!
Shows such as Jeopardy and Family Feud are easy to do both in-person and online. Better yet, you can customize your questions to relate to your group. For example, if you're hosting Family Feud, you can send a poll to each registered guest before the event and tally their answers. This way, alumni are more likely to attend because they want to see whether their response was the most popular. Other options include bingo, Name that Tune, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, or a straight trivia game.
Is your school well-known for a specific sport? Even if everyone on your guest list isn't athletic, you can incorporate some kind of sports into the night's itinerary. For example, if your school has a basketball team, you can have a HORSE tournament. Also, not everyone has to participate in the game, as it will still be fun for spectators. This option mainly works for in-person events, but you might be able to find digital tournament-style games as well.
Who doesn't love a carnival? If you can secure an outdoor venue for your alumni event, you can have guests try their luck at midway games (i.e., ring toss) and win prizes. You can also book carnival-style entertainers such as live bands, stilt walkers, magicians, and balloon artists. A carnival is also a family-friendly option, which might entice your alumni to attend since they don't have to worry about a babysitter for the night.
Hosting an alumni event comes with many challenges, especially if you're planning a virtual or hybrid event. Fortunately, we can help you with logistics and technical assistance, so you can focus on making your event as engaging as possible. Contact us today to find out more!