Magazine Online    The Authority On African-American Conventions, Incentives, & Leisure Travel
Industry Briefs

Financing the reunion can be a real challenge for families. While the goal of meeting and tourism organizations is to offer a price point that increases revenue, defends the bottom line, and encourages more family member participation, the objective for families is to secure rate-conscious, affordable pricing, and assist family members' ability to participate. And even when businesses throw in free and bonus offerings, families have to do their part raising funds to supplement family budgets and offset their member's bottom line.

The following excerpt from Chapter 2 of my unpublished book, (bi)Finding the Rest of Me: African American Family Reunions(ebi), describes the number of ways families are Financing the Reunion .

The cost of organizing reunions includes expenses for postage, duplicating, stationery, phone calls, deposits for reunion venues, t-shirts, souvenirs and the like. Then there are the actual costs for the reunion itself. Families meet this challenge in different ways. Some have fundraising events during the year. Most charge a modest registration fee. Sometimes the host family is responsible for raising money for expenses related to food and activities. Some family chapters donate money to the host chapter, in addition to holding fundraisers during the year. 

A very popular fundraiser is to sell mementos at the reunion. T-shirts, pens and pencils, mugs, caps, and tote bags-all emblazoned with the family name, may be sold above cost. The family directory can become a fundraiser by adding photographs and making it a souvenir booklet for sale. One family created a quilt they auctioned-off to the highest bidder in return for possession and bragging rights until the next reunion. Another created a history book that sold for $200.00. And another had a country store at one of its reunions. Everyone brought something to be sold-homemade goods, handmade crafts and the like. The money raised helped with expenses for the next reunion.

Fundraisers bring the family together outside of the formal reunion setting, enhancing the feeling of  belonging, cooperation, and togetherness. Raffles, dances, dinners, theater parties, card parties, casino trips, flea markets and bake sales are just some of the fundraising activities. One family encouraged younger members to run a car wash that became a national effort when donations were sought from family members all over the country.

Financing for the reunion also includes raising money for scholarships, ensuring elders can attend, and assisting those who would otherwise be unable to participate. And participation is needed for families and businesses alike to receive favorable returns on their investment.

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