Why a 50-Year Alumni Reunion is Essential in Your Alumni Programming

February 2023 — By BrightCrowd

Class reunions are not a new phenomenon. Some of the country’s oldest schools can trace reunion origins more than a hundred years. But while they’re an excellent way to reconnect individuals with their former peers and reignite a sense of school spirit, research shows that only 10-20% of invitees will attend.

It’s a lot of effort on already overwhelmed alumni relations staff to produce less-than-desirable attendance numbers. So, how can schools encourage more participation in these efforts? Today, we’ll look at the importance of including a 50-year class reunion in the alumni association strategy.

Why are Class Reunions Still So Important?

Class reunions are still crucial for a number of reasons.

  1. Colleges and universities can use reunions as an opportunity to build relationships and collect updated contact information for their alumni directory and future outreach efforts.
  2. Reunion attendees are more likely to donate, and many schools use the time to help inspire donations, endowments, and other forms of giving.
  3. Strong levels of alumni engagement can provide excellent exposure for institutions seeking to attract prospective students and recruits.

However, despite these benefits, many alumni relations teams still struggle with reunion RSVPs.

When Should Classes Reunite?

There’s no set rule that dictates when an alumni reunion should take place. Although most events typically occur every five years, it’s not uncommon for colleges to host gatherings that fall on odd-numbered years. A school’s location, class size, and graduate participation rate play an essential role in determining the frequency of these celebrations.

While affinity and milestone reunions are growing in popularity, for many schools, the 25-year reunion is the largest. However, the 50-year alumni reunion provides an even greater opportunity to strengthen participation and ultimately, giving.

Why Are 50-Year Reunions Important?

The 50-year reunion is a golden opportunity to welcome back alumni in a nostalgic celebration of such a significant milestone. A 50th anniversary is likely the last alumni reunion a former student would travel for, fostering an even deeper connection to the university. At this point in life, alumni are also more inclined to give back in some way, whether that’s by volunteering time or in donations or future endowments.

Using BrightCrowd Digital Yearbooks for 50th Class Reunions

Many schools give out memorabilia such as coffee cups, apparel, and professional photos at alumni reunions. While these gifts are nice tokens for those that are able to physically attend the event, the funds used to purchase these items could be redirected for a deeper level of engagement. Colleges and universities need to get creative with memory keepsakes ideas that can be appreciated and provide long-term value, regardless of their geographic location. The answer is simple, digital yearbooks.

BrightCrowd’s digital yearbooks (also called digital memory books) are a simple way to share lasting memories and make meaningful connections during milestone occasions. While in-person celebrations are fortunate to see 10-15% of the class attend, BrightCrowd 50th reunion books consistently see 30-50% of the class members create a page.

Rather than costly, time-intensive print books, alumni relations associates can create these digital yearbooks in a matter of minutes with minimal monetary investment. Participants create their own unique pages that incorporate relevant information about their lives over the past 50 years. Alumni can include contact information, favorite college memories, family photos, and words of wisdom that they wish to pass on to others. Not only do these memory books complement the reunion, but they allow those not in attendance to still partake in the experience. The book serves as an artifact or a snapshot in time that they can refer to long after the event ends.

Contact us today to learn how BrightCrowd’s digital yearbooks can help take new and reignited connections made at a 50-year alumni reunion to the next level.