If you can plan ahead and write only one check at the time of your reunion, your banker might let you use a counter check to avoid having checks printed. On the other hand, cancelled checks are your best receipt for record keeping, reporting and to provide accurate proof of where the funds went. If you choose a business account, you'll need to maintain a minimum balance to avoid fees.
If you can hold (not touch) the money for six months or more, buy 6-, 12-month, or longer, CDs. This must be money you will not need before the CD matures (otherwise early withdrawal penalties apply). Make a little extra money for your reunion but don't lose the benefit by not planning ahead.
Your reunion money can be kept by the treasurer, chairperson or someone chosen by the group. You must decide who will have access to the money and have those people sign the signature card to eliminate confusion. The bank will probably require two signatures and may require a resolution from the group authorizing the account. Money can be available if you choose to pay as you go. If you're limiting the number of checks you're writing, however, ask persons who incur expenses along the way to collect receipts and wait to be repaid at the reunion.
Establish a budget and how expenses will be approved so there are no surprises and you have enough to cover what everyone spends. Be sure you account for every penny you spend because, no matter how much you as chairperson may invest personally in the reunion, your family members will be concerned about where “their” money is going.
Plan a treasurer's report at your reunion and offer to have anyone check your books at any time to verify your statements.
Regarding the money, Yvonne Captain wrote that experience taught her to be very careful, especially with relatives who feel comfortable telling you what they think! In order to avoid thoughts that the money was misspent, she set up a separate account for the Captain Family Reunion and made sure at least two people handled the money at all times. Different people were assigned to take care of t-shirts, hotel and dues. She scheduled a business meeting to discuss, among other things, where the money went. Captain says, “It worked out extremely well, because everybody understood why they had to pay dues.” Since they did not overspend, they had a little extra something in their bank account.
Carole Neal also set up a separate bank account, so incoming checks could be made payable to the Seals Family Reunion. Neal lives in California and the reunion was in Louisiana, so service providers required payment either by cash or travelers checks. Her bank established a four-month free checking account. There were two names on the signature card, but only one was required to sign a check. She did not order checks, just used starter checks that come when you open an account.
The committee set a low registration fee schedule to make the reunion affordable: seniors 65+ $25, adults $45, age 12-18 $30, age 3-11 $20, age 2 & under free. Fees covered all activities and three reunion meals. Setting fees was tricky, because they didn't know how many would be attending.
Rob Fish, Powell, Ohio, writes about his Class of 1971 reunion. A small treasury is carried over from the previous reunion to cover initial costs and setup for the next reunion. The balance comes from fees charged for attending the banquet.
LueVenia R. Alford, Maple Heights, Ohio, reports that for the Pressley Family Reunion, the host city establishes, approves and maintains the budget and finances for that city. The fee is $90 per family (a parent or parents with children under age 18) and $45 per single person. Transportation and hotel are paid by members. The fees are used for entertainment on Friday evening, activities on Saturday, including a banquet Saturday night and a picnic on Sunday.
The organizer of the Chell Family Reunion is responsible for financing the reunion until money starts coming in. They price the reunion per person. They raffle a handmade quilt each year to offset the organizer’s expenses. Several family members who can well afford it split any cost overruns, including extra scholarships if more are needed than can be covered by the collected funds.
Elaine Bender Bowie, Waldorf, Maryland, says her family sets small fees and passes a hat at the end of each reunion, which is probably a pretty good idea for any reunion, no matter how well endowed.