I'm a family reunion advocate.
If you read my blog on family reunion apathy, you'll know that. My mom and I hold a reunion for her siblings and their descendants (doesn't sound like much, but there are over 100 of us feuding, fighting Gentners), and I seem to be, by far, the most enthusiastic participant.
I'm always thinking of fun things to do at our reunions, or related to them. My ideas are usually met with less-than-stellar response though. I would appreciate some input from those who appreciate the art of the family reunion fundraiser. I try to come up with ideas that both raise money and also have some other purpose, namely, preserving family memories.
My first idea was a memory book. I keep kicking this one around. Originally it wasn't even a fundraiser idea, just something neat to do. All family members would be asked to submit a photo, new or old, and a paragraph or two about it. Who, what, where, when, why, plus feelings/thoughts/memories about it. These would all be compiled into a book which I would then have bound (I was going to buy one of those doohickeys that spiral binds small stacks of paper), and everyone who contributed would get a copy. Then the idea got set aside, but resurfaced again late last year when I decided we needed to raise $800 to put a headstone on my great-great-grandfather's unmarked grave. I would put the books together and sell them at a small profit with proceeds going to the headstone fund. I recieved comments from only two cousins (via our FaceBook group, I might add - I created one hoping to keep the younger generations in the loop and generate excitement - hasn't worked too well so far), ranging from "Old pictures or new pictures?" to "It sounds like a lot of work". Then I tabled it again, due to the extreme lack of enthusiasm about the whole headstone/preserving family history for the ages/making sure everyone knows where great-great-grandpa is buried issue. Come on people! This is important! What, you would rather be spending time talking about living relatives or something?
Along those same lines is the classic family cookbook. I never even discussed that one with the fam, as I'm sure it would get the same lukewarm response. I think it would be really neat to do though, divide it into one section for each of my aunts and uncles and my mom.
We tried a Chinese Auction one year, it was kind of a bust because we spent so much treasury money making theme baskets (as only a few people volunteered to bring items) that we made very little money.
We sold t-shirts and tote bags the first two years, at just a couple dollars above cost to keep them affordable. We made very little on that too.
I've thought also about a penny vote, for cutest baby or something like that. Put a can or jar in front of all the entries, the one with the most money at the end of the day wins.
I've also contemplated a fifty-fifty raffle, but I'm not sure if it's tacky for a family reunion. There was one at a first birthday party I went to once (and a Chinese Auction, to boot), and I thought that was extremely tacky.
So far, our best source of revenue has been the good ole donation can, placed near the guestbook and carefully watched by my aunts. And, the one aunt that sends me a $25 check every year when she gets her invitation.
My last thought for the day isn't a fundraising idea, but something that I want to do but would like input before I propose the idea. Next year would be the year my grandfather turned 100, so it might be a good time for this: a time capsule. Everyone would be asked to bring an item to contribute - anything - it could be a picture, a CD, a newspaper, a child's drawing, a note in a sealed envelope, coins, anything goes. We would record who brought what and include the list in the time capsule, to be opened in however many years. How many years though? I don't think ten is long enough, but is 20 or 25 too long? I would also like to have some sort of "time capsule sealing ceremony" where we tape the container (a plastic bin or tub, probably) shut and write the date that we are to open it over the tape, but I'm worried that the container I brought would be too big or too small for all the items that were contributed. So, I could either bring two or three different sizes, or forgo the ceremony and buy a container later based on the items we get and seal it up after the reunion.
I know, I read too far into things and get too detailed and think of too many choices.
What are your thoughts on my ideas?