Unless you and
the committee want to do all the work yourself (which, Mister Spiffy notes, is very, very
uncommon this time of year), you will want to assign volunteers to a number of areas of
responsibility. Basically, this section is advice on how to pass the buck in
various ways. Now, the best way to appease reluctant volunteers is to give them an
official name: "Youre now a part of the Finance Subcommittee, isnt that
swell?" "Oh, yes!"
Each subcommittee can be managed by a single upstanding family
member, or a whole family. Try to match up family members talents to the different
jobs, when possible. Mister Spiffys bad example: "All right, Joe, seeing
as youve been a champion in the Iron Man competition for the last five years,
youll be in charge of finances and your accountant brother can be in charge
of sports. Okay"? Assign one person of each subcommittee as the chairperson for
that particular subcommittee and make them responsible for reporting to the Family Reunion
Committee. In English, now put someone in charge of each one and make them
tell you if theyre getting their work done.
These are just Mister Spiffys simple suggestions for
subcommittees, and you may not need all of them (or any of them, or you may want to create
one that isnt listed here Mister Spiffy cant think of everything,
hes not a genius, despite the rumors going around). You may even want to combine the
responsibilities of several of these subcommittees into a single one, if the job
isnt too hard. To make things easier to understand, the main family reunion
committee (the one assigning the subcommittees) will be referred to as the Big
Important Committee throughout this section.
The finance subcommittee handles the money and
bookkeeping (wow, three double letters in a row!). This committee puts together the budget
(with the assistance, of course, of the other subcommittees and the Big Important
Committee), and keeps track of how much money and whose money has been / will be spent.
It also keeps track of which families have paid the admission (or whatever scheme
youre using to raise money to pay for this shindig). The finance committee should
set up a checking account to deposit the income from tickets, auctions, et cetera. This
checking account should be kept open throughout the years and used for every family
reunion, especially if you anticipate any income or expenses between the reunions.
The treasurer is a member of the finance subcommittee
and reports back to the Big Important Committee just what goes on behind the closed doors.
He or she is the one in charge of the checkbook. Their signature is required (Mister
Spiffy repeats, required) for the release of any small slips of paper exiting a
checkbook, a wallet, or one of those little envelopes that money comes in from the bank.
It would be preferable if the treasurer is good with numbers and honest above reproach. It
is not an uncommon story in Mister Spiffys past cases for the money-handler to
"borrow" money from the reunion account without paying it back. I know
its appalling, but it happens out here in the real world. If you want a safety
feature, you can get a checking account that requires two signatures on checks (although
this can be inconvenient at times, as Mister Spiffy would be the first to tell you
he doesnt even like to remember how it was when his cousin Mister Snazzy was touring
the European continent). Once you have a good treasurer, it is often best for that person
to remain the treasurer from year to year, instead of changing constantly.
The Food subcommittee makes the decisions in those
all-important food-related debates. This includes, but is definitely not limited to,
how to feed the guests, whether everyone brings their own food, have a potluck, eat at a
restaurant, or all of the above although how that last one works, Mister Spiffy
isnt really sure. If youre having a potluck, they are in charge of
organizing it so that a good variety of food is provided, without the Big Important
Committee having to worry about it. If a restaurant meal is being planned, they are
in charge of finding the restaurant and making the reservations.
The food subcommittee is also responsible for making
sure there are enough plates, silverware, napkins, and drinking straws, even if it is the
simple task of informing the family members to bring their own.
The Activities subcommittee decides what everyone else
is supposed to do at the reunion. This includes activities (Mister Spiffy says
duh), games, a program (where the kids stand up and make a valiant attempt to
sing), or a church service. They are in charge of planning the activities, making sure all
the equipment is there and in a functioning and unbroken state, and printing up the
certificates and awards for the various winners of various awards. They are also in charge
of finding volunteers (or forcing volunteers) to run the games and activities if they
cant (or don't want to) do it themselves. This subcommittee is one of the most
time-consuming jobs of a family reunion, so make sure you have enough family members to do
the job, and do it right. If you want a job done right (but youre too lazy to
do it yourself), youll just have to settle for imperfections. Nobodys
This subcommittee is responsible for managing the
address list and mailing all the various invitations and follow-up reminders. Now, Mister
Spiffy had to take a class in Communications to get his Family Reunion Doctoring Diploma,
so he knows this quite well. If you decide to send a survey out to find out what kind of
reunion the family is interested in, he suggests that you have the communications group
take care of it, and just report the results to the Big Important Committee.
The Fundraising subcommittee is in charge of planning
and carrying out the varying fundraising activities for the reunion. These can include
auctions, raffles, cakewalks, or other more bizarre ideas you could come up with that
Mister Spiffy hasnt suggested. They are also in charge of obtaining any items needed
for any of the fundraising activities, or for contacting family members if items liked
baked goods or homemade crafts are needed. They will work very closely with the financial
Family History Subcommittee
The Family History subcommittee is responsible for
collecting family memorabilia for display at the reunion. This committee can create
a large wall chart with family members names to hang on the wall for guests to see
how they are related to each other (Mister Spiffy suggests decorating it with bright
colors, so as to hold the interest of our younger guests). If changes or additions
need to be made to the wall chart, the family history subcommittee will be in charge of
updating the chart for the next reunion ("Someday
going to get this thing right"). If any research side trips are planned, it is
this committee which takes care of the details.
Mister Spiffy loves photography. Did I mention
that he took a class on it a few summers ago? Well, he did, and now he considers
himself the guru of advice on the subject. I never go near him with a camera
anymore, because I know Ill never get away in less than two hours. But, I
digress. The Photography subcommittee is responsible for making sure the reunion is fully
documented photographically. They should make sure there is a photographer attending,
whether it is a family member who is semi-talented with a camera or a professional who
actually knows what hes doing. (Hint Mister Spiffy is not a
professional). Once the photos are developed, the committee is responsible for
noting which family members are in each picture.
If a video is to be made of the reunion, this
committee also has the responsibility for lining up a camcorder or hiring someone to
create the video tape. If they neglect to do so, they may have to answer to the Big
Important Committee and thats never pretty.
After the reunion, the photography subcommittee should make copies
of the photos or video available to family members, and decide on a price that will cover
the cost (or, perhaps, Mister Spiffy says with a knowing smile, make a little profit for
the next years reunion).
The Accommodations subcommittee is responsible for
finding accommodations for visiting guests, such as hotels, motels, nearby Dumpsters, et
cetera. Okay, never mind the Dumpsters. Anyway, they can negotiate for blocks of rooms or
discounts to pass on to the family members (yeah, thats right you want some
sneaky people on this one). If camping, this subcommittee should make the
reservations for the campsites, or tell the family members how to make their own
The Welcoming subcommittee is responsible for welcoming
the guests to the reunion (is it just me, or is Mister Spiffy getting less creative with
his committee naming?). They are the ones who print all those nametags nobody will wear,
and who meet the guests at the front door. They should perform any of the planned
welcoming traditions (such as a lei at a Hawaiian-themed reunion, a noisemaker at a
birthday party-themed reunion, a prick in the bottom with a cactus at a Western-themed
reunion, et cetera).
Setup and Cleanup Subcommittee
The Setup and Cleanup subcommittee is in charge of
setting up chairs, tables, and other items for the reunion. If items like barbecue grills,
picnic tables, grand pianos, large water fountains or giant plastic palm trees are needed,
they are responsible for obtaining them as well, no matter what the cost. They also get to
(note that they dont have to, they get to) hang up any decorations or
At the end of the reunion, this committee is
responsible for taking down the chairs and tables that they so painstakingly set up for
the Big Important Committee. They also pick up the general area. The committee
doesnt have to do all the work themselves, they can ask family members to help out
as well. Sorry to disappoint you.