Appendix C - Other Event Planning Information
Alumni and Parent Programs formats, prints and mails invitations for association events. Four specific invitation formats are available: Postcards, legal sized tri-fold self-mailer (standard), letter and envelope, and Presidential invitations. Self-mailers and letters are printed on association letterhead that reads “Amherst Associations” in the header.
Draft invitations and program details may be e-mailed, faxed, or sent to Alumni and Parent Programs for processing. Please try to allow six weeks of lead-time to advertise events. The earlier an invitation can be produced, the more likely people will be free to attend. (There is also the added advantage of mailing via bulk mail, which saves on mailing costs.) Please take into account up to a week of processing time at Amherst.
Once produced, invitations are faxed or e-mailed whenever possible to association officers, individual hosts, and speakers for their approval. Someone Alumni and Parent Programs will also proofread each invitation draft.
Replies for events should be directed to an association officer. This system allows for the leadership to communicate with individual members and also reinforces the idea that the program is organized and sponsored by the association. Exceptions are made for Presidential events, NESCAC events, and for associations that need to process fees remitted to Amherst College because there isn’t an established association bank account.
Invitations must include, day of the week, month, year, time, place with address and phone number, cost (payable to whom), topic and or speaker, type of event, and instructions and contact information for responses and questions.
For receptions, plan on five to eight hors d’oeuvres per person. Be sure to order a mixture of hot and cold items, and to balance meat, fish, dairy, and vegetable offerings. Association volunteers coordinate with the food and beverage provider, approximate numbers, finalize arrangements, sign any related contracts, and pay deposits.
Dinner menu choices may be listed on the reply form for association events so that the organizer can advise the kitchen concerning each person’s choice of entrée. Vegetarian plates should be available upon special request.
Alcohol at association events can include beer, wine and soft drinks or a fully tended and stocked bar (although open bars are expensive and are generally not the best option). Often the particular event location will have specific rules or systems in place. Cash bars allow the association to keep costs more or less fixed, which helps keep the admission charge reasonable.
In addition to the cost of the food and beverages, there may be per head food or drink charges, bartender fees, room rental, gratuity, tax, and minimum guaranteed numbers to take into consideration.
For each event, Alumni and Parent Programs will send sticky Amherst nametags, purple pens, and sign-in sheets. The association can keep any left over supplies to use at the next event.
Banners are a wonderful method of identifying the Amherst group and the event location. These run about $35-$40 and can be purchased through Hastings in Amherst (www.ajhastings.com).
Sign-in sheets are provided so that Alumni and Parent Programs can collect new e-mail addresses, track event attendees, keep statistics, and list participants when possible in the Associations Update section of Amherst magazine. Please encourage guests to sign in as they enter the event site. Within two weeks of the event, please mail or fax the sheets to Alumni and Parent Programs. It is also desirable to send along the actual response cards for any contact information updates.
Event Cancellations, Postponements, and Refunds
During the course of a year, circumstances may necessitate the cancellation of an event. These include snow, urgent business, other important College business, illness of a speaker, and too few participants. The decision to cancel an event is made jointly by Alumni and Parent Programs and the Association President. Occasionally a different speaker will be arranged in order for the event to continue as planned. Rescheduling events is advised when possible. Weather-dependent programs should be planned with snow/rain dates.
The person coordinating responses and payments is responsible for refunding money in a timely manner in the event that a program cancellation occurs. Refunds for a person who pre-paid and does not show at the event are at the discretion of the event organizer. If catering numbers have been finalized and there is no notice given, the event organizer has no obligation to refund the fee. However, in the interest of good relations, reasonable requests for refunds should be honored. You also might ask if the individual would be interested in applying that money to dues or support of the association.