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Event Gateway

Planning an alumni event just got easier! Use these tips and strategies when organizing your next event.
Alumni gather in Washington, D.C., for trivia night.

Getting Started

Interested alumni can submit their event request online. The alumni relations office will create an event page, RSVP tracking, e-mail invites, and process payments as needed. All event requests are subject to review by the Office of Alumni Relations.
Who Is Your Audience?

Events can consist of intimate gatherings with Colgate friends or larger gatherings that include all alumni in the area, alumni and parents, alumni only, or certain class years. Please note that parents are invited to most alumni events. They enjoy being included in activities and learning more about the university where their son or daughter is spending some of the most significant years of their lives.

When do You Want to Hold This Event?

Be sure to have enough time to make all of the necessary arrangements and give alumni plenty of notice. Keep several dates in mind in case the venue is previously booked. Also check to make sure that it does not conflict with another Colgate event, religious or federal holiday, or school vacation. Many program planners find it helpful to plan backwards, starting at the day of the event, filling in details, until arriving at today’s date. For example:

Ten weeks before event: determine format (theme, activities, etc.), invite any guest speakers, select venue

Eight weeks before event: confirm date with speaker and venue, submit details to Office of Alumni Relations to draft invitation

Six weeks before event: mail invitations, recruit volunteers to assist on the day of the event, submit details for event e-mail to the Office of Alumni Relations.

Three weeks before event: phone and e-mail tree to extend personal invitation two weeks before event: confirm speaker’s transportation needs, purchase thank you gift, confirm A/V and catering needs with venue.

Responsibilities After the Event

Send thank-you notes to speakers and anyone who made the event possible, and evaluate the event to review past success and determine ways it can be improved in the future. 

Next, send attendance updates (those guests who did not show, or attended without registering) to the Office of Alumni Relations for centralized record-keeping immediately following the event. 

Finally, e-mail event photos to communitysupport@colgate.edu.


Event Ideas

Suggested Events

  • Attend the symphony or opera
  • Tour an art gallery
  • Wine tasting
  • Luncheon or dinner with guest speaker (local alumnus/a or personality)
  • Attend a play or musical
  • Visit a historical site

  • Planning Tips
    • Location, date, and time are usually determined by the venue, exhibit, or performance.
    • Contact the organization for tickets. What are the policies for group sales? Is there a discount?
    • Is it possible to return unsold tickets or acquire additional tickets? When is the last date to return tickets or acquire additional tickets? What is the policy for last-minute reservations?
    • Will a volunteer take RSVPs or will the ticket office? How will tickets be distributed to alumni? Will they be mailed or is there a location to meet prior to the event? Is it possible to pick tickets up at Will Call?
    • The club should be prepared to cover the cost of no-shows and tickets that are not purchased by alumni.
    • Is it necessary to distinguish members of the group from the general public?
    • May need permission to use image for invitation (art work for example).
    • Affairs will extend the invitation for a faculty or staff person to speak.
    • Determine location and select an appropriate, quiet room for the speaker (a separate room is preferred). Inquire in advance as to the maximum capacity of the room.
    • Allow 30 minutes for social time (followed by dinner if that is the format), 3-5 minutes for welcoming remarks, 15-20 minutes for the presentation, and 5 minutes for Q&A. 
      • If the event is a dinner, please allow 30 minutes for social time followed by dinner, 3-5 minutes for welcoming remarks, 15-20 minutes for the presentation, 5 minutes for Q&A, and 5 minutes to thank the speaker, present them with a gift, and make any announcements.
    • Test audio/visual equipment with guest speaker before the group arrives.
    • After the event, send a thank-you note to the speaker.
Social Events

Suggested Events

  • Happy hours/pub nights
  • Potluck dinner
  • Comedy club
  • Business card exchange
  • Alumni band concert
  • Assemble care packages for area students
  • Table for 13 
  • Concert in the park
  • River/harbor cruise 
  • Brewery tour
  • Joint activity with alumni clubs from other schools 
  • Holiday party (please be mindful of faith) 
Planning Tips
  • Is there a room fee? If there are multiple floors or a separate room, will alumni be able to locate the event? Is it necessary to distinguish alumni from the general public?
  • When ordering hors d’oeuvres, please provide vegetarian options. Will the bar offer anything special to Colgate alumni?
  • Recognize that some social events will appeal to generally younger alumni and may not be kid-friendly.
  • Contact the organization for tickets. What are the policies for group sales? Is there a discount?
  • Is it possible to return unsold tickets or acquire additional tickets? When is the last date to return tickets or acquire additional tickets? What is the policy for last-minute reservations?
  • Will a volunteer take RSVPs or will the ticket office? How will tickets be distributed to alumni? Will they be mailed or is there a location to meet prior to the event? Is it possible to pick tickets up at Will Call?
  • The club should be prepared to cover the cost of no-shows and tickets that are not purchased by alumni.

Family Events

Suggested Events

  • Trip to the zoo, circus, or amusement park
  • Picnic or BBQ with games
  • Apple picking
  • Children's museum/aquarium
  • Beach party
  • Ice skating
  • Bowling
  • Mini-golf
Planning Tips
  • Contact the organization for tickets. What are the policies for group sales? Is there a discount?
  • Is it possible to return unsold tickets or acquire additional tickets? When is the last date to return tickets or acquire additional tickets? What is the policy for last-minute reservations?
  • Will a volunteer take RSVPs or will the ticket office? How will tickets be distributed to alumni? Will they be mailed or is there a location to meet prior to the event? Is it possible to pick tickets up at Will Call?
  • The club should be prepared to cover the cost of no-shows and tickets that are not purchased by alumni.
  • Is it necessary to distinguish members of the group from the general public?
  • Be mindful of start and end times; it is generally not a good idea to start a family event after 6:00 p.m. Weekends are recommended for family events.


Event Promotion

Events will be promoted at the discretion of the Office of Alumni Relations via the alumni website, mailed invitations, and e-mail reminders. Keep in mind that the Office of Alumni Relations will need details at least eight weeks prior to the event to prepare and mail invitations and at least six weeks' notice to send an e-mail reminder about the event.
What You Can Do

Some alumni clubs choose to advertise their events on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media outlets. Colgate alumni often visit these sites to learn about events and opportunities to gather with friends. For more information on the manager of those web pages, please contact the alumni office or the club leadership directly. The event planner is encouraged to make phone calls to alumni to increase attendance.

Complimentary Spirit Items

Once the submitted event request has been reviewed and approved, the Office of Alumni Relations will send information and complimentary Colgate spirit items to enhance and help you execute your event.

Payment Options

Events should be planned on a break-even basis or be subsidized by an existing club treasury.

Alumni Relations cannot subsidize events
.
Keep These Costs in Mind

  • Room Fee
  • Tickets
  • Refreshments (food, bartenders, liquor license)
  • Audio/Visual Equipment
  • Set-up and clean-up charges
Also, ask if a deposit is required. A member of the Office of Alumni Relations can put the deposit on his/her corporate credit card, and then the club will reimburse the office after the event is over and fees have been collected from the attendees. Contact the Office of Alumni Relations to check a current balance.

 

Payment and Reimbursements

There are a few options available to help pay for an event:

  • Dutch-treat – Each person pays their own way.
  • Pay for the event personally, save the receipts, and mail them to the Alumni Office for reimbursement. The money will be taken from the club account held at Colgate. No receipt, no cash

Tax-Exempt Status

The following states are tax-exempt:

  • Florida
  • Massachusetts (food only)
  • Michigan
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania (food only)
Please contact the Office of Alumni Relations at alumni@colgate.edu every time a tax exempt form is needed. Please allow at least one week to process the request.