It is important to establish Grad Night policies and procedures well in advance of the event. It is difficult and embarrassing to deal with these issues at the night of the event. Each policy and procedure must be carefully evaluated and discussed to ensure the safety of all attendees. The final policies and procedures should then be publicized to the graduates, parents, school administration, and the community. This will let everyone know exactly what is expected.
Each year the Grad Night committee needs to re-evaluate the past decisions, rules and policies. The yearly evaluation will ensure the current committee members agree and understand the reasons behind the rules. This should ensure all committee members will comply and enforce the rules.
No alcohol or other drugs should be allowed. How do you plan to enforce this policy?
Word to the Wise: Grad Nights typically have a no alcohol/drugs rule for all persons including volunteers and vendors. Make it clear in the volunteer letter and vendor contracts that alcohol and drugs are not permitted at this event.
What will happen if a graduate arrives under the influence? How do you determine if the graduate is under the influence? What should happen to the graduate?
What will happen if a volunteer or vendor arrives under the influence? Amazingly enough, this happens. What should happen to the volunteer or vendor?
Who is eligible to attend? Will it be only graduates from your school? Will former members of the class who moved away but are back to attend graduation be invited? What about the spouses of married graduates?
Word to the Wise: Grad Night committees typically limit attendance to graduates only with few exceptions such as spouses of graduates, foreign exchange graduates, and former class members who moved away the senior year but returned for graduation. Typically, underclass dates are not permitted.
Word to the Wise: Most Grad Nights allow late entry if it is arranged ahead of time. If a graduate provides a good reason for a late arrival (such as they have to work until 11 PM), then the Grad Night should make arrangements to allow the graduate to enter. Ensure security knows of the exceptions for late arrivals.
What time should the graduates be there in order to enter Grad Night? Ensure everyone knows what time the doors to the Grad Night open and what time they close. Will you allow late admittance if it has been arranged ahead of time? There should be few exceptions.
What time should Grad Night end? This question requires careful planning. You must ensure adequate food, volunteers, and entertainment are available until completion.
What is planned to ensure the graduates arrive safely at home after Grad Night? This is a serious issue that requires careful planning. The graduates are typically tired in the morning after Grad Night. Some schools no longer allow graduates to drive to or from Grad Night. These schools are requiring that the graduates be dropped off and picked up again in the morning by school bus services, certified limousine, or parent cars. As a bonus, they offer coffee, juice, and donut holes at the pickup spot to the drivers.
Word to the Wise: Typically Grad Night parties allow the attendees to leave Grad Night early after telephone approval has been obtained from their parents. However, once they leave, they are not allowed to re-enter Grad Night. If you choose this policy, ensure you have a list of parent/guardian names and current phone numbers so that you are calling the correct responsible party.
Can an attendee leave the Grad Night party early and can they re-enter? Establish your policies regarding early checkout and re-entry. Should telephone approval be obtained from the parent (or guardian) prior to leaving the party? Should the graduate (even if they are 18) have to sign out (name and the time they left)? Should the graduates be allowed to re-enter the party after leaving?
Word to the Wise: Grad Nights typically allow siblings, and recent graduates to help before the Grad Night (such as decorating, preparing food, setting up, or addressing thank-you notes). Younger siblings and recent graduates are typically not allowed to help on the night of the event. Parents of graduating Seniors may be discouraged from working the event itself.
What adults will be allowed to help at Grad Night? Are relatives and siblings allowed to help? Are recent graduates allowed to help at Grad Night? Is there a minimum age for the vendors?
Should favorite teachers and administrators be allowed to help at Grad Night? Grad Nights typically allow teachers and administrators to help on the night of the event. The teachers and administrators are advised however, that they are there to help with the party and not to socialize or interfere with the party.
Word to the Wise: Grad Nights typically require the winner be present to claim the prize, especially the Grand Prize.
Who is eligible to win prizes? Can a graduate win more than one prize? Can they win a door prize and the Grand Prize? Do they have to be present at the time of the drawing to win the prize?
Word to the Wise: The laws governing non-profit corporation fundraising stipulate that no person shall permit the funds to be used for any purpose other than the solicited purpose. Here are some suggestions (currently in use by Grad Night committees), on what to do with excess money:
What should be done with money left after the Grad Night bills are paid?
The following ideas do not meet established guidelines governing nonprofit fundraising:
Once your policies and procedures are established, follow them as closely as possible. But, remember, there will always be someone seeking an exception. Sometimes you must be flexible, so do what is reasonable and best for the graduates.