2013 Dinner Postex

2013 Event Feedback and Lessons Learned (LL)

This report is here for info and resource of lessons learned for subsequent events, i.e. “how did we do it last time” and “how can it be better.” To see the history of all dinners, see http://usnaout.org/evolutions-alumni-student-dinners


Attending: 82

  • 33 mids (previous record 31)
  • 7 guests of mids
  • 30 alumni (record 34 – 2012)
  • 12 guests of alumni

No shows: 5

  • 1 alum
  • 1 – 2014 non-usna out member
  • 1 – 2016 non-usnaout member on XC leave
  • 1 – 2016 usnaout member

Unplanned: 1 – guest of an alum
Tag along mids: 0

Feedback: (from RSVPs) Many alumni were disappointed that there was no “save the date” message sent prior to the invitation and hence they are unable to attend due to avoidable conflict.

LL: Get a save the date out as soon as the date of the event is established

RSVP and Ticketing

Alumni feedback of event “value” ($60 charged):

  • Average alumni recommended fee: $65
  • Mean alumni recommended fee: $67.50

    The only significant area of non-harmony was including the expenditure for EHOH with the dinner contribution. Some members feel it is inappropriate for everyone to equally cover the costs of those who wish to drink ETOH over those who choose not to do so. (This is a repeat theme from previous dinners).

    LL: Drink ticket system as used in 2012 was optimum for all

    Alumni feedback on ease of use of RSVP system:

  • Was easy: 80%
  • Had some difficulty: 15%
  • Was difficult: 5%

    Most difficulties noted were for those who wanted to contribute an amount above the normal $60 requested. Although most members saw how to do this, it wasn’t obvious to all.

    LL: Consider using as system such as EventBright vice our on system integrated with PayPal. Fees are slightly higher, but functionality is perhaps more user friendly.

    Event Feedback

    Alumni feedback on the venue (Loews) expectations:

  • Exceeded: 41%
  • Met: 45%
  • Fell short: 14%

    Comments both complimenting the very “public” venue and missing the previous venue of Shawn & Gene’s place.

    Lowes food expectations:

  • Exceeded: 18%
  • Met: 50%
  • Fell short: 32%

    Lowes beverage expectations:

  • Exceeded: 50%
  • Met: 50%
  • Fell short: 0

    Alumni feedback on the “awards ceremony” expectations:

  • Exceeded: 32%
  • Met: 53%
  • Fell short: 14%

    Primary comment (among all responses) that the awards presenters should have been introduced to the recipients well before the dinner to provide for consistency. Of note, those who felt the awards ceremony fell short were all attendees of the original dinner in 2009 and had attended most if not all five dinners to date.

    LL: Make the Alumni/Grad connections soon after event registrations closes. NOT at the dinner. (repeat LL’d from 2011/2012)

    The Event – What Happened and When

    The Class of 2013 Congratulatory Dinner was held in the small breakfast room adjacent to the lobby at the Loew’s Annapolis Hotel.  Concurrently, the Class of ’58 (Sen John McCain) was holding the 55th reunion in the hotel atrium and ballroom. Some reunion attendees had to pass by the hotel sign reading “USNA Out Reception” to use the lobby restrooms.

    Event began at 17:00.  About a dozen guests had arrived fifteen or more minutes early.

    Attendees were provided pre-printed name badges.  USNA Out members and associate members (including midshipmen) had the 1”x1” USNA Out logo sticker visible on the front side of their name badge.  USNA Out logo stickers were placed inside the name badges for non-member midshipmen.

    Midshipmen had an option to be designated as “ok to be in photos” or “not ok.” All midshipmen name badges were reversible. Those who were OK were initially given their name badge with the white (same as alumni) side showing, those who were not comfortable were initially blue. One 1/C midshipman flipped his badge from blue to white during the evening.

    The class hosted the bar from 17:30 to 19:30 after which the bar shifted to no-host. Loew’s Hotel took responsibility for ID checks.  There was an adequate quantity of food available. 

    The program commenced at 19:30.  Dinner asst Chair Mike welcomed the attendees.  Chair Alex welcomed the attendees, explained the name badging system and encouraged non-member mids to join USNA Out on the web site. 

    “Awards” presentation choreography went as follows: Thirteen alumni introduced the thirteen soon to be ensigns from ’13 and each alum introduced the next alum. Because of the particular space, initial feedback was that the awards ceremony felt more intimate and personal than in the past.

    Awards were given to all first class in attendance regardless of USNA Out membership as prescribed by the USNA Staff JAG.  Eight of the thirteen (7 of 8 men/1 of 5 women) were USNA Out associate members before the event. One first class non-member who had arrived at the beginning of the event had to depart prior to the awards ceremony.  One first class USNA Out associate member had a conflict and was unable to attend. Post event, the eighth man joined USNA Out as he promised.

    Awards consisted on one set of ENS shoulder boards with the USNA Out logo on the underside, one set of collar devices and a USNA Out bumper sticker.  Packages were wrapped in blue (women) or gold (men) plain tissue paper, no special boxes, gift bags nor canisters as in the past.  For the first time, each shoulder board had the USNA Out logo affixed.

    No written script was provided to presenters. Introductions were inconsistent.

    Awards ceremony was completed around 20:00, guests trickled out of the space over the next hour. 

    77 of 84 name badges returned for reuse.

    Funding (unaudited)

    The Class of 2013 executed the dinner event with a slight surplus. They have not yet designated what they want to do with the small surplus.

    $5,066.00 contributions via PayPal®
    $ (158.44) PayPal fees
    $4,907.56 net PayPal receipts
    $   120.00 checks
    $    60.00 cash received at dinner
    $   57.96 due from unpaid guests
    $5,025.52 Total receipts
    $4,639.03 Loews
    $  250.00 Loews Deposit
    $   84.79 name badges
    $    9.12 programs
    $   20.00 decorations
    $5,002.94 Total expenses
    $   22.58 Surplus

    Minor oops was that taxes and “service fee” were not included in the estimates.


    Email Communications

    • No early  “save the date” message was sent to general membership
    • 4/11/2013 – Invitations from the Class of 2013 emailed to membership with RSVP date of 4/18
    • 4/15/2013 – Class of 2013 sent email reminder to all members
    • 4/17/2013 – Class of 2013 sent email “last call” reminder to members who had not yet RSVPd


    • 44% of RSVPs received immediately after first email
    • 22% of RSVPs received areter first reminder
    • 21% of RSVPs received after “last call”
    • 5% received after deadline (all but one AD)
    • 7% trickled in at other times.


    • 2 RSVPs received via email after initial invitation
    • 9 RSVPs received via email on last call
    • 75 (sir!) RSVPs received via website by due date 4/18
    • 7 RSVPs received via website after due date – 3 additional attendees.
    • 95 total RSVPs received of 311 members/associate members (30.5%)

    Award/Event Inventory

    At the completion of the event, USNA Out has in stock:

    • 140 Avery 74461 clip on name badges
    • 5 – soft ENS shoulder boards
    • 5 – garrison cap officer shields
    • 1 – collar devices
    • 2 – Men’s hard ENS shoulder boards – unboxed
    • 1 – Women’s hard ENS boards w/USNA Out logo and collar devices wrapped in BLUE tissue
    • 2 – black Marine globe & Anchors in boxes
    • 2 – sets of 2 Marine globe & anchor bright
    • 1 – roll of tickets
    • a little bit of blue and little bit of gold tissue paper
    • 4 – clear poly pint gift cans

        A big THANKS to all those who had roles in making the class of 2013 Midshipman’s Dinner happen. Special BRAVO ZULUs to:

        Alex Kane – who did more coordination of alumni than in any of the previous dinners (where USNA Out has provided admin assist) and cat herding more Midshipmen than ever.  More notable, Alex’ efforts were accomplished in a compressed timeframe.  Alex also coordinated with Loew’s Hotel for the space, the food and beverages.  Also thanks to Mike Reindl for moral support/backup.

        Board member Kristin Barnes ’92 – who procured the ensign insignia for the soon-to-be graduates, ran interference with the Staff JAG, and hosted the awards marking, wrapping and name badge stuffing party with board member Erik Schmidt who ensured the name badges and programs got to the event 5 minutes before start. 

        Special thanks to three members who were major contributors to the event, Max Becker ’84, Joseph Soto ’83 and Rob Beer ’90 and the SIX other board members and FIFTEEN USNA Out members whose contributions allowed this event to be “no cost” to all midshipmen attending and essentially unsubsidized by USNA Out general funds.

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