Court of Honor Toolkit
Planning a successful Court of Honor induction ceremony can be a large feat to tackle, but here are is a good timeline and some resources to help you.
When a Court first starts out, it might be necessary to tag onto an event that is already established, like a Convivium, national/regional event/conference, or chapter alumni event. If the Court decides to do a stand-alone event, you may consider locations such as a country club, private club, restaurant, chapter house, bar, or the home of an alumnus.
Save the Date
This is very important. Most alumni need at least a month if not 2 or 3 to plan their schedules. A save the date can be electronic via email, a regular letter, or a postcard. Services like Vistaprint make postcard mailing extremely easy and “hands-off.” If you need assistance with mailings or if would like an updated mail/email list, contact Brent Fellows at email@example.com or (540) 463-1865.
Nominations primarily come from your Court’s current membership, but check your Court’s bylaws. Some allow for each undergraduate chapter and alumni chapter to submit a nomination to the Court. Many Courts still have a printed nomination form with specific questions to answer, but some take advantage of email and Google forms to collect nominations. You should do whatever makes it easiest for you and those who would submit nominations.
The hardest part of planning an event is promoting it, figuring out who is attending, and collecting their money. An online ticketing system is great because it does all the work for you. Also, a monetary commitment from someone will most likely guarantee that they will actually attend. The National Administrative Office utilizes and recommends EventBrite. Anyone can create a free account, and it allows for you to send digital invitations, collect money and additional information from attendees, and send email updates. Some cool features include a customized URL address, like eventbrite.com, Facebook integration, an event manager mobile app, and the ability to R.S.V.P. and mail a check or pay at the door. If you need assistance, contact Brent Fellows at firstname.lastname@example.org or (540) 463-1865.
Printed invitations are a great way to invite your guests in a more personal manner. Also, the likelihood that they open your letter is greater than an email, especially if you have accurate mailing addresses.
Typically, it is best to mail invites 3 to 6 weeks prior to the event date. Reply Cards can be useful, but there is an added expense that comes with more printing additional cards and envelopes, or if you include postage stamps. It is recommended that RSVP/registration be conducted online.
If you would like to utilize mailed invites, send the “InDesign Artwork” folder to a printer in your area. They will be able to make the necessary text edits with your event’s specific details.
The National Administrative Office uses Mid Valley Press out of Verona, Virginia. They charge just over $300 for 225 invites and envelopes. They are very helpful and can ship to any location. Contact Brent Fellows at email@example.com or (540) 463-1865 if you need assistance or need an updated list of mailing addresses for your Court or alumni in the area.
Getting alumni to commit to your event is key. Whether it is getting Court members to attend, friends of inductees to join in celebrating their brother, or getting brothers in the near area to join in the fellowship. Utilize regular emails, Mailchimp or EventBrite’s free email platform, Call-em-all.com, texting services, or just regular phone calls to get word out about the event.
A nice gift can be a great way to create a lasting reminder of a fantastic event. They could be for everyone that attends, only KA brothers, or just special guests or contributors to the event. The best place to find gifts/favors is at the Order’s official online store at http://KAonlineStore.com.
If you can’t find what you are looking for KAonlineStore.com, you can always have a custom item designed and made using a Greek Licensed Vendor. To find a vendor near your or one that produces the item that you want, visit http://GreekLicensing.com. Click “Find Products,” then type in “Kappa Alpha Order” and the type of item you are looking for. All of these vendors are recognized by KA to properly display the Order’s trademarked logos. They all have access to print quality artwork and images.
Here are some ideas for event gifts/favors.
- Lapel Pins
- Mug or Glass
- Cuff links
Order Certificates & Jewels
To order Court of Honor certificates and jewels, use this form to order Court of Honor certificates and jewels. Contact Kristy Reed at the National Administrative Office by calling (540) 463-1865 for any questions.
- Programs are great for keeping everything on schedule and informing guests. They are also a nice keepsake for attendees to take home. Check out Kappa Alpha Order’s Brand Standards for fonts, colors, and imagery to use in your program. You can print these at home on nice paper, or utilize vistaprint.com or your local FedEx Office. If printing at home, you might consider purchasing nicer paper. The National Administrative Office uses Neenah Exact Vellum Bristol. Here is a sample program that can be modified for your needs.
- Name Tags
- Name tags can add great value an event, especially if there is a large group of people who don’t already know each other well. They can also expedite the check-in process if they are pre-printed. For smaller event, you might consider purchasing 3” x 4” nametag kits from Amazon or Walmart or adhesive name badges. For larger events, you may want to consider com or PCnametag.com for 3” x 4” horizontal nametags (PCnametag or BadgePro) and holders. Both companies also have the option to print your event’s branding onto them. Print your court’s corresponding template design in the “Full Sheet Designs” folder using a color printer. Make sure to select “Actual Size” in your print settings. Then utilize the nametag sheet excel document and word mail merge document to print your names.
- If you need visuals for a presentation or to show one of KA’s videos, you might want to consider utilizing one of KA’s PowerPoint templates. Drop in your content and connect to a projector or TV.
- Turning a regular meeting space into a KA event can be done pretty easily with an flags (American, state, & KA flags on poles), miniature KA flags in centerpieces, programs, pop-up banners, podium banner, and napkins. For help acquiring any of these items contact Brent Fellows.
- Ceremony Roles
- In addition to assigning the Preceptor and Registrar roles for the ceremony, it is beneficial to include other alumni. Some court ceremonies have ushers escort and bestow jewels on the new inductees. Be sure that those helping in the ceremony know what to do.