A well-planned seating arrangement will ensure that guests feel comfortable and contribute to your events success.
Planning for your next fundraising event is a lot of work. You need to find the venue, organize staff, create a seating plan and so much more. It can be overwhelming! However, one of the most important parts of any successful fundraising event is ensuring that guests are seated in an organized manner.
Don’t wait until the last minute to plan seating arrangements
The most important thing is to plan ahead. If you wait until the last minute to decide on seating arrangements, it won’t be fun for anyone. You’ll be stressed out trying to place people in awkward spots, and your guests might feel like they’re being put at the “bad” table. This is a situation you can easily avoid with forethought and event management tools.
Create a seating arrangement in advance
Planning seating arrangements in advance can help you avoid last-minute changes and ensure that everyone has the best possible experience at your event.
The first step is deciding where you want people seated. Consider the layout of your venue and whether there are any factors (e.g., size or noise level) that might make certain areas more suitable for one type of guest than another. Once you have a basic idea of how many tables will fit into your venue, draw out where each table will go so that it fits within the space comfortably. This isn’t just about fitting people around tables; it’s also about creating an environment!
TIP: Work with your venue or rental company for a professional CAD drawing of your event layout.
An organized seating plan is essential to ensure your fundraising event is successful and everyone has a great time.
It’s also important for you to know how to seat your guests so that if something does go wrong, you can fix it quickly and easily! The most important thing about planning the seating arrangements at your next charity dinner or fundraiser event is flexibility. The more options available for changing things around the better prepared you will be for anything unexpected. This most commonly occurs when guest names change.
One of the most overlooked aspects of any fundraising event is the seating plan. It’s often assumed that as long as everyone has somewhere to sit and food on their plate, everything will be fine. This couldn’t be further from the truth! A well-organized seating plan is essential to ensure your fundraising event is not only successful but that everyone has a great time.
Benefits of a Well Organized Seating Plan:
- Make the guest feel comfortable in their surroundings. This will increase the likelihood they will engage with other guests and be more likely to bid on items, donate, and return next year.
- Help you identify who are your key supporters at the event so you can build up relationships with them throughout the year.
- Ensure that guests get an opportunity to meet new people, opening up conversations between strangers which could lead to greater opportunities for everyone.
Number of guests per table, table shape, and size, number of tables
The size of your tables, both in number and square footage, will be largely dependent on the number of guests you expect. You’ll need to break them up into groups of 8-10 usually, and seat them at separate tables (round or rectangular). Another fun idea would be to lay out larger tables for family-style seating. The ideal number varies based on the venue and its layout; so use common sense here!
If possible, avoid having groups with more than 8 guests at each table as they may feel too crowded. A typical table for 8-10 people is usually 60-72 inches round. The size of the room can also impact how many people fit comfortably into each group. There must be enough space between tables for servers to pass through unobstructedly to best serve guests.
Event Registration and Check-in
Volunteers can check people in, give them their table assignments and add credit cards to supporter files (if applicable). You can have multiple volunteers checking people in or one person designated as the official “check-in” volunteer. As a check-in best practice, we suggest 1 check-in station per 75 attendees. If additional information is being handed out to guests (e.g. programs, bid cards, etc.), plan to have a few “runner” volunteers.
It depends on how many volunteers you have available, but make sure there is someone who can handle this task well.
Event Management Software
Event management software is crucial to the success of your fundraising event. You need software that is easy to use, but also compatible with other systems in your business. This means choosing a system that will interface with your computer system, mobile devices, and website seamlessly.
If you are a nonprofit that hosts multiple events throughout the year (and maybe even nationally), it is beneficial to have an online registration tool. With Greater Giving’s Fundraising Event Software Suite you can sell tickets, assign tables, create seating arrangements, and track meal preferences. Using these tools gives your event a more polished and organized presentation.
In Greater Giving Online, you have multiple ways of allocating an admission to a guest:
- RSVP is a method of allocating tickets that involves a URL being generated. Supporters using that URL can RSVP for a particular purchase. Great for offline sponsorships or table purchases.
- The Project Website has Registration, Sales, and Cash Donation pages. Once created, Supporters can access to purchase their own tickets and add their information to each ticket.
- Importing Supporters allows you to take a spreadsheet and import a large (or small) number of Supporters all at once.
- Admissions can also be manually allocated to guests.
Having a well-organized seating plan is essential to ensure your fundraising event is not only successful but that everyone has a great time. It’s also important for you to know how to seat your guests so that if something does go wrong, you can fix it quickly and easily! The most important thing about planning the seating arrangements at your next charity dinner or fundraiser event is flexibility. The more options available for changing things around as necessary, the better prepared you will be for anything unexpected.