You’ve spent months planning for this year’s fundraising event – so don’t overlook the importance of maximizing the functionality and flow of your room setup.
No matter what type of event you’re hosting, your space should be arranged for efficiency and convenience. Here are five simple tips to help get you started:
1. Use signs
Everything that your guests will need to use during the evening, from the bathrooms to the coat check, should be easily located by signage. If the party room is located in a big building, be sure to hang signs that let attendees know where to go right as they enter. Having to direct your guests throughout the evening is both a hassle for them and your volunteers.
Auction signage is also important for directing your guests to the bidding tables. This is especially true if you have items being displayed in multiple rooms. If you choose to divide your auction items in to categories (Sports, wine, culinary, travel, etc.) make sure each section is clearly marked. See if anyone on your committee can draw some simple cartoons that further illustrate each category.
Unless you are having a formal black-tie event, your signs don’t need to be anything too elaborate. Simple poster board and markers can go a long way to improving the guest experience.
2. Allow room for movement
Even if you’re hosting a sit-down dinner gala, guests are going to want to move around – and they should!
Leave enough space between tables so that attendees don’t feel uncomfortable attempting to get up, mingle and move. Circular tables are often a great solution for easy maneuvering and they also encourage conversation between everyone at the table.
3. Designate a mingle area
A big part of fundraising events is getting the chance to network and enjoy the social outing. If the whole venue is filled with tables, however, your attendees may be forced to sit and talk to only those at their table.
The solution: Leave an area open where guests can easily stand and interact with one another. A section near the bar and auction items is a good place.
4. Arrange tables to make bidding easier
If you’re hosting a silent auction, set up tables to make bidding as easy and efficient as possible. It’s important that donors are able to browse through the display tables without hitting a dead-end. To prevent traffic jams, avoid U-shaped table arrangements.
5. Keep main activities away from the entryway
The entryway is a common bottleneck as people are arriving or leaving the event. Keep the area clear of dining or bidding tables and make sure you have volunteers positioned to keep people moving. This is especially crucial if you have a check-in table where people are waiting in line, because guests will see each other, socialize and hold up the rest of the line.
Encourage your guests to catch up inside (where there are drinks!) and keep the line moving along. You want guests to get in the event venue to have as much time to browse the auction items as possible!
The way you design your event space isn’t just about looks. It’s about functionality. Make sure your guests have the space they need to see every auction item and have a good time socializing with their colleagues.