Not all events are equal
If you are organizing an event, such as a gala, in which you want to allow organizations or individuals to pay extra for additional participants (e.g. a "sponsorship" package that allows multiple employees from the same organization to attend) or you want to allow an organization or individual to purchase a table, then a special work flow is required.
This work flow addresses one primary need: when signing up for a sponsorship or a table, the registrant rarely knows the names of the people who will be attending yet you will want to record the full details of all the additional participants in your database. Therefore, this approach to event planning requires a work flow for your organization to regularly follow up with the registrant to get the contact details for the additional participants.
If you do not need to record the details of the additional registrants, then you can use a simpler workflow (contact support for details).
The general idea is that people can choose either to register normally as an individual or they can choose to purchase a table or a sponsorship.
Whenever someone registers as a sponsor or to purchase a table, immediately follow up with them to ask for the names and contact info for the people they want to bring. This process may take some time and will happen over a period of a few weeks. As the individual names are provided, manually register each one for the event without processing a payment (since their payment is covered by the sponsor or person purchasing the table). When registering them, note in the event participation record which table or sponsor they belong to. You might optionally create a relationship between this registrant and the paying registrant (if one doesn't exist already).
Your first step is to create a custom participant field so you can track which sponsor or table a registration belongs to. This field will not be exposed on the public registration page, but will be available to your organizers during the leadup to the event and when planning your tables.
Next, please choose between two slightly different approaches.
Keep it simple and separate
If you want to keep things simple and separate:
- Create a contribution page specifically designed for sponsorships and/or tables for your event.
- Create an event registration page that is only used for individual registration and contains a link to the contribution page for people who want to sponsor or buy a table
Keep it together
On the other hand, you might want to have just one event registration page and not force people to click on a different link for sponsorship and tables. In that case you will want to create a price set first.
The price set should include an option for "sponsorship" or to purchase a "table" that is priced accordingly. When creating this price option, do not enter a number in the "Participant Count" field. If you do, then the total number of participants will be artificially boosted by this number for everyone who picks this option. We don't want this because we will be adding all of these participants in as full participants and we don't want them double counted.
If you are organizing tables - then you may want to put the maximum number of available tables in the "Max Participants" field to ensure you don't over-sell the tables that are available.
Want more info on seting up price sets like this? Check out our screencast on complex price sets.
With this price set created, you now can just build out one event registration page with options for individual registration or sponsorship/tables.
Reporting and Managing
To help keep tabs, create an Event - Participant report that filters by your event and only show participants with a value in your custom field (either the "Table Number" or "Sponsorhip Name"). Sort by this field - so all the records belonging to one registration will be grouped together.
If you want more fine-grained control, you can export to a spread sheet.