When to use the "Additional guests" setting in your event
In this article:
- What is the “Additional guests” setting?
- How do I decide whether to use the setting?
What is the “Additional guests” setting?
The “Additional guests” setting is an optional setting available within each Little Green Light event that allows you to track more specific data about additional guests without requiring that each additional guest have an LGL constituent record created for them. It also allows you to group attendees underneath the umbrella of a "primary guest," such as when you want to track the guests of a table captain.
The simple rule for additional guests is that if you want to work with the additional guests like you would with constituents, don't use the feature. It's only intended to be used in cases where you don't need to track the additional guests beyond that one event.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Even without this setting, you can add as many guests to your event as you'd like, as long as they are all constituents in your LGL account. Or you can add the count of guests someone is bringing and the names of their guests in a simple text box within your event. But you would not be able to group them (i.e., under a table captain) without this setting. In addition, when you are using the "Additional guests" setting, you can only send emails and record gifts on those guests who have their own constituent record in LGL. (Please read through the Caveats section below for details.)
In a nutshell, the “Additional guests” setting lets you track additional guests without needing to add them as constituents to your account. This means you can create an invitation record for every event invitee, either within the event or through registration via an LGL form. This includes spouses, table guests, to-be-named guests, and so on. It also allows you to use your custom LGL event fields for every guest.
How do I decide whether to use the setting?
The table below lists the three options you can use for tracking additional guests in your LGL event, and what is possible with each one. Use this information, and the details provided in the rest of the article, to decide which option is best for your needs.
IMPORTANT NOTE: We strongly recommend deciding which method you will use to track additional guests BEFORE you set up the event. Changing the setting after you have started adding invitations and working with the event can lead to data problems.
Determining whether to use the setting depends, in large part, on one condition: Are all of your event guests (or will they eventually all be) constituents in your LGL account?
- If yes, you don’t need to use the “Additional guests” setting because you can track all the data needed within each invitee's constituent record
- If no, and you want to track data such as RSVP status or meal choice for additional guests, the “Additional guests” setting will enable you to do this
If your situation is not as clear as this yes/no scenario, please make sure you understand how registration has worked for this event for your organization in the past. Do you have a complete picture of which variables you will need to be prepared for? Skipping this important step in planning can place limits on how you design the data buckets for your event (and your LGL event registration form if you use one) if you make a choice before you understand all the different values you will need to account for.
TIP: As a best practice, enter several sample invitations into your event. Walk through the data entry with a colleague or someone who has experience with the event from the past. You will want to get your data design correct in LGL before you get started working on the event or working on an LGL form that will allow your guests to register for it.
These questions can help you further narrow down your choice:
- If you want to be able to track RSVP status for every guest, set up “Additional guests”
- If you want to track additional guests, are your attendees going to provide you with the correct names of their guests at the time of signup? If yes, then the “Additional guests” setting is a good option
- If you will not receive a complete and accurate list of guest names for invitee guests, you should not use the “Additional guests” setting
- If you need to manage data like meal choice and table assignment for every person, “Additional guests” will allow you to do so
- If you will be managing meal choice, table assignment, and other values for each person at your event AND every person attending your event will be a constituent in your database, you don’t need “Additional guests”
- If your invitees may bring guests whose name data you will receive, whose meal choice, etc. you will manage, and whom you don’t want to add to your database, you should use “Additional guests”
When you make your selection, keep in mind there are caveats to consider, no matter which choice you make. The sections below lay out what you can do, and what you can’t do, depending on whether you have the “Additional guests” setting turned on for your event.
For when you have “Additional guests” turned on
- You must track actual additional guests in your event. If you are not going to track additional guests, you should not use the setting.
- If you are importing data or mapping an event registration form in LGL, it is not possible to map the “Quantity” (number of tickets) field to the “Attendee Count” field
NOTE: The "Quantity" field can be used only in events that do NOT have “Additional guests” turned on. This field also is not usable, in importing or form mapping, for events that are tracking additional guests.
- You can print name tags (as long as you have correct and complete name data for each additional guest)
- You need to define every guest attending and make sure there is an invitation for each in order to have an accurate count of invitees and their guests
- Additional guests are not constituents, which means you can’t send mass email or other communications to them from the event to them regarding event details or other matters
In summary - “Additional guests” turned on
Say you are planning an event for which a guest has registered and is bringing two people. If you want to print name tags, you can do so. But you can’t add an attendee count in your invitation. Each invitation must represent an individual, not a group of people.
For when you don’t have “Additional guests” turned on
- One invitation record can have an attendee count of three, for example. This is useful because it tells you how many attendees you will have
- You can’t track any details such as table number or meal choice for the guests (only for the actual constituent invitee). In order to track this data, you would need to create a constituent for every attendee
- The attendee names can be added to the Guest Names field, as shown below:
- It is not possible to print name tags for all of your guests unless you have a constituent for each attendee in your database and an attendee count of 1 in each event invitation
In summary - “Additional guests” not enabled
Say you are planning an event for which a guest has registered and is bringing two people. One invitation record can have an attendee count of three, for instance. This is useful because it tells you how many attendees you will have. But you can’t track any details such as table number or meal choice. In addition, you can add attendee names into the Guest Names field, but it is not possible to print name tags for everyone at the event.