At first glance, hosting a dinner might seem outside of your comfort zone but Civic Dinners makes it easy -- we’ll help you recruit guests, send reminder emails, and MOST IMPORTANTLY, we’ll supply you with a discussion guide for the dinner. All you have to do is provide the opportunity for people to have this conversation and follow the questions in the Host Guide! Simple :)
Check out this Video or follow the instructions below. OR click here to learn about hosting a Virtual Civic Dinner.
To host a dinner, first scroll down the homepage and choose a conversation. Can't pick because they're all so interesting? Pick your favorite color ;) Better yet, become a super host and host as many as you want!
Then choose the HOST A DINNER option.
You will be prompted from there to enter in your dinner details. You get to choose these. There are a million right ways to host, so choose what works for you! If you'd like ideas, feel free to ask us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Choose Open or Host Approval. You will be emailed specific details about your dinner and how to recruit guests a week before your dinner date.
Choose your dinner location. Restaurant or home or community space are all great options! When typing in the address of the venue, type slowly and wait for the address to appear in the dropdown box. Your full address will only be visible to those who sign up for the dinner. A more general location will be given to the public to see where dinners are being held.
A Civic Dinner has 6-10 people per table. If you're hosting in a home, you'll probably only have one table but if you're having a larger event, you'll be able to set the guest limit as large as you like. Just make sure you have someone ready to step up to read the provided questions. If your goal is to have 6 people attend your dinner, we recommend setting your max guest limit at 8.
If you're hosting in a home, you will be prompted to pick what kind of dinner this will be (potluck, provide main course, provide whole meal). You'll also be able to list details for your potential guests to see on the dinner page that will help them decide if the dinner will be a good fit for them. You may choose to give details about the meal, whether or not it will be wheelchair accessible, what parking will be like, etc. You're also able to say "I'll provide the whole meal (vegetarian enchiladas), please bring $5" or something like that.
You should see this "Success!" icon popup when you've officially registered your dinner. Yay! Next you'll want to invite guests. There are many ways you can do this. If you have emails of folks you'd like to invite, go ahead and click the button in your success pop-up that says, "invite guests by email" and they can rsvp that way. You can also go to your "my dinners" and find your dinner. Click on it and you will be taken to your custom dinner page. You can either copy and paste your custom link on social media, send via text, etc. or you can scroll down on your dinner page to the black bar that says "you are the host" and click on the yellow "invite friends" button there. You and your guests will automatically receive emails from us leading up to the dinner and afterwards to present you with the feedback survey.
If you need to change the details or cancel your dinner, go to your dinner page and click 'edit'
You will be taken to this page and any changes you make will prompt an automatic email to your guests notifying them of the change. If it's something small like a spelling error, you can click "skip message" so they won't be notified of your edits.
Then you're set!
Keep reading to learn more about what hosting looks like.
The most important thing to remember when hosting, is that a Civic Dinner is all about bringing different voices and perspectives to the table, and allowing everyone equal time to share. No need to be an expert on the topic!
Location, location, location
Connection is everything for a Civic Dinner and making sure everyone can hear one another is critical. 6-10 people per table in a quiet place. Each table requires it's own host.
Select the Menu
Most of the time, simple is best. If you are hosting at a restaurant, your guests can choose from the menu - make sure you make a reservation! If you are hosting at your home, you have many options, from ordering take-aways, cooking your favorite dishes or having a potluck. Feel free to make it what you want, while being conscious of any dietary restrictions your guests may have.
Once you have posted your dinner, then it’s time to invite guests. Civic Dinners will email you your event URL that you can share with friends, colleagues, neighbors or whomever you invite to attend. Personally asking people is most effective! You can also allow people to RSVP from the website who are interested in the conversation. Your address will only be visible upon confirmation. You’ll receive an email when someone RSVPs to your event and all guests will be notified of your information and can contact you directly if they need to.
Follow the Host Guide
Once you have your guests, and it’s the night of the dinner, have the Host Guide with you at the table. This is sent to you prior to your dinner via email. This guide provides an introduction for you to share, along with host tips and the big questions with prompts. Simply follow the guide and enjoy the conversation. Feel free to take brief notes of your conversation or designate an official note-taker to help capture some of the key ideas throughout the dinner.
Share your Experience
When we’re having fun, we often forget to document. So remember to take a photo of your entire dinner, and if possible, take some photos during the conversation and tag @civicdinners on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. We love seeing your photos and hearing your stories and experience. Also, after the dinner, we will follow-up with a survey to gather your insights.
Now you know what it takes to host a Civic Dinner! We thank you for your leadership in these important conversations and hope to see you at the table!
Hosting is easy and fun!
Happy hosting friends :)