How To Decorate A Table For Tabling – Welcome to Be The Change, a series about grassroots activism, community organizing, and the basics of fighting for justice. Primarily didactic and occasionally theoretical, this series creates space to share advice, learn skills, and discuss “walking the walk” as an intersectional queer feminist.
After a year and a half hiatus, Be the Change is back, you guys, and we’re getting down to basics! If you’re new to the series, welcome! If you’ve been activating your brains and hearts this past year, I’m so happy to hear about it! If you’ve been trying to survive the daily trauma of the world by hiding under your covers with your chosen mate, I see you too!
How To Decorate A Table For Tabling
This is a space to share tips, tricks, theories and fun when it comes to activism and organizing. Today we’re zooming in on one of the most overlooked and underrated organizational tactics. Usually an afterthought, obviously misunderstood and often thrown together at the last minute, I’m talking about
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. Yes, putting things on the table, such as voting information or candidate brochures, and talking to people as they pass by your cause, campaign, candidate or issue to help them learn more about it and hopefully get involved.
You can just put a few things on a table and call it a day! But I bet we can take your activist game to the next level. Love it, make it really fun and functional, and much more power to you for your effort! I have some advice for you, pretty little activist!
It’s a draw if you’re sitting at a table. Looks like you’re having fun? Do you smile at people and make small talk (but not obnoxious teasing that singles people out because no one likes it)? Or are you sitting with your head down looking at your phone and not making eye contact with anyone? Guess which one is more likely to draw someone in!
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I’m not saying you have to be full to discuss your cause as an auctioneer (please don’t), but it sounds like you want to be there and would be happy to answer questions or chat or just generally hang out. with passers-by. The strategic deployment point is usually the distribution of information or the acquisition of information from a crowd. It’s a numbers game. The more people around your table, the more you’ll be able to achieve your goals, whether your goal is to stretch or engage or both. Plus, you’ll have a lot more fun!
Do not assign any volunteers to the table if you have a choice. Choose a volunteer who is truly passionate about your cause and has an outstanding personality, or who has experience introducing and engaging people from working with you in the past. Setting up tables is often that last or easy job that people are randomly assigned, but it will be a million times more effective if you see it as a skillful tactical job rather than just a place to seat any random person. a few boring hours of washing.
Free crap really is the best way to win the hearts and minds of the public. Sorry to be so blunt, but people walking by a table situation are usually just scanning your table to see what freebies there are. So, like, you have free stuff. Free stuff doesn’t have to cost a lot. Candy or food, in general, is always a big draw. Free custom pens are pretty cheap if you can afford to buy something in bulk. You can raffle for a valuable item as simple as a gift card to a local coffee shop. You can buy or make inexpensive stickers or buttons, screen print some cute notes, or make bookmarks. Post your freebies where people can see them as they walk by.
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A personal favorite “cheap thing” is buttons. I love a good button, funny buttons, political buttons, dark reference buttons, home button. I’ll stop by your desk for a button any day of the week.
When someone stops by to get some free stuff, they’re going to feel a little grateful to you for the freebie, so it’s the perfect time to ask them to sign your petition or join your mailing list or get some literature. Speaking of…
It never made sense to me to decide without some kind of purpose what you’re going to do with your visitors. Even if your goal is simply to distribute educational materials, actively pursue it! Table setting is also a great opportunity to sign petitions or letters. You can make a mini photo booth with a sign or cardboard photo “frame” and a hashtag. You can ask them to decorate a sign or banner that you will display somewhere.
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Once, back in the dark ages of digital organizing, when I was still using a real hand-held digital camera, I had people holding a small blackboard on which they wrote a personal message in support of a state trans rights bill. . I took a picture and sent it to their state senator with a letter that they also signed. In 2018, you can let people take their protest photos with a small whiteboard or chalkboard and then tweet them directly to elected officials.
Make your question easy and quick. Bonus points if it’s fun! At least have a simple sign-up sheet so you can follow up with people after the table is set up.
A person passing by your table should be able to immediately see what your organization and/or cause is all about. You don’t need professionally printed signs, just a BIG SIGN. Handmade signs drawn on flattened cardboard or poster board work great. What you don’t want is for someone to have to get too close to tell you what you’re talking about. As someone who is generally outgoing with very mild social anxiety, I’m unlikely to approach a table unless I know what I’m in for. I’ll jump right in (unless you have cute free buttons).
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An exception to this rule is if you can create some kind of display that is vertical or three-dimensional that is very, very exciting. The vertical or three-dimensional aspect is such that it can be seen from a distance. The thrill factor is up to you.
When I ran an advocacy program on campus, we did a ramen noodle letter writing event. Why ramen noodles? To draw attention to rising birth control prices under regressive federal policies,
. You see, contraceptives on college campuses would have gone from $25 to $50, which doesn’t seem like much until you think about how tight a student’s budget can be. We bought ramen noodles for $25 to visually show the cost difference for college students on a budget who might have to choose between groceries or birth control pills if their paychecks suddenly doubled. Of course people would be curious about the frame tower and stop and bam! We would receive a signed letter. Bonus: The ramen was served as freebies, and what college student doesn’t get a few free ramen noodles? We put stickers on the packets to remind people of the issue and handed them out at the end of the day. (I got the idea from another colleague and I can’t remember where that person worked or who it was, but thanks to you, former national colleague at Planned Parenthood!)
The 6 Things You Must Have On Your Recruitment Table
Even if you can’t create a super-intriguing image to draw people in, vertical displays help create interest. Something about the way our brains work makes people more interested in a brochure or flyer or sign standing on a stand than one lying on a table. Use cheap plastic bowls or baskets to hold your things. Use picture frames or plastic stands to display signs and samples of your literature. Display freebies in candy bowls or containers or in a clear glass vase.
Visualize where traffic is coming from, based on your location. Are you likely to get visitors from a specific direction because of your proximity to a door or attraction? Are you on a road with traffic in all directions? Are you at a home desk fair where people are likely to move in a circular path through the space? If you’re at an outdoor table fair, is there a natural side where the “curd” is likely to fall?
Arrange your table based on how you think people will approach your table. Place signs where people coming toward you are most likely to see them. Place your payments next to your registration or petition so you can easily jump to the question of someone receiving a free payment. If you have a donation can, make sure it’s visible to visitors but close enough to you to discourage someone from using it. If you are
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