Tabling (especially at club fairs)

Description

At the school club fair, have a table or join the table with your Partner Group to gain visibility, members, and subscribers.

Goals

  • Establish visibility
  • Hand out educational materials
  • Sign up new club members
  • Get subscribers for weekly newsletter

Theory of Change

  • Establishing visibility early on in the academic year provides greater opportunities to get new members when they're still deciding their commitments to clubs and activities
  • Early membership signups increase participation rates and give the club more legitimacy. It all adds up to bigger impact.

Logistics

Costs and food

  • Printing for educational and informational handouts
  • Schwag to give way (attract more people to your table) 
  • Food (attract more people to your table). Have things that are easy to eat on the go, nothing that requires a plate or utensils (or even a napkin)

Target / likely audience

  • You’ll most likely get enthusiastic men who are hoping to join a group like this 
  • You also might get braver men who are curious but don’t know that much about allyship. They will probably have many questions.
  • You may get a few skeptics or somewhat hostile people who ask questions like “Do you hate men?” or "Why isn't there a men in business club?"

Location / Participation Size

Ask the club fair organizers what happens if it rains so that you can be prepared with contingencies.

A/V Needs

  • Bring a computer so you can register people for membership and your newsletter then and there. That being said, make sure to have backup paper signups in case a bottleneck starts to form to use the computer – this can drive people away – and input their data yourself later.

Other resources needed

  • Computer for signing people up
  • Informational handout about allyship group
  • One pager or guide about what allyship is
  • Some kind of schwag to give away: pins, pens, stickers, t-shirts. Something that people attract folks to the table and that they'll wear as a sign of their support and/or affiliation with the club
  • Have food. In addition to encouraging people who otherwise might not stop by to engage, it also gives people who want to drop in something to do when approaching. Sometimes people need a reason to come over – even if they’re interested – because of social dynamics.
  • Create a way for people to submit anonymous questions and topics that they’re interested in learning more. This way you're also collecting information on how to best engage the incoming class. 

Roles and responsibilities

  • Program lead Ensure coordination with WIB group who will probably also be tabling. Ensure coordination with administration who are setting up any kind of club fair tabling. Ensure that the table volunteers are charismatic and engaging people
  • Table operators
    • You should have one male and one female table operator for the allyship club. Table operators should be extroverted, willing to get people to come and talk to their table, even if they’re walking by, to engage with strangers and to be excited about the club. Kind of like a toned down carnival barker.

Tips and pitfalls

  • Having some kind of draw to your table that’s engaging and meaningful will really put you a step ahead of other tables and get people to visit. Some idea: ​
    • Interactive poster that shows the dwindling pipeline of women of color in corporate hierarchies that asks people to explain what they think is happening.
    • Have a poster with a simple guessing question. Could have "Guess how many CEOs in the Fortune 500 are women vs how many are named John or James or David"
  • Good handouts really help. People will have acquired a lot of info and handouts from other tables. Having something informative and eye catching increases the chance they'll actually look at it later and remember you.
  • It’s really important to have volunteers there who are excited and social and warm and welcoming people. First impressions matter.
  • If you're using an electronic sign-up method, make sure it's a one step process (or as few steps as possible). You want to eliminate any hoops/difficulties for people who may be on the fence and can be turned away by something as simple as having to type their name on one page and click to another page to type an email address.
  • Lack of preparation is the most common challenge since tabling seems like it's simple. But having great handouts, a computer and backup forms for signups, and an engaging poster or reason to come over make a huge difference.

Timeline

Summer before start of academic year

Coordinate with the WIB group early on in the summer so that (1) you can make sure to have enough space on the table for everything that you’re going to have (2) you will have great handouts ready to go

1 month prior

  • Finalize handouts
  • Recruit Table Operators
  • Ensure you have easy ways to subscribe people to membership and newsletter.
  • Choose something engaging to draw folks to your table
  • Order schwag (pins, stickers, etc)

1 week prior

  • Pick good table food to buy (or buy day before if it's perishable)
  • Print all handouts
  • Ensure that all signup and subscription processes work. Have paper backups in case they don't
  • Ensure you have enough volunteers for the entire period
  • Complete the engaging attraction for your table

1 day prior

  • Buy any perishable food
  • Double check handouts, schwag, signup processes, volunteer commitments, and table attraction

Event day prep

  • Coordinate with Partner group about table logistics
  • Make sure all handouts, food, etc arrives to table on time
  • Make sure volunteers know where they’re supposed to be and at what time

1 day after

  • From membership and email list collected: (1) email everybody thanking them for dropping in, (2) provide general info about the club, (3) announce the next club event

1 week after

  • From membership list and email list collected at event, email out summarized feedback

Communications

Communications to find Table Operators

Subject: Recruit new allyship members!

We need charming, charismatic, and extroverted folks to be a great first impression for incoming students! In other words, we need YOU!

[day] [date] 
[time]
[location]
Please RSVP here: [Link]

The table will be awesome this year with great schwag ([stickers, pins]), great food, a great way to get people engaged ([we've got a poster with a fascinating question]) and inspiring and enthusiastic folks (YOU!)