We’ve all heard the stories: droves of employees rushing by tables at huge fairs, with the only evidence that a person actually existed in that space is your now empty table and the dust cloud settling before you. Yet – you didn’t actually get to have a conversation with them!
Sharing your program in-person and having conversations with people is a powerful opportunity. We want to help you take advantage of it.
First, we try to do our part. We find ways to encourage our employees to talk to you through our passport program, scheduling the opportunities at ideal times, and promoting the events. If your tabling opportunity doesn’t include an incentive like this – talk to the organizer about something that might work.
Now it’s your turn.
Pro Tip #2: Top Tabling Tips
Interactive – Make your table interactive. Give people a reason to come talk to you.
- Bring an Animal – We can’t help ourselves if we see an animal we want to pet it, coo, and ask questions. Animals are incredible ice-breakers. AND if it is an animal available for adoption – you have a very high likelihood of adopting the pet out. Here personally, we have 100% adopt out rate from one of our nonprofit organizations.
- Display – Do you provide a specific tangible item in your work? Bring an example: a dummy for CPR, a water filtration system, an eye test, etc. One of my most memorable nonprofits brought a balance board. You stood on it while simultaneously doing tasks to simulate the experience of having a neurological condition. It was very powerful!
Visual – Make sure that within 6 feet someone can identify you or what you do with a large visual display. There are generally two types of responses to displays with little to no information: curiosity and fear. Take the fear out of the equation. It doesn’t have to be expensive – a simple foam core board tri-fold with large bright pictures works great. It could be a table cloth with your name on it or one of those free-standing displays.
Welcoming – Open body language makes it safe for people to come talk to you. Smile, connect, and say hello. Whenever I look around a room and see tables where employees are stopped, the nonprofit rep is usually standing, sharing, listening, and interacting with their materials.
Impact Statement – In almost everything we do, and definitely when it comes to giving, we connect with the “Why” you are doing what you do. It is a personal decision. You may not have long with someone so they need to know your “Why” very quickly. Make sure you have your 30-second pitch ready to go. Most importantly, in the span of a few minutes you are prospecting each other. Is there alignment? That won’t always be the case and that is okay. The goal is to create a relationship where there is.
Take away – Essentially, when people leave your table the goal is for them to take action. Whether it is giving, volunteering, using your services, or sharing your “Why”. The easiest way for people to do that is with something to take away. It can be a brochure, a business card, a magnet, or flyer. Use last year’s Annual Reports that you have left sitting around. Swag is also fun – but that is more in the interactive/visual category. It doesn’t usually contain the information a donor needs.
AND – it should include the shortest distance for them to take action. For example, since our context is a workplace giving program, including our 4 digit code right on the materials reduces the amount of time the employee has to spend in making a pledge to you.
What tabling tips would you share? How can a hosting organization help you more? Let me know in the comments below.
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