TIPS FOR TABLING
Street fairs, ethnic and neighborhood festivals, political events, homecomings, flea markets, university spaces, bake sales, white elephant and garage sales are all great places to spread the word about Bastard Nation and open records. Although you will need to make an initial investment for supplies, you may already have much of what you need in your garage or basement.
Below are some tips to help you evangelize successfully and painlessly for any type or size of recruitment event. If you have something helpful that’s worked for you and is not included here, please let us know and we’ll add it to the list. This can be as simple or as elaborate as you want — all you really need is some BN literature, a sign, and a table to put it on.
To learn what events are taking place in your area that could be appropriate venues for a Bastard Nation table–or in the case of large events–booth– read your city, alternative, neighborhood, and local college newspapers, community organization calendars, and church bulletins. Libraries and public bulletin boards, in mainstream establishments (grocery stores, doctor’s offices) , university student unions, and “alternative” stores (specialized book stores, health food stores, ethnic restaurants) are good places to pick up community information, too.
Apply early. Many spaces are given on a first-come, first-serve basis. Some venues are free, others require a non-refundable application fee and/or a rental fee.
If you aren’t able to link up with another event, you can still set up a table in a high-traffic area (as long as you have permission from store-owners or others whose property you want to use) and go for it!
Create a Faacebook page for your event or simply announce it on your own FB page and get your friends to share it; and, of coures, tweet it. Take out an ad in the event guide. For university tablings, run an ad in the school newspaper and distribute flyers around campus. Send out PSAs to radio stations and short announcements to local newspaper calendars. Post flyers in supermarkets, kiosks, and bars.
Shelter: When working outside use a canopy or tent, the easier to assemble the better. These are sold at flea markets and hardware stores and usually cost less that $100. Be sure that your shelter and display fit the space limits set by the event sponsor. Make your space fun and recognizable. If you’re one of those lucky people who own a BN banner, fly it! If not find other ways to decorate your space attractively that will bring attention to your space and Bastard Nation. (NOTE: With enough lead time we may be able to help you with with a design template for your signage.)
Tables and Chairs: Determine if your venue will furnish a table and chairs. If not, be prepared to bring your own. One or two folding tables– 30″x72″–are best since they will usually fall within space limitations. Heavy-duty tables are available at office supply stores; folding aluminum tables in the outdoor furniture section of discount stores . Also bring a couple of lawn or golf chairs. If you will be working outside also bring a hassock or footstool, something to put you feet up on for those long hours. Make your space homey and comfortable with India print table covers. Bring a plant or vase of flowers. and some candy.
Lamps for evening use: A space without light won’t attract much attention at night Outdoor events usually include free electricity with the space, so bring a small lamp or a clip-on light for night use. Some venues allow larger lights. Use extension cords and other electrical devices that are authorized by the sponsor.
Displays: If you can afford it, purchase a portable display case, especially if you plan to do a lot of recruiting. Otherwise, display boards can be purchased for about $10, and you can design your own presentation. Cases and display supplies can be purchased at large office supply stores. You can also set up a video or power point presentation, though though personally I find them boring and there’s usually too much outside distraction to be of any value
An exception: Make your own video or acquire permission from the owner of a video; burn copies and distribute them free of charge.
Display supplies: Pack eve5rthing in plastic tubs with secure tops. Posters, construction paper and/or colorful wrapping paper, transparent tape, masking tape, pins, thumbtacks, magic markers, scissors, regular and heavy duty staplers, a hammer and screw driver, pens, pencils, clip boards, tablecloths.coverings, and plastic garbage bags for trash. If you don’t bring it, you’ll need it!
Literature: Download Bastard Nation brochures and position papers from our website. “We also suggest that you design a local BN flyer for local contact information, a summary of your state’s record access law, a list of relevant Internet resources and adoption-related books. and a list of local or state search and support groups. You might also want our summary list of access laws for each state, a notebook with a collection of newspaper articles about BN–or individual news stores regarding our work–and other material appropriate for your locality and venue. Be sure to include a sign-up sheet for those who are interested in Bastard Nation and open records in your state.
NOTE: you or your group are responsible for making and paying for all copies.
Food and Drink: Bring something to eat and drink. You may end up alone and unable to take a break. Outdoor events usually prohibit glass containers, so bring juice or pop in plastic bottles.
Permits: If you plan to sell items or solicit donations you will need city/county/state permits. (Most likely you will not need all of these!) When you are accepted, the event organizer should send you information on how to obtain these permits. If not, ask since you will need some lead time for this. Though the permit process is simple, it can be time consuming, and part of it may include a police check. Contact the Bastard Nation Executive Committee (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you need specific information such as tax numbers.
Sale Items: The Bastard Boutique is currently closed, but we have a limited number of tees, jewslery and buttons available offline. Just contact us. If your event is longer than a few hours you may want to consider not selling items. since security can be a problem. Dragging plastic tubs of sales items is indeed a drag, and it’s just not safe to leave them at your site, even with security. A very exp3nsive Bastard Nation flag was once stolen in the middle of the night
Besides workers for your space, you might be asked to furnish volunteers for security and clean-up, especially at outdoor events. If you don’t comply you may not be permitted to return next year. This is good project for spouses, SOs and older kids. There are also hangers-on, especially at night, who don’t want to go home, and would like nothing better to do than walk around with a walkie-talkie and look important. Sign them up to work for BN. Venues sometimes take payment in lieu of physical bodies, so if you are concerned that you cannot furnish volunteers, it’s worth the check.
Follow all venue rules. Be prompt and leave on time. Don’t solicit outside of your space unless permitted to do so. Be a good Bastard and clean up when you leave.
IF YOU CAN’T TABLE…
leave BN brochures at libraries, book stores, coffee shops; tack them to public bulletin boards, send them with your bill payments, leave them with a tip (but be sure to leave a tip, too!)
DON’T FORGET TO WEAR YOUR BN T-SHIRT–HAVE FUN!
Marley Greiner (updated March 26, 2012