Part 3: Execution – Grab Attention for Your Table
Devote a significant portion of your preparation to develop an effective strategy to gain attention for your YAL chapter. Stand out from all of the on-campus distractions. You will compete with other groups, activities, and events for students’ time.
Think beyond bowls of candy or your spread of liberty books. Of course you’ll want a professional-looking table, but what else can you do?
Think big. Bold. Loud. Think of a display passersby simply can’t ignore.
Below are a few ideas which might turn heads and aid your efforts to draw new people to your table:
- If you are outside and it’s cold, give out hot drinks (cider, coffee, or hot chocolate) and advertise loudly that you have it…and that it’s FREE. Free food always appeals to students as an alternative to dining hall fare. Alternatively, pass out bottles of water if it is warm.
- Construct a frame for your YAL banner to raise it to eye-level. Most other organizations will have their signs draped in front of their tables. A frame placed directly behind a table can help keep YAL recruiters out in front. (Note: No hiding behind your table! Standing or — heaven forbid — sitting behind your table puts a barrier between you and potential recruits. Always, always stand in front of your table and engage anyone who even glances your way.)
- Create attention-grabbing displays, posters, and street art with themes related to “political homelessness.” You can apply for an Operation Politically Homeless kit here.
- If you have any members who might have a theatrical side, dress up as homeless people and conduct the OPH quiz. Possibly use this as a way to do some creative fundraising — the implications of what you can do should be obvious (panhandle!).
- Consider creating a large (as in up to 4-feet wide) Nolan chart to accompany the Operation Politically Homeless quiz. This will make it more fun and engaging than the typical size and make it more visual and recognizable to passersby.
- To check out some of the clever techniques and displays other chapters have used to recruit people, check out the Campus Activism Report tag on the YAL blog.