Tabling and Follow Up Technique
Having a strategically-planned, aesthetically appealing and well-staffed table on campus is one of the most standard ways of recruiting new members or arguing an important issue.
In tabling, members get the opportunity to explain the political philosophy behind YAL and logically respond to criticism. When tabling, here are some things to consider:
Find a central, high-traffic area on campus. These locations will seem pretty obvious to you. You may consider which school departments are likely to have a student body most interested in YAL and the mission.
The ideal tabling times are typically 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. The more you are exposed, the more likely someone is to stop by or return to your table. Be sure to arrive 30 minutes early to set up your table.
Besides promoting and recruiting for your chapter, tabling is also where you collect contacts. Have a sign-up sheet for interested students to gather the following information: name, email address, class year and major.
Always stand in front of the table. Standing behind the table will result in fewer sign-ups. Do not have a chair to sit on, and remind members not to congregate in a central group blocking the table. Always be inviting and friendly.
Provide a banner or sign, a display, loose pamphlets about your organization, loose flyers with information on upcoming meetings or events, and a sign-up sheet.
Since organizing libertarians is like herding cats, set up a schedule with hourly shifts for the table. Make sure to staff the tables more during meal times and class changes. Before tabling begins, send out an email and text reminding volunteers of their assigned times.
While you want to portray your political philosophy and chapter in a good light, try to keep debates and arguments to a minimum. If someone approaches your table and refuses to let down, have one of your more articulate members pull him or her to the side and continue the discussion. Time wasted on a debate is time you could have recruited more members. Besides, who wants to approach a table where people are yelling at each other?
Design your display to draw in students. Whether this is done with colorful pictures, politically incorrect statements, or an outgoing group of talkative members, you want your display to bring passerby in. Be sure to dress in your best YAL gear and avoid huddling in a group.
Right After Tabling
The goal of tabling is, of course, to recruit new liberty activists into your chapter. So once you've got a list of names and contact info for your recruits, you'll need to take several steps to ensure a large percentage of them actually get (and stay) involved. Here's a list you should generally follow as you turn recruits into loyal YAL members:
Upload all of your new members to the YAL site. This will make it infinitely easier to manage your new signups. This will also connect them to the broader youth movement for liberty. Check out this short tutorial on how to use the member upload tool.
Send that email you promised. Include the time, location, and purpose of your meeting and encourage recruits to attend. Keep it casual and make clear in your email that attending the meeting does not require students to join YAL -- it's not a commitment, just a time to have fun, meet new people, explore new ideas, and decide if they're interested in YAL activism.
Here is an example:
Thanks for signing up to learn more about the <<Campus Name>> Young Americans for Liberty -- we have big plans this spring and I hope you'll be a part of them!
First and foremost, I hope you'll join us at our first meeting of the semester.
It'll only take 30-40 minutes, and it will be a great opportunity to make new friends, learn more about the philosophy of liberty, and find out what you can to do to advance freedom.
When: <<Day, Month Date @ Time>>
Where: <<Building, Room Number>>
Like our Facebook page and RSVP here <--- hyperlink your FB event URL
Come ready to learn, and feel free to bring friends!
<<Campus Name>> YAL
Prior to Your Meeting
Send a reminder email. Be sure to keep your recruits and members in the loop with a reminder email.
Pick up your phone. A phone call goes a long way. Make it a point to call every new sign up and invite them to your upcoming meeting. This will be the difference between 15 attendees and 50.
Send a text message reminder. Get out a text reminder to everyone on your list with your meeting time and location just before start time.