Tabling is a great way to increase visibility for your Jewish student association and spread the word about your work. But there’s more to it than sitting at a table with brochures. Read the guide below to learn how to plan a tabling event that recruits new members and engages your community on Jewish student issues.
What Is Tabling?
Tabling can help you raise awareness and garner support for an issue, advertise for events, and recruit new members. Set up a table with information and sign-up forms and then engage with passersby to recruit them as members, inform them about issues facing Jewish students, and perhaps ask them to take action on something.
Before the Event
Choose a Location
Set up your table in a high-traffic area with good visibility. If people can’t see your table from far away, they will be less likely to stop by. This could be outside the student union building, in front of a campus cafeteria, the university library or maybe the sports center.
Choose a focus
Jewish student associations do a lot of good work, but it can be overwhelming if it’s all displayed on one table. Instead, choose a specific issue or program to focus on (such as Jewish festivals, issues affecting Jews or your next event) during your tabling event. Choose an issue that will be relevant to the specific audience.
Plan an ask or two
Tabling should do more than just inform people about an issue. You also want them to take action! Once you select an issue or program to focus on, choose a specific way you’ll ask them to get involved. Ask them to attend an upcoming event, join your mailing list, or sign a petition. If your tabling location has internet access and electrical outlets available, you may be able to set up a laptop for people to take action immediately at the table.
Recruit and train volunteers
Tabling is an easy way for new and seasoned members alike to contribute to your groups work. Encourage all your members to be a part of your tabling activities, and build their skills and confidence by providing training ahead of time. Fill them in on your focus, asks, and the tabling best practices shared in this resource. Then have them role-play engaging passersby and give them feedback.
Advertise your event
Put up flyers, post on social media, and send e-mails announcing when and where you will be tabling. The more people know about your table in advance, the more people will stop by.
Print copies of your petition, pledge, or sign-up forms. Order a banner, sign, or tablecloth for your association (you'll find lots of websites where you can do this) if you don’t already have one. Make sure you have any advocacy materials you need.
Consider tabling with a video
Video is a fantastic tool to help you engage with future members and show the world what you do. Use a laptop to play the video continuously when you table; it will attract attention and add a visual element to your ask. To avoid having to rely on Wi-Fi or internet access, download the video file beforehand. Before the event, find the closest power outlet, figure out whether you will need an extension cord, and practice running the video.
During the Event
Make sure to have at least one Jewish student association member standing in front of the table who can approach people as they walk by instead of waiting for people to come to them. It helps to develop a good “stopper” line — something you can say to grab their attention and draw them toward the table.
Make your ask
Ask them to get involved, and wait for a definitive answer. Also make sure to get their contact information so that you can keep them informed about your group’s work.
Have a giveaway
People are enticed by freebies and are more likely to stop by your table if they get something for doing so. Have branded giveaways if you can such as pens, highlighters etc! Stickers are really easy to make and as with banners, there are plenty of websites where you can order gimmicks from for cheap prices..
After the Event
Get in touch with the people who took action at your table. E-mail will work, although a phone call can be more personal. The follow-up conversation is an opportunity to confirm their attendance at your upcoming event or make another ask, such as coming to a future branch meeting. After your event, don’t forget to write up a press release to send to your local paper (Jewish or campus).