Tips For Volunteering at Events

Tim Barber
Board Member at Large

September 25, 2014, 11:31 AM

In my previous life, I worked as a political operative, organizing clubs at colleges.  In this vein, I learned a lot about attracting attention/new members at fairs, events, etc., and thought I would share some tips for CORP members who volunteer at PR events:

1.  Don't just stand around talking to other club members and drink beer.  Having an attractive booth/display is good, but most people will walk right by unless you engage them.
2.   ENGAGE THE PUBLIC.  Ideally, we should have brochures/flyers or other lit. to hand out at these events.  Even if we don't, booth volunteers still need to engage the public.  Generally, a 1 sentence "elevator pitch" for the Joe Blow passerby works:  "Hi, have you heard about CORP?  We build and maintain all of the mountain bike trails in Dane County.  Are you interested in mounting biking?"   The idea is to engage them in conversation and let them know about the club and what we do.  If people show some interest, then move on to number 3.
3.  GET INFORMATION.  If someone shows interest in the initial pitch, or approaches the table, chances are they want to talk and find out more about the group.  This is where you can chat up all the good things the club/IMBA does, the trail work, group rides, social events, skills clinics, etc.  Try to keep these to 5 min. convos so you can move on to others.  The important point is at the end, to get some contact information.  Even an e-mail address is good.  If they are interested and want to learn more, say that they can get notices for events by giving their e-mail.  Also, make sure to let them know about CORP's web address and the trail update features. After you get their info, move to "the ask."
4.  GET A COMMITMENT:  If someone is interested in the group and has been talking with you, you need to have an "ask" at the end of the conversation.  Based on their interest level, this can be as simple as:  "We are having a workday next week, do you think you can make it?"  For us, the ultimate "ask" is to get someone to sign up as a member.  Ideally, we would have a laptop set up where they could sign up on the spot.  If we don't, make sure they know to select CORP as their local chapter on the IMBA website.
5. MOVE ALONG:  If you have gotten their info and a commitment, politely thank them and move on to the next person.  Try and avoid the 1/2 hour chatter.  The idea at these events is maximum exposure to the greatest number of people.

Hope this helps!



September 25, 2014, 12:23 PM

Thanks, good info!