Having booths or tables at events is a popular way for agencies to get out into the community, engage with families, and boost recruitment efforts. While having a booth can get your information and resources in front of lots of people, it also has the potential to reach those who are not likely to become licensed foster parents for your agency. If you have had a booth or table in the past and didn’t get much out of it, we have are few ideas that might help make your next info or resource booth more worthwhile and successful.
- Get out from behind the table! Work on engaging the folks who approach your table and begin building relationships. If your booth attendee is sitting and on their phone, it does not look inviting for people to approach or talk with you.
- Partner with the entertainment or the event’s MC. Utilize them to drive attention to your table. Perhaps you can also get up on stage or on the public address system and say a few words about why you are there. Be clear about what you are asking of people, such as inviting them to come by your booth to learn more about foster care in your community.
- Use a guest speaker. This could be a current or former foster parent or a former youth in care. They can speak compellingly about their experiences and make the idea of foster care real. They can also help demystify what foster families look like.
- Have a sign-up sheet. Capture contact information from folks who show interest in foster care. Then, follow up with them promptly after the event. People are more likely to follow through or learn more about foster care if they don’t have to wait a long time to hear back from someone. This is an opportunity to engage potential foster parents and begin to build relationships with them.
- Mingle with the other vendors. Don’t forget about the other vendors at the event! Share your message with them, why you are there, what the needs of your community are. They, too, have the potential to be foster parents or they could be possible recruitment partners, donors, or sponsors to help you get the word out about the need for foster parents in your area.
When you are looking for opportunities to host an information booth, seek out community events that will appeal to families. You ideally want to be in a setting with people who have the potential to foster or who may show interest in learning more about foster care. Remember, on average, it takes people a couple of years to follow through with becoming licensed, and people need to hear about the need for foster parents over and over before they make a commitment. Your booth might be their first exposure to your message about your community’s need. Or, it might just be the last time they need to hear about the need for foster parents to follow through with becoming your next Rock Star foster family!