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Jul 02

Executing a Church Booth at a Fair

Posted by: Steve Marr

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A person responsible for running a church booth at a local fair asked a question.  “Molly” needed some ideas on how to make the booth more appealing. I took a different approach.

Local fairs attract good crowds, unless weather becomes a problem. Many booths sell something; a few are used to recruit members or help.

If you plan to sell something use a sign or display the produce with a clear “For Sale” sign.  For example, if you had kittens to sell, place a “Kittens for Sale” close by.

What is not so clear to most people running booths at a fair is how to get people to join your organization, but the strategy is the same. You have to identify what it is you have to offer and decide how to convince people to accept your offer. If you are selling the idea that they should join your organization or church, you are going to have to come up with a very powerful reason.

I asked, “How many people have joined the church as a result of the booth?” The answer was none. “But we need to offer gospel tracts and introduce people to our church,” Molly explained.  She also wanted people to sign up for e-mails that advise people of upcoming events. I agree these are worthy goals.

I found out that they offered free drinks and candy for the kids. While many people picked these up, few offered their e-mail address or picked up any literature.

My follow-up question was “Why should someone sign up for your e-mail list? How are you relating to a specific hot button that would make them interested to sign up?  In other words, what is Unique Service Proposition for the church? I advised them not to set up their booth at the fair until the church is sure about its USP. 

With the USP in mind, the church should design one program for people who like to go to fairs that will meet a specific need. This should hit some peoples’ hot button. Better to hit one or two people’s hot button than to reach for many warm buttons. 

I also suggested offering specific classes targeted to specific problems like money management or how to discipline children or how to care for an aging parent.  The program should connect strongly with the USP and core strength of the church. It could be a three-week evening seminar on one of these topics.

Jesus said, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16, NIV) A light reveals only what is in the path of the beam.  Be certain what the beam lights up is the key strength of the church.

Setting up a booth requires planning that should begin several months in advance, not the week before. The church’s outreach should be based on the USP and present a consistent image to anyone who passes by. The booth should offer one thing that targets peoples’ hot button.  You could use a general brochure for the church, but create a targeted program that meets the needs of a specific group. Avoid the wide, shot gun approach.  You may get a lot of lookers; but few, if any, will follow up. If the church does not come to grips with this issue, then skip the booth and save your effort for other projects.


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