If your church is interested in labor issues and advocacy, you probably talk often about supporting fair trade. There are economic, social and environmental standards that organizations must meet in order to be fair-trade certified. They have to commit to not only paying a price that ensures a livable wage for workers for the commodities they use but also verifying that ethical practices such as a safe working environment and the absence of forced labor are principles that are followed.
Hosting a fair-trade booth at your church or a local market is a good way to introduce people to the concept. It may take a lot of time to make a plan, but if you follow these tips, your booth is more likely to be successful.
As soon as you know the date and location of your booth, start spreading the word. An announcement in the bulletin or on the church website is a good place to start, but there are other things you can do to create curiosity:
- Social media posts that invite people to explore their spending habits and start to imagine how fair trade can fit into them
- Flyers that list different types of products with fair trade equivalents that viewers may already have in their homes
- Short videos that can be aired at the beginning of service that alert congregants to the event and how they can get involved
Offer Free Samples
People love to try things out before they commit to a purchase. Offering free samples of fair-trade products is a great idea for your booth, but it can also help you find interested volunteers. In the weeks leading up to the event, get permission to serve fair-trade coffee, tea and snacks during the social time before and after church services. That may be all it takes to whet the right people's appetites for becoming full-fledged advocates.
When you are setting up your booth, designate a spot for samples. You don't need to offer a wide variety. In fact, you may choose to focus on one product, such as coffee, chocolate or dried fruits. Make sure the samples are clearly marked and strategically placed so that it will be easy to engage in conversation with visitors while they enjoy the treats.
Create an Organized Display
The rest of your booth can be comprised of products, informational materials or a combination of both. Most coffee and tea lovers already have their favorite choices, so if you want them to try something new, you need to give them a compelling reason to do so. You should have pamphlets or brochures they can take with them and peruse on their own. If the event allows you to sell products, it's a good idea to have a few items they can choose from. The easier you make it to try new products, the more likely they are to make the switch.
Designate Knowledgeable Volunteers
While many people will read the materials they take away from your booth, they'll be more inclined to remember to do so if the people working the event are enthusiastic and knowledgeable about fair trade and its importance. Before the day of the event, go over various talking points with your team. Search for educational materials you can review together to make sure you're all on the same page. It's also a good idea to take turns practicing a general spiel with each other so that everyone is comfortable with the material before the day of the event arrives.
The principles of fair trade mirror many of the ethical convictions of people of faith worldwide. Hosting a successful fair-trade booth at your church or a community event gives those who share your values a solid way to put them into practice.