How to "table" for The November Coalition

Tabling can be a successful way to educate your community and find others who will join our organization and become locally involved with November Coalition. A person can work alone, with a few friends or as an activity of a November Coalition group.

An informational table can be set up in a busy area of town, at community events, conferences-even at a city park near a sidewalk path that gets a lot of traffic. All you need is visibility and foot traffic - the more the better of course.

Know local regulations and get permission

If you choose a park or public area to table, you will have to get permission. Your City Hall can advise you about local regulations and any permits required. Permits are an easy application process, but remember, it may take up to a few weeks to get approval, so plan appropriately.

Find out if there are any restrictions on the type of equipment you can use. How big can your table be? How close to or distant from the sidewalk do you have to be?

We have display items that allow you to make a "gallery" of prisoner posters. Can you use additional grassy areas in this manner? A city clerk should be able to answer questions that might not be answered with the information you get with the permit application. Just ask.

Supplies you will need:

  • · Table - card table, perhaps two of them if you aren't working alone, or a folding table of any type. The lighter the better though.
  • · Chair - plastic lawn chairs or folding chair, again lightweight. If you have volunteers that will be helping you, remind them to bring a chair
  • · Literature - The November Coalition can provide you with the current issue of The Razor Wire for distribution to the general public.
  • · Posters - Our laminated posters can be mounted in a variety of ways - use your imagination and available resources. A chain link fence makes an excellent backdrop for the prisoner laminates.
  • · Tablecloth - a clean sheet or a plain tablecloth that will cover top and three exposed sides of your table.
  • · Donation jar - A jar is heavier than plastic or a can, but people give when they see that others give.
  • · Sign-up sheets - Some people you meet will want the opportunity to volunteer with you.
  • · Local, state, or national petitions - There may be drug reform initiatives or petition projects that you can gather signatures for. Check with other local or state drug reform activists for current voter initiatives, or with our national office.
  • · Banner - The November Coalition has a banner that can be fixed onto the back of your table by using thin wall conduit and clothesline rope, or can be draped on the front of the table and fastened to the table cloth.
  • · Miscellaneous - Pins, tape, clear paperweights, trays for literature, plastic stands if you are displaying books.If weather is going to be wet, remember water-proof table coverings and an umbrella or full picnic awning if regulations allow it.

Interacting with the public

If you have a November Coalition group and regular meetings, be sure that you have this information (Date; place; time of meeting and contact information) on a hand-out that you can share with interested people, and all of those that give you their contact information.

Encourage people to help by asking them to call their congressional representatives about particular legislation that we are supporting or opposing. The current issue of the Razor Wire and our website has information on legislative alerts.

Use your time wisely, and don't argue with people. A loud or animated conversation will keep others away. Debates are best in a forum, not on a public sidewalk. Respect differences in opinion, and be polite.

Mostly, you will find people receptive and friendly, or they will simply walk by you. You don't have to be aggressive, but when a group is tabling, one person often has some literature to hand to interested people that won't approach the table. Be aware that to be approached, you should look friendly and 'approachable'.

Educating the public is fun. People are interested in current events and compelling issues, much more than you might realize. Attitudes and opinions are easy to change - you are likely the proof of that.

To order tabling supplies, visit our activist supplies web section or write or call our office.