Campaign Spotlight: Quincy, MA
Fair Trade advocates and campaigners tend to share one desire, and that is to spread Fair Trade awareness to their neighbors and friends. As most of you already know, this is not always as easy as it sounds. Between coordinating with campaign members, finding time and space for community outreach and attracting participants, hosting events through your Fair Trade campaign can sometimes seem daunting.
I am happy to reassure you that any effort you put towards the Fair Trade movement is an inherent success, any opportunity taken to share information with others helps increase Fair Trade awareness and we are all better off for it.
To emphasize this point as well as the effectiveness of conducting outreach, I asked Kristina Kaiser, the lead organizer of the River Church South and Quincy, MA campaigns, to share some experiences from events the Quincy team has hosted over the past year.
“We hosted a table at the Quincy Environmental Earth Day event. For that, we did our Chocolate Taste Test and had a petition for people to sign. It was great, too! The people at that event were all advocate minded already. So we didn’t have to stand in front of the table. People came to us: ‘What’s the Quincy Fair Trade Task Force? Tell me what you’re about.’ Amazing! Some had signed the petition in the past and remembered doing so, which means they took it seriously. Some of them even helped connect me with other advocacy groups in town. I thought for sure they would take my info and then forget about it. But they truly did go to their next meeting, bring us up, and I got an email from Quincy Climate Action Network the next month!”
I was excited to hear about the Quincy’s experience on Earth Day. Events like a chocolate taste test provide a lot of opportunity to get others involved in your event. Hosting events where you and your fellow campaigners can reach out to other advocacy groups is also always a great idea. Many social justice causes intersect with Fair Trade and you’d be surprised by how enthusiastic members from other groups get upon learning about Fair Trade. Similar to what was experienced in Quincy, co-hosting events with other advocacy groups can open the door to meeting more potential campaign members as well.
Co-hosting events and aligning with holidays like Earth Day are great strategies for engaging your community. But you don’t have to wait for a holiday to host a fun awareness raising event! The Quincy team’s Fun Walk is a great example.
“In July we did a Fun Walk for Fair Trade along the beach in Quincy. The night before we held a sign making party and then in the morning we gathered in the parking lot, took a picture and then walked along the beach with our signs, handing out individually wrapped chocolates as we went. The event was an hour long and I have to say…also very fun! Cars driving by started honking when they saw our signs, which I was amazed by. So we started waving as we walked. People walking along the beach would stop and ask what our signs said.”
The Fun Walk for Fair Trade event hosted by the Quincy campaign incorporates an important component I believe can help other campaigns in their event planning process. The sign making party provided a fun social activity for the planning team. It was also a great opportunity for members to put their own spin on their message. Making the Fair Trade message more personal does wonders for explaining your campaign to newcomers.
It’s already been a busy year for the Quincy campaign, and they still have even more activities planned for the fall.
“We are currently working towards a Fair Trade Market happening on Columbus Day. We’ve rented the Fellowship Hall of a larger church in Quincy and joined forces with a woman who has done a Fair Trade Market just south of us the last couple of years. There will be Fair Trade artisans, live entertainment and light refreshments. Very excited to be offering that!”
I hope that the experiences of the Quincy team inspire everyone to host events without fear! Fair Trade Campaigns also has lots of resources to help you plan fun and education events on your campus or in your community. Check out the tips and tools below and start planning your next Fair Trade event!
Event Planning Resources