THANK YOU & RECAP
Thank you to all who volunteered at the District 3 Toastmasters Booth #226 the weekend of March 12-13, 2022, on the Mall at the University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ.
Volunteers talked with a hundred-plus booth visitors and shared information about Toastmasters and local clubs. We also chatted amongst ourselves. We even had four-legged visitors, if only they could talk. Overall, it was fun and we even got some Table Topics practice, synthesizing ‘What is Toastmasters’ into a 1-2 minute presentation, tailored to respond to individuals with different objectives.
Saturday, March 12th – Jim Davis, Kristy Hopper, Sue Delap, Nancy Duckett
Sunday, March 13th – Jim Davis, Jim Eng, Nancy Duckett, Dawn Armstrong, Jorge Berrellez, Sue Delap, Terry Sprouse, Al Melvin, David Hopper
Overall, we can estimate that we handed out over 225 business cards with QR codes to Booth #226 visitors. About 70% of the booth traffic came on Saturday, March 12 and about 30% on Sunday, March 13. General audience; book readers, authors, writers, public interest in books, students, parents, families. Themes; education, reading, future writers, book club members, historical novels, mysteries, non-fiction, history. The organizers estimated that approximately 100,000 attended the event, pretty good for their return to live and in-person.
More information about Tucson Festival of Books: https://tucsonfestivalofbooks.org/
Toastmasters Booth traffic:
Saturday, March 12 was the busiest day. Most of the booth visitors were from the Tucson area, Including
- Students (UofA and local high schools),
- Teachers, graduate students (medicine and law),
- Parents seeking a Toastmasters program for children (opportunity for Youth Leadership Program),
- Current Toastmasters from local clubs,
- Former Toastmasters,
- adults who knew what Toastmasters is about and those who didn’t know anything about Toastmasters.
There were visitors from outside the area, including a Toastmaster from Houston, TX and a VPM from a California club looking for ideas for guest packets. There were snowbirds and those who recently relocated to Tucson. A few visitors were from Phoenix. Longtime Toastmaster friends also stopped by
Toastmasters Booth setup and materials:
The 10’x 10’ booth #226 with one 6’ table and 2 chairs was located on a main thoroughfare in front of the Science Building. The location was a plus, and the brightly colored Toastmasters tablecloth with logo and our standing banner was eye-catching.
The table was covered with brochures, Toastmasters magazines, local club flyers, our business card with QR code and a clear bowl in the middle with colorful pens (imprinted with aztoastmasters.org) and Toastmasters sticky pads. We covered all the bases. For those that wanted to take something, there were printed brochures, local club flyers. For others who wanted to travel light, the business card with the QR code was easy to stick into a wallet or pocket.
Of course, the smiling faces of Toastmaster volunteers, talking as Toastmasters do, engaged the visitors. Booth giveaways always attract traffic, and the bowl of colorful pens brought visitors to the booth and generated an opportunity to start a conversation. ‘Do you know about Toastmasters?’
List of materials used in the Toastmaster Booth:
Business cards with QR code
Find Your Voice (trifold)
Your Path to Leadership (trifold)
The Benefits of Membership flyer
Past issues of Toastmasters Magazine (note it is now online and available to anyone)
Additional list of Tucson clubs sorted by area
Local club flyers – provided by the clubs
Sticky notes (aztoastmasters.org)
Using lemons to give a passerby a reason to stop? On Sunday, Jim Eng brought a box of bright yellow lemons from his lemon tree, an ice breaker of sorts, asking ‘Would you like a lemon?’
The interesting part is that children were attracted to the bright yellow lemons on the edge of the bright blue tablecloth. Just as the colored pens attracted visitors on Saturday. One child came up to the table with eyes focused on the biggest lemon on the table, Dad had to follow and another ‘What is Toastmasters’ conversation ensued. Of course, we offered the lemon to the child who happily walked away with it. Four-legged animals were also attracted to the bright yellow objects that looked like tennis balls, more conversations about Toastmasters.
Create a booth that gives a reason for someone to stop, to check it out, whether it’s a giveaway (bowl of colorful pens), lemons, a visible logo or sign, but most effective were the smiling friendly faces of volunteers making welcoming eye contact followed by ‘Do you know about Toastmasters?’
About 225 business cards with QR codes were handed out. The QR code takes the viewer to the Welcome TFOB guest page with information about Toastmasters and a list of all the District’s clubs with meeting times, locations and their websites.
Specifics about visitors to the Toastmasters booth
Several inquiries were made by parents and teachers that may lead to Youth Leadership Program opportunities. Law students needing practice with closing statements. Grad student working towards PhD seeking presentation skills. Former Toastmasters looking at getting back into a club. Local students and residents looking for local clubs in the university area. These students had an interest in one of the four clubs meeting on campus. Inquiries about clubs in the Oro Valley and east Tucson areas. Some of the club flyers handed out were from Eyeopeners, Biosciences, Cosmopolitan, Mid-Town Toast Pros, Jett-Setters.
The purpose of the booth was to provide local Tucson and Southern Arizona clubs with an opportunity to grow their membership by talking with prospective new Toastmasters and sharing their club information. The overall objective was to build awareness of Toastmasters and District 3, while sharing information about educational and personal and professional development and other benefits of membership.
It will be difficult to determine the direct result of participating in this event, in actual new members. We may be able to get an estimate, if clubs will ask visitors and new members where they heard about Toastmasters.
A return on investment (ROI) based on cost of the booth and volunteer hours remains undetermined. If you base it on who joined as a direct result of attending our TFOB booth in 2022. That will be hard to determine since new members typically think about it, visit a club a few times and if they join, it may be in the future. Clubs would need to track where visitors and new members heard about Toastmasters. If the basis for future participation in TFOB is to build awareness of Toastmasters and the clubs in District 3, and the expectation is for only a few guests to visit a club and join, then that would be the decision of District leadership at the time.
Did we achieve our goal for participating in the TFOB 2022? The answer is yes. If you base it on providing Tucson area clubs with an opportunity to promote their clubs in-person and participate in helping to build awareness of Toastmasters and District 3, while having fun.
If there is a plan is to participate in this event in the future, here are some comments.
The challenge this year was finding a Chair to organize and manage this event and find volunteers for the booth. In the past the event was chaired by a Southern Arizona Toastmaster seeking an HPL project, since they were familiar with the clubs, Toastmasters in the area and the annual event and venue at U of A. The call for a volunteer chair went out five months before this event with no takers. Southern Arizona Division Directors for Mesquite and Desert Willow Divisions were contacted and helped to get the word out for seeking volunteers. Multiple emails, a Volunteer fact sheet for the event and information about the TFOB were sent to volunteers with the volunteer schedule.
This year, the Public Relations Manager chaired the event and organized it from Phoenix. The phone conversations and support from a few Tucson area Toastmasters, including our District Director and District Social Media Chair helped to make our booth experience a success. Finding volunteers to take a 2-hour shift at the booth required multiple messages in the newsletters, social media and phone calls.
There were however a couple of scheduling conflicts to consider this year, the DEC (District Executive Committee) meeting was Saturday afternoon and there were ongoing Area Speech Contests scheduled over the weekend.
A visitor counter needs to be add to the website to track ROI in the future.,
Personal note about the Toastmasters booth:
A wonderful experience and a perfect opportunity to enjoy the camaraderie and hear stories from fellow Toastmasters. More than that, it was a great way to hear from non-Toastmasters. They give us clues about what we can do to grow our membership. I sure learned how to sharpen my 1-2 minutes Table Topics skills on presenting ‘What is Toastmasters’ tailored to each new booth visitor.
Nancy Duckett, DTM, Public Relations Manager 2021-2022
Public Relations page: https://aztoastmasters.org/public-relations/