Fairs and Community Festivals
Community festivals are a terrific opportunity to get out, meet people, and let everyone know what you are doing. People are already in a good mood, so it is easy to engage complete strangers in conversation. There are a few ways to approach local festivals, but the first task is to obtain a comprehensive list of every event in your region, including dates, locations, and contacts.
Every state and most counties operate tourist or visitor information offices. As part of their services, they offer calendars of events for their service area. Those listings will include every conceivable type of public gathering, many of which might be perfect for your organization to participate in. Many festivals make special allowances for nonprofit organizations to have a booth or table at a reduced cost or at no cost, with the stipulation that it is for informational purposes only. This is an excellent opportunity to get your material into the hands of many people in your community, add names to your mailing list, publicize any upcoming events, and conduct outreach.Booths at Street or Craft Fairs
It is well worth your time to contact the overall coordinators and ask about the process for participating as a nonprofit organization. You may need to comply with certain requirements to receive the reduced rate. If you are only interested in promoting your organization and do not plan to sell anything, a booth at a fair is a wonderful method of outreach, and it's also a lot of fun. You can usually make your newsletter available, invite people to join your mailing list, and generally get the word out to a lot of people in a very short time.
Be open to sharing a booth with other nonprofits, if space is at a premium. Many long-running craft fairs throughout the country started as and continue to be fundraisers for the sponsoring organization, so the event coordinators know what it's like to be in your position and often have a soft spot for the efforts of the start-up nonprofit.Sponsor a Stage or Area
Many street fairs have outdoor stages where local performers can entertain the crowds all through the event. If your budget allows, consider sponsoring a stage or helping to underwrite some cost associated with it. In return, your organization will be included in any event publicity, which helps establish your group as a member of the community.