How to run a conference stall

We've done a dozen or so conferences, usually with Glyn at the helm. Now that we're asking a wider group of people to get involved we need to document both the logistical and informational requirements. This how to guide is very much a work in progress so please get involved and feel free to edit.


ORG goes along to conferences for two reasons. Firstly, we're informing the public about our interest in digital rights issues, which involves talking about the regulation and implementation of digital technology. Volunteers should talk about the issues they're most concerned by and be sure to illustrate with stories. It can help to get people's attention with a snappy one-liner that leads into an issue, for example, "if you have an iPod you are almost certainly breaking the law'.

Secondly, we go to conferences to recruit new supporters: ORG's core staff and operations are funded by individuals who care enough about digital rights to donate £5 per month. Although it can be uncomfortable to have to 'sell' ORG, it's vitally important for the ongoing health of digital rights in the UK. Glyn is the jedi master here and will hopefully grace this page with some top tips.


  • If you recruit three new supporters then we'll give you a jazzy tshirt. - Hey, Michael, I'm wondering whether just running a stall should produce a tee?? We want people to look 'on message'. And just doing a stall is a commitment too - Louise.
  • Be polite, no matter how argumentative or daft people can be.
  • Must have at least two people at all times or things can get boring. This also helps with loo breaks, and - if appropriate - getting beer/food breaks and so on.
  • Stallers should be pretty familiar with ORG's approach and issues. Good ways to read up on our activities include a quick skim through our Review of Activities, the archives of our supporter update and following the blog. You will undoubtedly be engaged by some people who will be philosophically opposed to what ORG represents. Be prepared. Some people will be interested in one of our campaigns, but not others. Be prepared to engage with people on their concerns.
  • Be sure to have mobile phone numbers in advance for other stallers.
  • Be sure to know where you're expected to be and when. Be clear who is opening/setting up the stall at the beginning of the day, who is picking up materials or equipment. And then who is shutting down and taking all our stuff away. Also, is there is person who can transport any stuff required from ORG Towers? (e.g. by car) If not, most things can be moved around with backpack or similar. But best to clarify who is doing what.
  • Be sure someone's paid for or at least arranged the stall.
  • Be sure stallers' tickets for the event are arranged and that stallers know how to get their passes.


  • Laptop running Who's Watching Who and offline copy of the website, including PDFs of reports. Great if your stall is indoors and has a power supply (or you have various laptops/batteries) and have full-time stall-persons (in other words, the stall is not left unmanned).
  • Paper copies of reports - a few of each. Ask people to make a donation if they take a paper copy report (as opposed to a leaflet). Reports cost money to produce, and can be very useful to people in the work they are doing, so quid pro quo. They are then also clearly getting something substantial for their money.
  • Postcards
  • Badges - make excellent decoration around paper stuff, especially if you have a bare-boards stall.
  • Sign-up forms
  • Banner stand (do we have one? - Louise)
  • 'One-sheets' (single piece of paper explaining issues and prompting further involvement)
  • 'Support ORG' Moo cards
  • If the stall has any verticals (not just a table), such as a metal frame above the table surface or a canopy, then think about how you can attach/display leaflets or posters vertically to them. This can help with drawing people in to your stall. So find out in advance, if you can, what your 'stall' will consist of. And consider how to attach things (glue/tape)
  • Tablecloth (for the all-important appearance of professionalism!). Sometimes stall tables are just old rough wood, sometimes a little worn and mucky. Having something to fling over the top, and provide a background to all your goodies, can really help the look of the stall.
  • Maltesers / sweets (bowl is optional but highly recommended). Wrapped sweets are popular and hygenic. Unwrapped/choc things are nice but may melt in hot weather...
  • Cash-box for collecting donations. Not essential, but can help if there are various people manning the stall.
    • Anyone giving cash donation should be asked for contact details so we can keep thank them and offer to stay in touch.
  • Nutrition (stints can be long and arduous so you need to be prepared with food and water!)
  • Keyrings (for a donation of £5+?)