If there is one thing that student leaders understand about five minutes after joining clubs and organizations, it’s that inspiring others to join is not as easy as it seems (well, at least not by doing what we’ve always done). Throughout the years, one of the number one strategies used to intrigue and engage students is the Club Fair (CF). While CFs can be very powerful, they can also waste a lot of time and resources if not done well!

As the orientation season is upon us, connecting with, attracting, and engaging new students in student life is top of mind (or at least on the shortlist). One of the main ways this is done is through a CF. But, sadly, what often happens at club fairs is students get their booths set up, get flyers printed out, maybe get some giveaways around, and off they go – with no strategy of how to help students take the next step and join their club or organization.

The problem is that many students are less than thrilled with the results from the CF because it doesn’t help them grow their club as much as they had originally hoped!

I’m going to give you three things to do at your club fair this year to make sure you see better results – and engage more students!

Clear Message
One of the biggest mistakes clubs and orgs make when they are setting up their booth for CFs is not communicating the message and benefits of joining their club clearly and quickly. Club leaders often think that the name of their club is enough explanation in and of itself.

But think about this; if you are part of the “Dance Club,” you may think people who walk by your booth will automatically know what you do. But what they don’t know is – do you get together once a month to dance, go out as a group and hang out, put on dance parties to raise money, and the list goes on and on!

One of the things that helps with this is having a 7-second elevator pitch. This is a single sentence that explains everything you do.

It sounds something like this: “Hi there…we run the dance club to give students the opportunity to get together once a month and have a dance party as well as learn new styles of dance. Our ultimate goal is to raise money for cancer awareness.”

If you take this framework and add in your information, this is a great way to quickly let people know who you are, what you do, and what you stand for.

This will create a more memorable interaction with potential club members when they stop by your booth at the club fair. But it isn’t just a statement. Make sure it’s printed on your flyers and every other piece of marketing you create.

Contact Collection
I see club and organization leaders fall into this trap all the time – not collecting contact information at the booth. Your chance of people who are “interested” reaching back out to you to join is slim to none. But, if you have a way to reach out to them and you can message or text them and let them know you have a meeting or event coming up, and you’d love it if they’d join – your chances skyrocket.

The first reason is that it makes people feel welcomed and wanted when someone reaches out to them and invites them. The second reason – this is powerful – is it puts the follow-up in the hands of the only person you can control – you. If the onus is on them to follow up, the number of members you enroll from your CF will be far less.

Please do not do the hard work of getting them there and then not gather the most important thing – their contact information.

One thing that I’ve found that helps with this is having a giveaway in exchange for their contact info. You can have a can of soda, some candy, a t-shirt, etc., if they are willing to put their contact information on your sheet.

The second thing I like to do is have a drawing. When they fill out their contact info, they go into a drawing for some sort of giveaway – that you are going to give away and announce at your first meeting – of which they need to be present to win. This, again, helps boost attendance.

The last thing you want to do is make sure you actually follow up. Use that contact information you gathered and put it to good use. Make sure you reach out within the next seven days from the CF.

A big key to successful follow-up is to have something to invite them back to. I like to have an event, meeting, or mixer to invite them to when I follow up with them. It sounds a lot better to say, “Hi Sarah, just wanted to thank you for stopping by our booth and let you know that we have a free dinner tonight where we’re sharing a bit more about the club and how we work. I thought of you and I’d love you to come;” rather than saying, “Hi Sarah, did you want to join our club.”

There is a statement in business: “A confused buyer NEVER buys.” It’s the same in clubs and organizations. A confused potential member never joins. When you invite them to something specifically, they know what to expect, where and when to show up, and what is expected of them.

This is the difference between me asking you if you want to buy a car…vs. a specific kind of car. Before you hear about the specific kind of car – you don’t even know if it meets your needs or wants. It’s the same with potential club members. They need to know exactly what they’re getting into – and inviting them to a meeting or dinner gives them a non-threatening way to “test the waters.”

Having something to invite them to is of the utmost importance!

Implementing these three strategies at club fairs enhances success in attracting and engaging new members, fostering a strong sense of belonging within clubs and organizations. Let us remember that effective club fairs are about building meaningful connections and inviting students to be part of something special. With these strategies in place, we can look forward to a more successful and rewarding club fair experience for all.

Neon Entertainment offers programs that are designed to engage students, encourage team building, and provide participants with many necessary skills. Check out some of these programs and more helpful hints below and contact your Neon Agent for booking and availability!


Engaging Ideas For Your Activities Fair

Pop Up Game Show

Pop Up Photo Op

Make and Takes

DIY Programs




Contacts us at 800-993-NEON (6366) or Send us an email to inquire or book our programs and events.

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