Booth preparation timeline

Check out upcoming booths

If you like to organise a booth, assure first that there is no one else already who likes to run a booth at the same place by checking our events page (RSS).

Register a booth

For many conferences you have to register some weeks or months before in order to get a place for a booth. Sometimes the conferences don't typically have space for booths, but might accommodate if you get in touch early on, and also show what value the FSFE bring to the event.

The procedures for this are quite different and depends on the event. Often you have the possibility to present your booth in your own words in the program, on a poster or on the home page. It is recommended that you use FSFE's mission statement as the basis for this text.

Ask for a plan of the booths. If the position of the FSFE booth is suboptimal, ask to be moved to a different location. Keep in mind the flow of people around the booth. You want a place where people can see you, where a lot of people pass by, but at the same time, you don't want people to only rush but to actually be able to take some time to look and talk to you without blocking the way of other people.


8 weeks before the event

An example of the text you could use is (note the string “{{}}” will automatically be replaced by the name of the email recipient):

Dear {{}},

I am [name] of [group], and we are planning to run a booth at [event] from [start day] to [end day].

We are looking for people to join us at the booth and help spread the
word about Free Software and FSFE. If you are interested in
participating in FSFE's presence at [event], please write an email to
[name and email address].

However, even if you just visit [event], please visit the FSFE booth
and say hello to us!

You can find more info about [event] at [event URL].

We are looking forward to meet you there!


Make sure that for each reply to these invitations, the new team member receives a friendly "welcome to the team" and a status update of the preparations and is kept up to date with all subsequent developments regarding the booth. The easiest way to achieve this is to create a TechDocs/quickml mailing list that includes all helpers, and run all the coordination for the booth through that list. However, if you use this list also for external communication, be aware that sending an email to the list and CC'ing somebody external will add the external address to the list.

Many visitors of an event prefer to be addressed in their own language. In the case of an international event, it is good to have some volunteers in the booth team who can speak the languages of the expected audience, and at least some English speakers as a fall-back. It is useful for you as the booth coordinator to get an overview over the languages spoken by the helpers.

4 weeks before the event

Order promotion material

The main purpose of such a booth is to inform people about Free Software in general, and about FSFE's current activities in particular. The FSFE office in Berlin has a stock of various posters, flyers, postcards, and stickers, which you are encouraged to make use of! Please fill in the online order form for promotion material to make sure you have all these goods available in time.

Promotion Material

Please use an address where there's always somebody available to accept the delivery. If your home address doesn't qualify for that, maybe better let it deliver to the company you work in?

It is important that you specify the even you want to use the material for, especially the number of expected participants, the languages they speak, and their background regarding Free Software. This makes it easier for the team in FSFE's office to compile a suitable set of material.

Production of all of this material is cheap, and distributing it is an important pillar of FSFE's mission. Please don't be shy. Make use of this possibility. There is no cost involved for you!

Order merchandise (Optional)

At some of our booths, we also have T-shirts and other merchandise for sale. Selling merchandise makes a booth much more complex. If you run your first booth, we recommend to start with promotion material only. If you want to sell merchandise, please send an email to <contact AT SPAMFREE fsfe DOT org> and our office staff will coordinate the necessary steps with you.

If you plan to sell merchandise at the booth, please remember to have suitable change available. Ask your local bank or similar for help in this: many will offer to sell you a suitable set of change. Otherwise, you can of course already start to collect 1-Euro and 2-Euro coins, or the equivalent in your currency. You'll need more than you think.

Prepare price tags and posters. Again, our office staff will be happy to help you in this and provide more information.

Prepare Hardware (Optional)

Prepare a mini PC and a monitor for presenting slideshows, or for example our FSFE15 year Video with the correct subtitles or the Public Money Public Code video at the booth. Prepare a tablet PC so people can the FSFE right at the booth and subscribe the newsletter (look for your language).

Stay in contact with the rest of the team

One month before the event is a good timing to send a status update to all booth helpers.

2 weeks before the event

Invite other people from the FSFE community

A booth is also an occasion to meet other people from the FSFE community who live near the event location. So you may consider organising a local group meeting nearby the event location.

1 week before the event

Prepare the material

Send a reminder to the people helping at the booth that you are meeting at the Booth. This communication should include more detailed information, namely:

At the booth

Consider that at least two persons should be at the booth all the time.


Everyone should be informed about recent campaigns, because people are liking to ask questions about them. However, no one is supposed to know everything, so you don't need to stress about details. As a team, we should be able to answer to most of the questions, or be able to direct them to someone who can. Of course, you can also always say that you are "not directly involved in that activity, but you can call or email our office at <contact AT fsfe DOT org> and they'll get you in touch with the right person to ask." Or you can take name and e-mail, and assure someone gets back on the person. In any case, please read through our Booth FAQ to find ways to answer the most common questions.

Designing a booth

Having a booth is one thing, having it in a good design is another thing. People should be attracted to come to the booth and should be encouraged to strike up a conversation. Please see our documentation of booth design.


You may collect donations on behalf of the FSFE. For this we can provide you a donation boxes.

Anybody can confirm that money was received. However, an official donation receipt allowing tax-deduction in Germany and some other countries needs to be signed by the President. If somebody really does a donation in cash so big that it's worth writing a donation receipt (>= around 50 Euro), the best option would probably be to note the address and later send the info to <contact AT fsfe DOT org> asking to send the donation receipt by snail mail. The receipt will then be sent together with the rest at the beginning of the following year.

Obviously, donations that FSFE writes a receipt for must arrive at the official FSFE books at some point, so these donations must be paid to the FSFE account.

Within 1 week after the event

Write about the booth! The best way to do so is in a short blog post with a picture (two to three paragraphs with a picture is already fine). This way others who were not there also can see what you did. If you do not have a blog or you prefer other media, please send a report to your local mailing list or the general discussion list to let other people know about your booth activity. In any case, please send a report and nice pictures to <contact AT fsfe DOT org> so we can reuse your pictures and feature your activity. Thank you, well done!

Category/HowTo Category/Booth

KnowHow/Groups/OrganizeABooth/BoothTimeline (last edited 2019-07-24 09:17:11 by reinhard)