US CONSULATE EXHIBITION, 8TH SEPTEMBER 2017
On September 8th, 2017 Toybank was invited to be a part of the NGO fair at the US Consulate in BKC. Not knowing what to expect, aside from the fact that this would be a useful platform for Toybank to gain volunteers, we set out for the day. It was mentioned in the mail sent to us that we need not take any extra goodies to promote ourselves and selling anything related to the organisation was strictly prohibited inside the premises. So we went along with minimal materials but all geared up to experience something new.
This NGO fair was conducted by the US Consulate specially for the people working there, who could come and visit each stall to understand the NGO’s work to see if it matched with their own areas of interest and if they were interested in any further contact. There were a total of 10 organisations at the fair many of whom were working in similar areas such as, the welfare of women and children. Toybank's hearts of course are dedicated to children.
We reached the arena by half past 11 and the fair was set to start from 12 noon. We were the 3rd ones to enter the room, hence we had around 8 tables at our disposal to choose from. We picked a comfortable spot and settled down. Other organisations began taking out various things, from pamphlets, demos of work done at their centres and even annual reports. This is when we realised that we had nothing except our visiting cards. But then again, Toybank doesn’t need a brochure or a pamphlet to explain what we do. The card itself was magnetic enough to pull potential volunteers and donors towards our table. We creatively used the black and yellow sides of the cards to occupy the huge white table given to us. Along with the cards we had also kept a notepad ready in case someone would want to leave their email ids and contact details with us. And by 12 o clock one by one people started to enter.
Initially the rush was slow, people were coming in gradually and taking a relatively long time at one stall. We held our patience and saved our energy for later on in the day. The number of people increased slowly but we were able to handle them with ease. As we had thought, our cards were attractive enough to catch peoples attention - who wouldn’t want to know more about an organisation related to toys? We managed to get some good contact details and a lot of our cards were taken. Some who had no interest in toys what so ever were also considerate enough to hear us out and then decided to join in, in case they could help in any way. There was also one lady who was interested in donating a thousand books if needed, which apparently her nephew who stays in New York has been collecting. Overall, we had some great responses and the entire fair was a huge success!
This fair not only helped us in reaching out to those who might become our future volunteers or donors but we were also able to introduce ourselves to various other NGOs and get to know their field. As Toybank works in collaboration with different NGOs and organisations this was a great platform for us to meet potential future partners. There were many NGOs like Akansha, Sneha Foundation, Link Foundation (Gujarat), Hi 5 Youth Organization, Corp India and Foundation for Mother and Child Health to name a few from the total of 10 organisations at the fair including Toybank.
Ultimately the day was a pleasant experience. Although a little underprepared we were ready to face all situations and had the confidence that we could pull it off, which we definitely did. We consider this NGO fair to be a success on our part and hope to participate in similar fairs in the future.