Carding: Tips from the Pros


  • “It was such a small school with intermittent foot traffic, my friend who came to help out decided to act as a decoy instead, pretending to read a booklet while talking to me throughout the day. We initially started out having both of us leafleting, but once we switched to the decoy strategy, take rate went from about 2 in 10 to 9 out of 10.”
  • If someone says they got one before and the flow of traffic is relatively slow at that time, ask them what they thought about it. 
  • If someone says they are against circumcision, ask them if they have a little time to help out, even if it’s just for 15 minutes. Some do and it might result in another regular leafleter.
  • Try to project that you’re having a good time while leafleting. Smile and say, “Thank you” to individuals for their time. Even if they don’t take a brochure, it encourages many to come back and ask for one. Politeness, friendliness, sincerity, and humility all help encourage people to take a leaflet and ask questions.
  • The Lean: “If you extend your hand all the way and lean your shoulder forward and bend at the waist a bit towards the student, they will naturally take the booklet, I mean hey, you are giving so much of yourself to try to reach this person, they would feel bad leaving you hanging. Sometimes I even step back a bit so I can do a full extension towards the person.”
  • The Head Tilt: Tilt your head while offering the brochure.
  • People often decide whether to take a brochure from someone based on whether the person in front of them took a brochure. If you get a string of individuals who turn you down, it might be wise to stop for the next few people, turn around and grab a sip from your water bottle and then start back up again.
  • Say “Hi.” Pause for them to say “Hi” back. Then ask them if they would like a brochure.
  • Body language can be crucial. Some schools seem to have different personalities; while students at a certain school may react to confident body language, almost domineering, a different school might require you to be quite passive. Generally it’s a good idea to maintain good posture and extend your arm and step into each interaction you have. Experiment with different levels of aggressiveness at different schools. One leafleter says, “Imagine a party, hugging the wall shows insecurity, open space = confidence, and leafleting is mostly body language. Even in a relatively narrow pathway, stand without feet hugging edge of sidewalk.”
  • For when you are going to spend multiple class changes at one school: “I leaflet folks going one way when it is heavy and leaflet in the same direction the next period. By doing this, I don’t get the same people the next period. As the day progresses, I’m getting many repeats, but I’m also getting several hundred new folks. ‘Have I asked you yet?’ minimizes offending people and ensures new folks are reached.”
  • “As a place gets saturated or when someone rejects the leaflet, it may sound and feel corny at first but I give every single person a big thumbs up, ‘You already got one? Great!’ I have found this is extremely effective! It gives the next people coming the impression you had a positive interaction, you are not a salesman or a nuisance. I do it to everyone from morning on. It’s really funny later in the day when 10 people in a row give me a thumbs up, then I know they already got the booklet, and it makes my job easier. As it gets later in the day, if I’m unsure I’ll ask, ‘Did you get one of these?’ without extending my hand.”


  • The Inverse Gauntlet: Two people leafleting from the center of a path back to back. It makes you more noticeable, especially in heavy traffic.