Carding: Where to Stand
At large schools, generally the most students will be found near the student union or library. However, it may be wise to try and find alternative spots to card if the school is constantly leafleted or petitioned because students will be used to rejecting leafleters in these common spots. For instance, at UC Berkeley, leafleters avoid the Sproul Plaza, the busiest spot on campus, because it is leafleted nearly every day of the semester by other groups.
At smaller schools, or schools that are not leafleted often, the busiest spots are often the best. Consider staking out a few different spots and rotating between them during busy class changes to reach the maximum number of new students.
Keep in mind that the bulk of cards handed out are distributed during class changes, those 10–15 minute windows of time between classes. It usually slows down during classes but is very busy during these changes.
While leafleting, it is best not to stay completely stationary. A wider walkway may require you to constantly walk back and forth, approaching as many students as possible. It is important to stand in the center of the walkway and not off to the side.
Keep in mind that traffic flow will be going in two directions. You will reach the largest amount of new students and avoid repeatedly asking the same students if you only leaflet one direction of the flow. If you are starting very early in the day, you can focus on students coming to class or on to campus. If you are starting later in the day focus on students that are coming out of class and possibly leaving campus for the day.
Other location tips:
- Leaflet to groups of students sitting around talking or students studying.
- Some college clubs have hundreds of students in them - and these are students who are interested in getting involved. Find out what clubs are popular, when and where they meet, and card at the entrance to the meeting spot 10-15 minutes before the meeting begins.
- Leaflet inside academic buildings and student unions when the weather is bad.
- Find out when the college events, carnivals, or school hosted parties are and be there to hand out cards.
- Get to school before the first class change, that means usually 7:30 AM or so, and stand between where the dorm students live and where classes are held, and only leaflet people in the direction of those coming to class.
- When the traffic gets heavy, the turn-down rate sometimes gets high. Moving to a less trafficked area can increase the acceptance rate. But even with a low acceptance rate, you can give out a lot over the course of an hour in high traffic.
- Hold open the door of a busy building with the back of your foot and leaflet students as they walk in. This has proved to be an extremely effective technique, especially at tougher schools where the take rate isn’t very high.