How to Organize an Alternative Gift Fair

An Alternative Gift Fair engages your community in creating a just economy and realizing the impact of our consumer choices-- all while celebrating with friends! What more could you ask for from an event?

  1. Reach out to those who might be interested in planning, like social action or youth groups.
  2. Meet to decide on a time, place, and possible theme. Consider which date you think people will be interested in buying gifts, which groups will have tables, what to sell, and next steps.
  3. Reserve the location. Add extra time for set-up, brewing coffee, and clean-up.
  4. Order products you are selling well ahead of time. Equal Exchange's Interfaith Program guarantees shipping within ten business days.
  5. Get the word out, like through bulletins, announcement boards, flyers, and e-mails to groups. Advertise to those outside your congregation through newspapers, Facebook pages, and posting flyers. Share specifics- for example, share the theme, unique gifts they can buy, and any food that will be there.
  6. Educate and engage people in the issues. The booth(s) can have educational information displayed, there could be a workshop using an activity modified from Equal Exchange's Win-Win Solutions curriculum, a laptop with a video like Black Gold can be running, or there could be speakers such as nearby farmers and artisans during the event.
  7. Have a fun gift market!

Ideas & Tips:

  • Make sure there aren't any scheduling conflicts.
  • Invite people from neighboring faith communities.
  • Have a theme for the event or for individual tables.
  • Decorate products and put together as gift in either recycle-able gift bags or fairly traded gift baskets.
  • Invite bands or musicians from your congregation to play live music.
  • Have Equal Exchange's Organic Hot Chocolate available for people for free or for sale.
  • Bring in food from a local restaurant, cafĂ©, or pizza shop, or have people bring appetizers and dishes that use fairly traded products. See scrumptious recipe ideas using our fairly traded goods here.
  • Hold a coffee and chocolate pairing and have the coffees and chocolates available for sale as gifts.