Build partnerships


  • Partner with a coffee shop or a bookstore to get free space. You might also be able to get gift certificates that could be given as prizes, or free coffee/snacks that can go to participants.
  • Look for other organizations hosting similar events (lecture series, storytelling, etc.), because their audiences may be interested in what you're doing, and vice versa.

Find Audiences


  • Use social media. A Facebook page is free, takes little time and keeps "fans" up todate.
  • Create an Listserv of audience email addresses.
  • Print Fliers. Libraries, book stores, nearby businesses and other places will often throwthem in a window or on a bulletin board.
  • Target science teachers. They're often happy to print out a flier for their classes,mention it to the students for extra credit, or even come themselves.
  • Promote to all ages. Some towns have organizations of retirees who want to exercisetheir minds, or retirement homes where people are looking for things to do. All it takes is a phone call or e-mail once a month.
  • Connect with local news outlets. Newspapers and some radio stations (often NPR) willdo announcements free of charge the day before or the day of an event. Look for a"Things to Do" section in the paper or on the air.
  • Look for a deal on business cards for your cafe. You can get 5,000 glossy, full-color,two-sided business cards for less than $50 sometimes.

Assess with the Audience


  • Check in with your audience to see how they feel the café is going. This is their café. Do they want the café to be longer, shorter, held more or less often, etc.? Do a show of hands.
  • Ask for topic suggestions regularly. Often, participants will know of possible speakerswho would be willing to talk. It's better than twisting someone's arm.
  • Take advantage of technology and use polling sites like