Come Oct. 24, Alexis Dexter of Forget Me Not Flowers & Gifts in Barre, Vermont, will have at least 30 “Happiness Ambassadors” giving away 2,000 bouquets in five towns, double the number her team handed out during Petal It Forward in 2017. While many of Dexter’s ambassadors have helped before, some are new. To prepare them, she will show her team the Petal It Forward video and deliver “a good old pep talk about how things are likely to go,” she said.
Strategizing how you’ll prep your own team of ambassadors? The Society of American Florists provides members with suggested talking points — easy and impactful messages for Happiness Ambassadors” to say when they’re handing out flowers.
Those are tools Dexter has put to use. Along with explaining the purpose of Petal It Forward, Dexter also encourages her Happiness Ambassadors to talk to recipients.
“They get a lot of stories that move them and make them realize just how much good they’re doing and once they’ve had that one experience, the rest is easy,” she said. “We want it to be an organic process, so we don’t drill lines into them too much.”
Looking or additional tips for a successful event? Keep reading!
Pace Your Petal It Forward Event
Handing out Petal It Forward flowers is a balancing act, Dexter said. During her first Petal It Forward, it took about two hours to hand out 500 bouquets. In 2017, she gave away 1,000 bouquets — 500 again in Barre, plus 250 each in neighboring Montpelier and Williamstown. It took about the same amount of time the second year, but they spread their impact much farther, she said.
Dexter said the key is to avoid oversaturating the main drag and still manage to give out bouquets randomly and efficiently. To mix it up, she encourages her Happiness Ambassadors to go into businesses, hang out near busy shops or even venture down side streets.
Prepare Social Media Messages
SAF provides members with suggested text for social media, including: “Change someone’s mood today by Petaling It Forward! #PetalItForward” and “Research proves that an even greater percentage of people report feeling happy giving flowers than receiving them. Petal It Forward and find out for yourself! #PetalItForward.” Members can copy and paste suggested social media posts from here. Be sure to use the hashtag #PetalItForward and tag @About_Flowers on Instagram, @FlowerFactor on Twitter, and @AboutFlowers on Facebook.
Take Candid Photos
SAF recommends assigning one of your Happiness Ambassadors to take photos. Non-posed photos are the best way to convey the true meaning and purpose behind Petal It Forward. Capture candid photos of recipients’ happy facial expressions or video of their appreciation and delight to show the element of surprise.
Suzanne Mohamed of Ocean View Flowers, a grower in Lompoc, California, said her Happiness Ambassadors will work in teams of three — two handing out flowers and one as designated photographer and videographer.
“We’re drafting our most social-media active employees for the photographer role; those who already have an enthusiasm for photos and sharing,” Mohamed said. “As a member of SAF, we know that our success as a grower ultimately depends on the success of florists nationwide. Bringing awareness of the ‘power of flowers’ to the public keeps the entire floral world thriving.”
Each of Forget Me Not’s teams also will include someone ready with a camera, said Dexter, who understands the importance of spontaneity. “When it comes to social media, we play it low-key right up until the big day,” she said. “Our goal is to prevent people from lining up at our door for something free, which has happened before, and make the big day as much of a surprise as possible.”
Dexter shares live video of her team’s prep work and points recipients to the social media channels listed on bouquet stickers — Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
“From my experience, humanity really catches attention on Facebook and people love seeing something good on their feed, so the best way to go viral is to show as much of that as possible,” she said. “Even a small boost on Facebook goes a long way.” Forget Me Not may also post on Pinterest and Snapchat if they have time.
Tell us about your Petal It Forward experience! Please send us your best 3-5 photos (candid, rather than posed, is best) from the day and any stories or special notes about your experience to PIF@safnow.org.
Christy O’Farrell is a contributing writer for the Society of American Florists.