One Step Away Vendor's Guide
Welcome to One Step Away, Philadelphia's first street newspaper produced by those without homes for those with homes. One Step Away is a member of the North American Street Newspaper Association (NASNA), and is the only street newspaper in North America in which the content is produced almost entirely by the homeless men, women and children in Philadelphia shelters.
One Step Away is a program of Resources for Human Development, a national human services nonprofit with headquarters in Philadelphia. For more information, feel free to visit us on the web at www.rhd.org or on the One Step Away website at www.osaphilly.org
Distributing One Step Away helps provide a valuable voice of advocacy for the city's homeless. But it is also a means to earn productive income
for your work. One Step Away is a street newspaper in the true sense of the word. It is not available at newsstands or online. One Step Away vendors choose a territory and distribute the paper on the streets of Philadelphia.
How you do this, where you work, how much work, and how much you earn is up to you.
Most One Step Away street vendors work alone, on street corners of their choosing. But some have found great success working in teams, or setting up tables at friendly venues.
While you have the freedom to essentially be your own boss, please remember that when you are out on the streets you are representing One Step Away. Your behavior will reflect not only on the street newspaper but on the homeless and unemployed in general. One Step Away vendors are expected to conduct themselves with dignity and professionalism, and adhere to a code of conduct.
One Step Away vendors will be respectful of others while selling One Step Away. Abusive language or threatening behavior in any form is unacceptable, and will result in suspension from the OSA sales force. Please remember that you are representing One Step Away when you are selling the newspaper.
Fights with other vendors over turf are forbidden, and will result in suspension from the OSA sales force. Please agree to share space, or find another territory.
One Step Away is distributed on the street by certified vendors. One Step Away vendors must wear vests, buttons or badges in a clearly visible manner when selling the paper to indicate to the public that they are certified OSA vendors.
Drug or alcohol use by vendors while selling One Step Away is strictly forbidden, and will result in suspension from the OSA sales force.
Distributing One Step Away is NOT panhandling. Vendors are attempting to make meaningful income for their work. No one gets anything for free. Vendors purchase each issue for 25 cents, which covers the cost of printing, and distribute One Step Away on the street for a suggested $1 donation.
Read the Paper: Engaging people on the street is much easier when you have information about what appears in One Step Away.
Choose a Good Spot: Because successful vendors need to be seen and heard by the public, the best place to sell One Step Away is a location that has a lot of foot traffic. Downtown Philadelphia is filled with outdoor cafes, parks, shopping centers and restaurants. It is estimated that 1,200 people walk past City Hall every hour. These are prime places to sell One Step Away. Every person that sees you distributing the paper is one more potential donor.
You can distribute One Step Away at big events in the city. The increase in foot traffic and tourism during concert season is a great opportunity. Keep in mind, however, that you should not steal sales territory from other vendors.
Announce Your Presence: Come up with your own unique sales pitch. Make it quick and catchy. Be loud, be present and make sure that people see you. Don't be shy or worry about being embarrassed. Remember that this is helping you in the long run. A standard pitch is: "Support the homeless! One Step Away‚ Philadelphia's newspaper produced by the homeless!" You can craft your approach to your own personal style, and tailor it to your surroundings.
Successful sales is always about engaging the customers. Engage the people you meet on the street; a personal approach filled with "Good morning, ma'am‚" and "Good afternoon, sir‚" will go a long way.
Know Your Customers: As you gain experience, you will get a feel for the type of people who will want the paper. Maybe it's college kids. Maybe young professionals. Maybe the elderly.
If you find a group of people who repeatedly get One Step Away from you, work on creating a personal relationship with them. Get to know their names. Talk to them. Creating a personal connection will increase their likelihood of returning to you, and along the way you'll be promoting a voice of advocacy to end homelessness. You'll also be networking; many One Step Away vendors have met valuable contacts that have led to jobs or other employment opportunities.
Carry Change: You should get in the habit of carrying some extra $1 bills with you. This sounds like a very common sense thing but it can make or break the sale. Some people may be happy to donate the full $5 they have for the paper, but for those who don't you'll need to give them change.
You are allowed to accept tips. But do not ask for them. Remember this is a donation to One Step Away; gratuities are not necessarily part of the deal.
Keep Your Chin Up: Don't get discouraged! Everyone has bad days. Just keep in mind that tomorrow has the opportunity to be a great day. Some people won't want One Step Away; they might walk right past you without even making eye contact. It happens. But be nice. Don't take it personally; just move on to the next person, who may be interested.
"I'd like to thank 'One Step Away' for being a tireless advocate for Philadelphia's homeless. This paper is a creative way to reach the public about efforts to end homelessness, and a valuable tool for educating all Philadelphians about what life is like for people who have lost their homes and who are working hard to rebuild their lives."
-- Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter
The city of Philadelphia has been an enthusiastic partner for One Step Away, and the paper has the blessing of the Bureau of Licenses and Inspections to distribute issues on the street. There are off-limits areas, and private property in which street vending is prohibited. A good rule of thumb is simply to stick with public areas like sidewalks and parks.
Distributing One Step Away is NOT panhandling. You are attempting to earn productive income for your work.
While most city officials are familiar with our efforts, some are not - and this includes the city's police department. If you're asked to move, please move.