Tips for Carboard Signing It
1. If you don't have any markers buy a coffee and ask if they have free crayons for the kids. Most minimum wage earning "baristas" don't care if you look like the last guy on earth they'd want to see with a kid, they'll give you the crayons.
2. Don't sweat spelling. Remember you're supposed to look a bit unemployable. Truth is the signs don't even have to be readable. They know what you're there for. Guys don't stand on freeway off ramps selling insurance. Just don't forget "God Bless" on the bottom of your sign.
3. Cash in on recent tragedies. 9-11 was a gold mine for panhandlers savy enough to put a "God Bless America- Never Forget" on their signs. Only the most clever cardboard poets cashed in on the East Asian Tsunami. "God Bless the Tsunami Vicitms, but remember those in need here at home too!" is too much and will piss people off. "God bless the Tsunami Victims" is plenty, and brought a sweet many dollars rolling in and got many a bum drunk while letting folks feel like they helped a tsuanami orphan.
4. A clever line can do wonders, but keep it fresh. I don't know what homeless genius came up with the all time great "Why lie? I need a drink" but it was funny for only the first ten or twenty times you saw it. It's time for a new line folks. Be creative. Dress up. Come up with you're own gimmick. "You're Ad Here" works great and it's still fresh. Go ahead, use it. That's a freebie. Oooh, another goodie, "I need to purchase birth control. Please help."
5. Don't compete. If someone else is working your offramp, team up. You write "This guys getting all the money and I'm starving." He just carries his usual sign ("why lie? I need a beer" would be a good choice here). He puts some pizza boxes and KFC boxes on the ground around him, stuffs a bit of newspaper under his shirt to make himself look plump. You'll get tons of money, folks love an underdog. At the end of the day you split the dough. I'm telling you, this one works.
6. Look desperate, but not hopeless. Be reasonably sober. Look like you might actually spend that dollar they give you on a new tie, which'll help you get that great job, which'll help you pay for college, which'll help you get into medicine and find a cure for cancer AND homelessness once and for all. Once you get the money you can go buy some booze.
7. Don't be afraid of props, but use common sense. A wheel chair can be great for one on one, but on a freeway offramp forget it. Nobody wants to get out of their cars to bring you money, but neither do they want to see you rolling across lanes of traffic to get it, the light threatening to turn any minute.
8. Sun Screen.
Hope these tips help. They're free but anything you can do to help out would be appeciated. Note the donate buttons on the right half of the screen. God bless.