Volunteers have the strength to be the backbone of an outreach programme like Living Free and can be a source of great enthusiasm and inspiration to all workers!
To ensure that volunteering is a quality experience for both, the campaign and the individual ,there are a few things we must ensure.
- During any event, provide a sign-up sheet for volunteering. Be ready to record contact details.
- Create the impression that there is a GROUP of volunteers—people are drawn to people.
- Those who are interested in animals are your number one target, but often, excellent volunteers are “people” persons who want to join a community or a club.
- Ask for volunteer help. Ask often and ask with enthusiasm. Volunteering is fun! You have to be the ambassador for that fact. When you invite someone to volunteer, make them want to have fun.
- After any event, send out an email to all the people in the list touching base with them. Never let a volunteer offer go un-recognized and try to respond to every offer of help with an appropriate task. Start small and build up depending on how reliable and capable the person is. You will need to be creative to find the right fit (task) for each willing volunteer.
- Use face book, twitter and other social media websites. There are many animal rights groups where one will find like-minded people interested in participating in activities.
- You can get like-minded friends together and build a volunteer database through their contacts, friends and family.
c. Orienting your volunteers
- Always hand over the SOP’s for them to be well prepared.
- Ensure the volunteers read or know the correct information before talking to others. A factsheet could help here
- Ensure that the demeanour of volunteers is polite and outgoing
d. Working with volunteers:
- Following up and interacting with volunteers regularly is important to keep them engaged.
- In your interaction with the volunteer, it is important to gauge their interest levels and amount of time they can dedicate.
- If a volunteer doesn’t show up, be ready to go ahead and leaflet alone. It will make you strong and independent. However for a tabling event be sure that at least one volunteer serves as a backup in case someone doesn’t turn up.
e. Post event
- Post a leafleting or tabling event, the lead participant should fill in a feedback form, this helps keep track of number of leaflets given out, responses and any specific feedback about the event.
- The lead should ensure a thank you mail is sent to the volunteers promptly after the event.
- Always click pictures at events to ensure adequate communication to a larger group of people via social media.
Some important pointers
When leafleting, it’s very helpful to recognize that not everyone will be as receptive to becoming vegetarian as others. So it makes sense to focus greater effort on those you feel may be more interested in learning about cruelty-free eating.
Typically, college and high school students seem to be the most open-minded to the message of compassion. Younger people tend to be much less set in their ways and more willing to question societal norms, such as the idea that animals exist to serve humans.
f. Thank you letters to volunteers:
Always express gratitude in some form or the other after an event. Remember, a happy volunteer is a dedicated volunteer!
Thank you for helping animals! Your effort, time and presence at this event will help save the life of many animals. Leafleting is one of the most effective ways of doing outreach, and we would be glad to support any independent outreach activities you may wish to conduct. Please feel free to write into us for leaflets, we will send you the numbers you require (we may ask you to donate toward the reproduction of leaflets), and make sure you look up leafleting tips on our website www.fiapo.org . These tips that help with doing leafleting effectively and general advocacy.
We hope to participate in such events in the future and look forward to your continued support and help in spreading awareness.
- Taking feedback : At tabling events, there will always be people who wish to give you their feedback on activities/contacts they may have/or events they may know about. It is very useful to have a register with their contact details and space for feedback on it.
- Prepare a feedback form to be filled by the main anchor
- Prepare a feedback form to be filled by volunteers
Judging people by their appearance is a standard response most people have, more so in India. Especially when one is doing leafleting or activism, looking and dressing neatly can immediately create a positive impression and make people take you more seriously.
- Look neat and tidy..
- Your attire should convey the message to your audience: “I’m just like you.” If you’re leafleting students, you can wear different clothes than if you’re leafleting in a business district of an urban center. Just try to blend in, on the tidy side.
Behaviour and Demeanor:
- Always be polite.
- Never be aggressive to the point where people feel forced to take leaflets or start arguing works against the welfare of animals.
- While most people are polite when approached, sometimes you find people argumentative or people who may take pot shots at the concept. It’s imperative to keep your cool, never argue back and excuse yourself from them.
- A genuine and warm smile and eye contact increases receptivity.
Following are some tips from Farm Sanctuary’s Compassionate Communities leafleting tips that were tried while test leafleting:
- The Lean: If you extend your hand all the way, lean your shoulder forward and bend at the waist a bit towards the student, they will naturally take the leaflet. You’re giving so much of yourself to try to reach this person, they would feel bad leaving you hanging.
- The Head Tilt: Tilt your head while offering the brochure. We don’t know why this works, but it helps a lot.
- The Stop And Start: People often decide whether to take a brochure based on whether the person in front of them took a brochure. If you get a string of individuals who turn you down, stop leafleting, wait about fifteen seconds, and then start back up again.
- The Hi: Say “hi” or “hello” to an approaching person and wait for them to say hello back. Now that you two have established contact, offer them a leaflet.
- The Gate: If you’re leafleting with a friend, stand across from one another on either side of the flow of foot traffic. It’s hard for people to say no when they feel outnumbered.
Some Conversation Starters
- Hi…I am just trying to discuss lifestyle choices we make and the influencers in that/Trying to understand what we consume and why? If you don’t mind me asking, “Do you consume animal products?”
- If I was to tell you the truth behind your “food”, you think that will make a difference in your lifestyle choices? Go on to talk about Health/Cruelty/Environment
- I’m talking about animal rights, could you please read this (handing over leaflet) – if you like what you’re reading, do write back or call on the given number!
If you’ve gone through these tabs, you should now be a pro at vegan outreach! Kick start your outreach today to save thousands of animals!
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