Leafleting and signature collections

In this section you can read about the practical aspects of leafleting and signature collections.


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Attitude on the street

Photo courtesy of Basel Vegan
Photo courtesy of Basel Vegan

When you are out leafleting, your attitude is important. If you come off as negative or unapproachable, people will avoid you. Even if they accept a flier, the chance of them reading it is low.

How you greet people is important for how many accept your flier, and how many actually reads it. It is therefore important to smile and be friendly. Be the highlight of their day, rather than an annoying hindrance.

If you make peoples day just a little bit brighter, you increase the chance of them reading the flier and they will have a positive attitude towards “people like us” in future encounters. An old saying goes “smile to the world, and the world smiles back”. This really applies to leafleting. A huge smile is usually rewarded, and it makes leafleting much more fun. Even if people are stressed or annoyed, a positive attitude will keep your own spirits high. If you are energetic and have an upbeat attitude, more people will accept your flier and the chance of them reading it is increased.

Body language is important

How you move is also important to a leafleter. It is important to be visible on the street.

Keep in motion and make sure people notice you. Hand out fliers with your arm outstreched and look people in the eye. The more visible you are, the greater chance they will take your flier.

Don't be afraid of standing in the way. Of course you shouldn't stop them from passing you, but it can be a good strategy to stand in their path so they have to walk around you – doing so, of course, with a smile. Leafleting is more fun if you use your body. Many leafleters stay in motion while leafleting. It keeps the body going and improves your mood, and it guarantees that people notice you. This increases the chance that they will take a flier.

Photo courtesy of Basel Vegan
Photo courtesy of Basel Vegan

What to say to people?

There are many different things to say to people when leafleting. Some of the most common ones are “Fliers against animal abuse”, “Stop animal abuse” or simply “would you like a flier?”.

It might be good idea to use positive words that make people more acceptive towards the flier. For example, offer them “a free flier about animal welfare”. Another way to improve your chances is to use words that relate to the situation you are in. This keeps your attitude fresh and fun, and influences people positively.

If the weather is good, say for example “a sunshine flier against animal abuse” or “a spring flier on animal welfare”.

It's a good idea to change dialogue sometimes. That will keep you from sounding too mechanical, and makes it more fun with constant change.

Your choice of words depends on you, but it is important that people perceive the flier in a positive light when they get it. It is not a good idea just to say “animal abuse” because that word has negative connotations.

It is also not a good idea to give the message of the flier before they've read it by saying for example “go vegetarian/vegan”. This will make fewer people accept the flier. Remember that it is the fliers task to convince people and your task to hand out as many as possible.

Dress code

Make sure to be dressed for the seasons. It might not feel cold for a short walk, but it is something quite different when you are standing still for hours. If you are in doubt, rather bring more clothes than less. It is easier to take off clothes than put on clothes you didn't bring.

It is also a good idea to consider how your clothes affect your audience. In a perfect world, nobody would care how anyone dressed, but in reality people are judgmental about it.

To be more effective, consider wearing clothes that matches who you think you will be giving out fliers to. Research shows that people are more positive towards others that look like them, and they will therefore be more likely to accept a flier from you if you look alike. If you are leafleting in a city square, it may be a good idea to take off the piercings, radical clothing and provocative political messages. On the other hand, if you are leafleting at a punk concert, this kind of dress code is probably a good idea. Consider your audience and try as far as possible to fit in when you are leafleting.

Photo courtesy of Basel Vegan
Photo courtesy of Basel Vegan

Who should get a flier?

The short answer is: everyone should get a flier! Some people are more likely to become vegetarians or vegans. This applies for example to young women.

On the other hand, vegetarians and vegans exist in all kinds of places in society. When we do leafleting on the street, it is important to get to as many as possible. Therefore you should hand everyone who passes you a flier.

If more people walk by you at the same time, and you can't give a flier to all, consider prioritizing young people over older people, and women over men. Generally the most important thing to do is to give out to as many as possible. Don't spent too much time analyzing who to give to, and instead just hand out as much as possible.

What if people want to talk?

Generally, leafleting is about handing out fliers, not talking with people. It is important to give out as many leaflets as possible. Therefore you should try to avoid talking with people, and instead focus on giving out fliers. People who stop to talk usually agree strongly or disagree strongly with your message. It is therefore not very likely that a conversation with them will matter much to the animals. We need to focus on everyone else.

It pays to talk to people who are just about to become vegetarian/vegan or want to volunteer. Consider if the person just wants to chat or provoke. Are you actually able to change the attitude of the person? Finally, ask yourself if the conversation is productive enough to spent the time on, compared to giving out fliers to others.