Happy New Year from VegFund!
Last chance to make your resolutions for 2017.
Resolve to organize or participate in a vegan outreach event!
VegFund is here to help.
If you’re new to vegan advocacy, find local vegan groups in your area. A few good places to look:
- Meetup groups
- Search social media (Facebook and Twitter, especially) for groups near you
- Ask at your local veg restaurant
- Join the planning team of a local VegFest
Find out what events they have on the calendar for 2017 — and volunteer! If they don’t have outreach events planned, suggest a food-sampling event, a documentary screening, leafleting, or video pay-per-view — and make sure they know that VegFund can help with grant-based support.
Or, start your own group! If there aren’t vegan groups in your area, get one going. Expanding vegan living into new areas is a fabulous goal for the new year.
If you’re a veteran activist, start the new year with some creative outreach planning. We have a few suggestions for you based on our 2016 survey of our grantees. Here’s what worked for them:
Host a Documentary Film Screening
Educate and entertain the public with a screening of one of the many excellent documentaries relating to animal agriculture. With an ever-growing choice of documentaries in this area, you’re sure to find something suitable whether you want to engage people on topics of animal rights, the environment, or health and nutrition.
“The reception was fantastic, with one of the viewers wanting to host his own viewing, with my (and your) help!” – FMVeg, Minnesota – Cowspiracy Screening 2015
VegFund grantees use a variety of venues for film screenings. The three most common are:
- local church facilities
- town halls
- college campuses
The documentaries most commonly screened by our grantees are:
- Peaceable Kingdom
- Forks Over Knives
Find out more about hosting a screening here.
Before the event:
- Set up a Facebook event for the screening and invite your connections! About one month before the event should suffice. List the event venue, date and time, and any other important details. Include a blurb about the documentary film — and note if you’re including a Q&A session.
- Post the event page within veg groups and other relevant groups on a regular basis in the weeks before the event.
- Put up posters at the venue and other strategic locations in run-up to the event. Local print shops are usually happy to offer help or guidelines in setting up and printing your materials.
The day of the event:
- Find out in advance what time you can gain access to the venue to start your preparations.
- Plan to be at the venue 1–2 hours before the event to give you time to arrange the room, put out chairs, set up the projector, and lay out additional materials such as educational literature and food samples.
- Leave the venue as you found it. Settle up any outstanding fees with the venue.
Host a Food Sampling Table at a Local Fair
Food sampling is a simple but effective form of outreach. Just book a stall at a suitable event, plan and prepare your food items, and turn up on the day with some volunteer support.
“AWESOME! Thanksliving went so much better than I could have ever hoped!! I had so many wonderful helpers and we gave out all the samples two hours sooner than I had expected! We got nothing but positive responses. We literally ran out of vegan fliers to hand out. Everyone LOVED the food.” – Students for Animal Rights Thanksliving event
Our grantees typically set up food sampling tables at:
- local community fairs and markets
- green festivals
- health fairs
- college campuses
The most popular types of vegan food samples handed out are:
- mock meat products, such as Tofurky and Gardein products
- plant milks – offer a variety such as soy, almond, and coconut
- homemade cookies and cupcakes
The day of the event!
- Set up before the event starts and be sure to keep your table tidy and sample trays full.
- Dress smart-casual and have a smile on your face. Presentation is key to enticing people to stop for a taste.
- Rotate your staff if you have volunteers. Prepare a schedule in advance to ensure everyone gets a break during the day.
- Check out our blog on effective communication for tips on engaging with people about vegan living.
- If you’re part of a vegan group, have a clipboard for sign-ups.
VegFund’s suggested sources for literature to hand out:
- US activists – check out Vegan Outreach’s leaflets and place an order
- UK activists – check out The Vegan Society’s leaflets and place an order
- Mercy For Animals’ Veg Starter Guide – you can order these via their website or print them off
Learn more about food sampling events here.
What other outreach ideas does VegFund consider?
We provide grant support for a whole variety of vegan outreach activities, and we’re always interested in new and creative ideas — online campaigns, vegan fashion shows, speakers, vegfests, and more. See the Merit Awards section of the VegFund website for guidelines on funding innovative projects that promote veganism. Some examples from the past year:
Slovensko vegansko društvo (Slovenian Vegan Society) hosted Vegafest 2016. More than 10,000 people were reached by the event, with an estimate of 7,000 non-veg people visiting the festival itself.
Dzīvnieku brīvība in Latvia held a Vegan Summer Solstice celebration where they served vegan cheese samples to attendees and distributed educational literature. Activists engaged in some really positive discussions, with many people showing an interest in making steps towards vegan living.
This type of outreach is funded through VegFund’s Merit Awards program.
Wishing you the very best of luck with your outreach in 2017.
- The VegFund Team