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The Super-Activist Checklist
When you’re out campaigning for animals, here are some things you won’t want to forget:
Have you got a few hours to burn? Well you can make a BIG difference for animals—whether it’s gaining petition signatures by yourself, standing on a street corner distributing leaflets with friends, or setting up a regular info table at a local event. The fight against animal cruelty starts at the ‘grassroots’, which means reaching as many individual people as possible. That’s where you come in!
With just a few proven tips and tricks up your sleeve, you too can become a well-equipped, confident, and unstoppable super-hero for animals!
On the day, remember also to bring along a water bottle, pens, clipboards, sticky tape for attaching posters to walls, or rubber bands to hold leaflets together on windy days. Keep a sheet of paper handy to record the details of anyone who might be interested in joining you for future occasions.
You can freely leaflet and gather petition signatures in most public spaces. Busy streets with lots of pedestrians are best, but be careful not to block the pedestrian traffic, or you may be asked to “move along”! Some public spaces such as shopping malls and commercial parklands are actually privately owned, and you will need to contact centre management beforehand to seek permission to leaflet or gather petition signatures there. If you are unsure whether you need to seek permission to be at a certain location, or are planning to have a large number of people present, contact your city council first.
If you’re going to hand out leaflets, make sure you’ve read them first (this might sound obvious, but it’s vital). Read up on the campaign you are interested in on our website before you step out in public; this should prepare you for most of the questions you are likely to be asked. If you are unsure of the answer to a particular question, it's okay to say you "don't know". Simply remind the person you are talking to that you are a volunteer, then offer them a leaflet and direct them to the unleashed.org.au website.
You may well be the first person that some people have ever met who is actively speaking up for animals, so you’ll need to leave a positive impression! Smile, be friendly and thank every person who takes a leaflet. Don’t give anyone an excuse to dismiss people like you who are speaking up against animal cruelty. If someone does not want to take a leaflet, politely thank them and move on to the next person.
Always be considerate of the requests of local businesses. Try not to block entrances or exits, and comply with any reasonable requests from the owner or operator. Keep in their good books and they’ll be happy to have you back next time.
Don’t be afraid to talk to people—if you are leafleting, offer people a leaflet with a simple question such as “Do you have one of these, yet?” If they say “no”, then you can offer them a leaflet; and if they say “yes”, then you can ask them what they think of the campaign. Openly tell people about the campaign you represent, as most people know very little about animal cruelty. Informed people will reject cruel animal industries, and a brief conversation with you might just open someone’s eyes in ways a leaflet never could!
Time is valuable, and it’s important to reach as many people as possible, so always stay on-topic, and avoid getting dragged into a lengthy discussion with someone who just wants to argue with you. If this happens, politely tell them that you need to talk to other people, and direct them to the unleashed.org.au website for more information.
This can happen from time to time as animal cruelty is a sensitive issue for some people. It's vitally important that you don’t respond rudely to any nasty or off-the-cuff remarks, as tempting as it may be—it will only make you look bad!
Remember that if you remain calm and polite, while someone is trying to argue with you, onlookers will see a kind, considerate activist and an unreasonable, irate pedestrian! Keep your cool and you’ll easily win the support of those around you!
If you have people assisting you, it is important to remind them that they are there to represent the animals, and not to catch up with their friends—do that afterwards! But while you’re on the street, keep focussed and alert, and don’t miss an opportunity to talk with someone who might be interested to learn more. Before you start, ensure that everyone is up to speed on the basic facts of the campaign, and that everyone knows who to come to for more materials or questions.
Everyone has different strengths—try to match people to roles they are most comfortable with. For example, ask the out-going people to hand out leaflets, gather petitions or dance around in animal costumes. Those who are more reserved may be more comfortable simply holding a poster or banner.
Creative presences always attract attention. Big banners, animal costumes and street theatre can go a long way to get people interested in your cause and bring them over to take leaflets, sign petitions and help out. There are limitless ways to make your presence eye catching and unique. Just pay careful attention not to disrupt pedestrian traffic, so that you don’t upset local businesses. Take photos of your events and send them to us!
To ensure that you are welcomed back again, it's very important to do a quick, but thorough clean-up to remove all your materials, and any discarded leaflets. A messy space will leave a bad impression—and that doesn't help the animals!
If you met anyone who is interested in helping you out next time, contact them quickly whilst the day is fresh in their minds, even if you don't know when next you'll be campaigning. Thank them for their interest and exchange contact details.
Don't forget to send us any completed or partially completed petitions (our postal address is at the bottom of this page).
Lastly, we'd love to know how you went, and see any photos you were able to snap of the day. Please drop us a line!