Leaflet Like a Pro!

Leafleting Tips from the Pros!

Contents

When

Weekdays are best. If you have a day to dedicate, go for it! 8 AM is usually the first class start time and it slows down around 3 PM. If you only have an hour or two, we recommend lunchtime (11 AM–1 PM) leafleting to be able to reach the most students. Some schools, including many community colleges, continue to have a flow of student traffic past 5 PM.

Since many of the larger schools are constantly leafleted / petitioned by other groups, arriving early generally ensures that you will be the only group on campus and not have to compete for the students’ attention.

Permission

Some schools allow leafleting by outsiders, while others do not. Public universities are supposed to allow it according to federal court decisions, but some do not follow such rules and others try to limit leafleting by requiring that you register and limiting where you can stand. More info on the legal issues surrounding leafleting and what to do if you are stopped can be found on the page Legal Questions About Leafleting.

Many schools within cities provide a flow of students on public sidewalks where they can be reached.

Where to Stand

At large schools, generally the most students will be found near the student union or library. However, it may be wise to try and find alternative spots to leaflet if the school is constantly leafleted or petitioned because students will be used to rejecting leafleters in these common spots. For instance, at UC Berkeley, leafleters avoid the Sproul Plaza, the busiest spot on campus, because it is leafleted nearly every day of the semester by other groups.

At smaller schools, or schools that are not leafleted often, the busiest spots are often the best. Consider staking out a few different spots and rotating between them during busy class changes to reach the maximum number of new students.

Keep in mind that the bulk of booklets handed out are distributed during class changes, those 10–15 minute windows of time between classes. It usually slows down during classes but is very busy during these changes.

While leafleting, it is best not to stay completely stationary. A wider walkway may require you to constantly walk back and forth, approaching as many students as possible. It is important to stand in the center of the walkway and not off to the side.

Keep in mind that traffic flow will be going in two directions. You will reach the largest amount of new students and avoid repeatedly asking the same students if you only leaflet one direction of the flow. If you are starting very early in the day, you can focus on students coming to class or on to campus. If you are starting later in the day focus on students that are coming out of class and possibly leaving campus for the day.

We keep detailed notes for the best places to leaflet at schools, so just enter your state in the search box in the sidebar and click Submit to see a list of schools in your area.

Other location tips:

What to Say

Vegan Outreach volunteers have found the following phrases to be effective:

If a person declines a leaflet, saying they are already vegetarian, which happens frequently, offer them a Guide to Cruelty-Free Eating. Offer it to them by saying there are good recipes, meal ideas, and health tips or announcing that you have something “special” just for them. You don’t need to mention it, but there is information on dairy and further arguments for veganism in the back of the booklet, which may help move them from vegetarian to vegan. You might also encourage them to keep the original leaflet and pass it on to a friend or family member, saying that it would probably mean more coming from them than from a stranger.

For a great video explanation of successful leafleting techniques, check out Vic Sjodin’s How to Leaflet? YouTube video.

Nervousness

Nervousness fades once you’ve offered the brochure to a few people. Students commonly have fliers for upcoming parties and plays thrust at them, so they are accustomed to being approached by leafleters. If you look like you know what you are doing, they assume you’re supposed to be doing it.

Don’t be too concerned about knowing every tiny detail about factory farming, the most current investigation, or every philosophical argument for and against vegetarianism. One could spend their lifetime reading every bit of information, but Vegan Outreach has done lots of research to make sure our booklets are accurate and well-documented. The majority of students will simply accept a booklet and say thank you or decline a booklet and say no thank you anyway. Very few will engage you in conversation and even fewer will grill you on facts. If you don’t know the answer to a question, it’s much better to admit you don’t know than to try and make up something you may have heard. The point is not to out-argue them but to get a booklet in their hands and for them to have a positive image of you as a person and your message of compassion. One of our most prolific leafleters created a website that contains the questions and his answers to those most commonly asked while leafleting. That can be found here: ar.vegnews.org.

A couple of leafleters give their experience:

Remember, there will almost always be students who are glad you’re there giving a voice to those without one and who are excited to get the information!

Other Tips from the Pros

Smaller Schools

Cold Weather