Why Is Leafleting So Scary?

Why Is Leafleting So Scary?

I just spent another morning leafleting at my local university. I go out about once a month and “spread the word” of veganism by handing out colorful Vegan Outreach booklets free to college students. I am often joined by another leafleter who meets me and we split a busy college sidewalk “intersection” to make sure nearly all the students who pass by us have the opportunity to receive a booklet.

As usual, it was a great day for leafleting. Most students were friendly and many took a leaflet. I heard one girl tell her friend that after reading the pamphlet she wasn’t going to be able to eat chicken nuggets any more. Another guy took a leaflet and said he would try to go veg one day a week. Two people told me they were already vegan and another three said they were vegetarian. We ended up handing out 500 leaflets in just one hour. That’s potentially 5 new vegetarians or vegans. Each vegetarian or vegan will save hundreds or thousands of animals.

The only real obstacle is the weather and where I live the weather is nice most of the year. When it’s hot I dress lightly and stay in the shade; when it’s chillly I bundle up and wear gloves. Lucky for me, I don’t usually have to cancel for rain or snow. I hear some hard-core leafleters trudge through and leaflet even in harsh weather. But not me, I’m a fair-weather leafeter.

When I got back home I hopped online to check my email and update my facebook. As I scrolled through my emails I remembered that another friend had promised to help leaflet one day, but somehow something always got in the way. She had good intentions but her follow-through wasn’t ideal. It made me wonder what it was about leafleting that seemed so daunting to her. Why didn’t she come leaflet with me?

Have you’ve felt this way? What is it about leafleting that is so off-putting to so many animal advocates? Why, when I ask for volunteers for a protest do people show up in droves but when I ask for help leafleting I’m lucky to get one volunteer? I’m genuinely curious here… Please help me out!

6 Responses to Why Is Leafleting So Scary?

  1. Nice post – you raise an excellent question! One that has puzzled me many times, too. I find leafleting to be a lot more interesting than protesting — just standing with a sign can get tedious and boring.

    On the other hand, I know that often when I’m about to leaflet, I am nervous before I hand the first one out, but once I’ve handed out the first one, the nervousness completely vanishes. Many leafleters have experienced this. Maybe it’s part of being generally introverted?

  2. I would assume that, after a whole day of leafleting, I would have gotten in a number of arguments with defensive carnists. That would be a lot of negativity to go home with and a powerful disincentive to leavleting.

  3. Love this post, thank you! And a HUGE thank you for getting out there leafleting! I have to agree with Jack. I’ve heard numerous people say they felt nervous until they handed out their first booklet of the day. I look forward to reading comments from others. I’ve found that leafleting has helped me be a better advocate for animals, not to mention help me grow as a person too. Thanks!

  4. I have tried leafleting also in my college days. I find it scary at first that I might only see the students crumple the leaflets without reading it. Do you think this is the same reason your friend has?

  5. I find leafleting scary because although it hasn’t happened to me, I worry someone will yell at me, or say some snarky comment that I find really hurtful and can’t stop thinking about. I also fear (and this does sometimes happen), that someone will have a question, and I’ll have to talk to them. I find talking to strangers *very* scary – even if its a positive conversation, I’m paralyzed with fear over what I should say. I find it especially uncomfortable with leafleting because I’ve sort of forced some literature on them, rather than tabling, where they come to me which I feel far more comfortable with. For shy types like myself, I’d start with tabling, then once you build up positive experiences, you can move on to leafleting if you want to.

  6. i’ve haven’t done alot of leafleting, but i have done protests at KFC and Mickey Dees. i have gotten the snarky comments, the lectures about nutrtion and how an omnivore diet is ostensibly good for you, i have heard the rude and threatening comments, up to and including the “get a job” yelled from the front seat of a brand new SUV, in short i have heard it all. i don’t believe that leafleting would be much different, it tears at you when someone crumples up or otherwise destroys an informative pamphlet or leaflet, or says something rude or out of bounds. but ultimately i would have to think that scary is in the eye of the beholder, more than anything else.


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