Friday, December 27, 2013

Specialize and Network

-Anne Green, PhD
Director of Development and Programs

Vegan Outreach is dedicated to reducing suffering as much as possible.

To this end, we strive to be as efficient as possible. In the early days, being efficient meant that Matt, Jack, and I hand-collated, stapled, and folded thousands of booklets. Thankfully, our outreach has outgrown our living room! But our emphasis on efficiency continues.

A large part of being efficient is specializing. Vegan Outreach specializes in distributing compelling booklets to young people at colleges and universities across North America, with a determined focus on reaching undergraduates in the United States (for the reasons discussed here).

The “Programs” part of my work involves making sure activists have the resources they need to accomplish this mission. This includes providing the booklets themselves, of course, but also ensuring access to information, housing, and help. To do this efficiently, I coordinate with activists, network with organizations, collect and record data, and bring all the information together. (Yes, I really like to organize!)

We coordinate with national and regional groups – e.g., The Humane League, Mercy For Animals, Compassionate Action for Animals, Animal Protection and Rescue League, and others – as well as with local and student groups – Vegas Veg, Bay Area Veg, UCONN Veg, and many, many others – so that the maximum number of people can be reached with minimal duplication of effort.

Also, I contact our helpful hosts for traveling activists. Our Hotel Vegan Outreach network is made up of the finest “innkeepers” on the continent! (Many of them also take in massive shipments of booklets.) And they open their homes not only for our Adopt-a-College leafleters, but also for the traveling Warped Tour team. (Imagine having a crew of tired and hungry activists, who leafleted all day in the summer sun, knock on your door late at night!)

I follow up with people who order Vegan Outreach booklets, not only to make sure they’ve received their order, but also to put them in touch with other activists in their area, whenever possible. The more connections we make, the more people we can reach, and the more people will stop eating animals!

Furthermore, I keep track of the data from activists’ reports: Who distributes booklets where and when? Who grants permission at a private school? Where is the best place to park, to stand – and even to eat – at colleges and universities across North America?

Of course, Vegan Outreach shares this information via our Adopt-a-College site, so activists across North America can access it quickly and easily. This helps all activists do efficient outreach, even in a new place.

Vegan Outreach provides the hub – the outreach material and the data necessary to know who, what, where, when, and how. Our networks of groups, organizations, individuals, hosts, and helpers across the continent are the spokes.

Vegan Outreach specializes and networks so no one has to reinvent the wheel. Rather, we can be the wheel. And we can drive the movement forward efficiently, creating positive progress for the animals.