Thank you for getting active with Animal Outlook! We really appreciate you spending your time and energy helping animals.
This guide explains the impactful tool of video outreach, introduces Animal Outlook’s eye-opening Beyond The Lies program, and shows you how you can get started by creating and running your own event!
What is pay-per-view video outreach?
Ultimately, the operation of a pay-per-view event is fairly simple. We offer people $1 to watch a 4-minute video about the treatment of animals on farms and at slaughterhouses. This can be done on public property (as long as you aren’t blocking foot traffic), or set up in advance at schools, festivals, and other events! All you really need are screens for playing the video (laptops, tablets, etc.), headphones, dollar bills, and leaflets.
Animal Outlook’s Beyond The Lies is a pay-per-view video outreach program that goes behind the closed doors of factory farms and slaughterhouses to expose the horrors that Big Ag doesn’t want you to see. Tens of thousands of people have been paid a dollar to watch the powerful footage, and many have been prompted to make life-saving dietary changes in their own lives. Please visit BeyondTheLies.org and watch our 4-minute documentary to see firsthand the footage that’s made waves at events from coast to coast before organizing your own event.
Before an Event:
1. Find an appropriate venue
- Video outreach events should be in a place that will receive a lot of foot traffic, like the quad of a college, a downtown promenade, or a festival. The best audience for video outreach are people who aren’t already vegan, but may be open to animal rights.
- Be sure to check your local laws and ordinances for any local restrictions or requirements if planning to conduct your event on public property, or obtain all necessary permissions for outreach inside private venues or large events like festivals.
- Plan as far ahead as possible in order to apply for and receive a VegFund grant (3 weeks), receive Animal Outlook literature, and promote your event!
2. Apply for a VegFund grant
- VegFund provides financial assistance to activists organizing events worldwide to share compassionate vegan eating with the public. If you’re planning on hosting a Beyond The Lies or other pay-per-view event, VegFund may be able to reimburse the expense of providing $1 to each viewer. Applying for a grant is easier than it sounds!
- Be sure to reach out to us 2 weeks before your planned event to allow for us to send you literature and the video at: firstname.lastname@example.org
- On the day before the event, please review any instructions you’ve received from a Animal Outlook staffer or venue representative. We count on our activists! If you have signed up to lead or be present at an event, please let us know if you’re late or unable to make your commitment.
- Make sure you have all the materials you’ll need. These may include:
- Laptops and/or tablets (with downloaded video and/or app)
- Leaflets stuffed with $1
- A signup sheet if not using an electronic one
- Other literature, like Vegan Starter Guides (optional)
- Table and tablecloth (optional)
- Personal items (such as sunscreen, snacks, water, etc.)
During an Event:
1. Attract viewers
- One of our main goals at any event is to reach as many people as possible by keeping our screens full. The more people who watch the video, the more we can educate and inspire to take action! Often, the most productive thing to do is help bring people to the screens. We do this by being inviting and engaging. Stand in the general vicinity of the event space and try to engage everyone who walks by. Start off with a friendly, “Hey! I’ll pay you a dollar to watch our video!” If you have a sign, you can also point to the sign, which is extra helpful at a noisy event (like a concert).
- If someone flat out says, “No”, tell them to “Have a nice day!” and move on to soliciting others.
- If they just show hesitation, feel free to playfully work on them a bit (“Oh, come on! Who doesn’t want free money?”), but don’t be pushy.
- If someone asks what the video is about, simply tell them, “It’s about the treatment of animals raised for food.”
- Don’t say it is about veganism, animal rights, etc.
- It’s also important that you not wear any clothing that promotes veganism or animal rights so as to not give people a preconceived bias against our video.
- If someone tells you they’re already vegetarian or they’ve seen the information before, you can say, “Oh, cool! Well, there’s a lot of great information in the video. You might learn something new! Plus, you‘ll get a dollar!”
2. Someone wants to watch! Now what?
- Bring them over to the screen, and let them know we just need their name and email for them to get the dollar. If you have an Android tablet, you can download our app that will take down their info and play the video (email us at email@example.com and we’ll show you how to set it up)! Or you can have one tablet or laptop be used for people to fill out a Google Sheet, or a printed out form.
- If they seem hesitant about giving out their info, let them know that we are a non-profit and cannot sell their information to third parties, so they won’t get spam.
- Please be gentle, yet adamant that in order to watch the video and be paid $1, they have to give us this info.
- After they’ve given us their info, set them up with a screen and a corresponding pair of headphones.
- There may be more viewers than screens during high-traffic times. If this happens, form a line to keep track of who’s been waiting the longest.
- If someone walks up and all screens are full, approach them and ask if they are interested in watching the video. If they say, “Yes,” tell them that you’re just waiting for some screens to open up, and it will only be a minute or so.
- In order to cut down on people walking away, ask them how their day has been.
3. Once a viewer finishes the video
- If someone does not want to finish the video, you can encourage (but not push) them to continue watching. Some of our best conversations come from people who are too disturbed to watch the entire video, so definitely try to talk to them about how they’re feeling and what they’re thinking.
- The length of time we can devote to conversations depends on how busy the event is and how many activists there are. Generally speaking, it is better to err on the side of a conversation being shorter than longer to make time for encouraging more people to watch the video.
- Our general entrance into these conversations is simply, “What did you think about the video?” This will lead to a wide range of conversations. The most important thing to remember is that people are much more interested in having an honest conversation than being read a script. Be casual, personable, contextual, and empathetic. That being said, there are some talking points that we want to make sure we hit with every conversation we have.
4. Talking to people after they’ve watched the video
- Meet people where they are. Most of us weren’t born vegan, so we should be able to relate to pre-vegans. Listening to people is a great way to start the conversation. It can give you ideas of what to address, and it will show that you’re interested in having a genuine conversation.
- We want people to know that going vegan is the most effective thing we can do to fight animal cruelty. Our language should always reflect this, so even if the conversation leads to the option of starting with smaller steps (such as Meatless Mondays or eating vegan meals once a day), we can frame those as steps towards a larger goal. “That’s a great start! The more you try new foods, the more you’ll get used to them. Then you can introduce more and more vegan days!”
- Keep the conversation positive! You want to feel out where they’re at and what’s keeping them from going vegan, not shame them or argue. Virtually everyone agrees the treatment of the animals is horrible, but there’s still something keeping them from going vegan. Is it a health concern? Enjoying what they eat? Knowing what to eat? Focus on their individual reasons, invite questions, and also ask them questions.
- Be prepared for people to ask about “cage-free,” “free-range,” “organic,” and “humane” animal products (despite it being addressed in the video).
- Remind them that according to the USDA, the vast majority of all animal products come from factory farms like those seen in the video.
- “Humane” labels are created by the industry to put consumers’ minds at ease because they know many people are willing to pay more for what they believe are more humane conditions. But these products are far from cruelty-free. On most “cage-free” farms, hens are crowded by the thousands in dark sheds and are deprived of natural conditions and behaviors. “Cage-free” and “free-range” animals are often subjected to the same mutilations as animals on factory farms, such as tail docking, debeaking, and castration without painkillers. Babies are taken from their mothers, and male chicks are killed at birth by the egg industry because they aren’t considered useful.
- “Organic” doesn’t have meaningful animal treatment requirements either. The USDA requires that the animals are given organic feed and no growth hormones or antibiotics, and the regulations have unclear space and outdoor access requirements for most animals. Animal welfare rules for organic-certified producers are so imprecise, that animals are often raised in conditions that are indistinguishable from those on factory farms. Ultimately, these animals end up at the same slaughterhouses as all other animals raised for food.
- Connect. Empathize. We want to make sure we are paying attention to what the viewers are saying and affirming their reactions to the video whenever possible. If they tell us it was sad or horrific, we should respond empathetically.
- We are not here to shame or yell at people or to promote ourselves as “examples of perfection.” It is important to remember that most of us were not born vegan. Answer questions and concerns, and speak from your own experiences, but the best thing you can do is ask questions to get the viewer talking. This isn’t about us. It’s about the viewer and the animals they can save.
- To this end, please do not use comparisons to the Holocaust, slavery, or sexual violence when discussing the issues of animal agriculture. We find that it distracts viewers from our mission of raising awareness about how farmed animals are treated and instead turns their attention towards the activist and their method of discussion.
- Invite viewers to take action. One of the best things you can do is to ask the viewer if watching the video has made them consider reducing their consumption of animal products. If they say “Yes,” ask them where they can start.
- What if people ask about legislative measures? You can answer that “We are empowering people to take action right now, rather than waiting for rules and regulations that depend on a complex, lengthy process.”
- What if I don’t know the answer? It’s OK! Most likely, anything a viewer brings up will be a simple question that you’ve answered before, but if someone asks something you don’t know the answer to, it is totally fine to be honest and say, “You know, that’s a great question. I’m not sure of the answer, but let’s find out together!” Then you can look up their question on your phone.
- Time Management: Do your best to manage your time and feel free to end conversations if you feel they aren’t productive. When you feel the conversation has reached its natural end, you can ask if they have any other questions or concerns.
- Finishing a Conversation: After chatting, hand them a leaflet with their $1. It’s helpful to open the leaflet, show them the dollar and point to the TryVeg.com site if they want any more information.
- The most important part is to have fun while doing this! Joke around with people, smile, laugh, wave, dance, etc. Events can seem overwhelming at times, but just remember you are doing great work and the more fun we have, the more likely people will want to check out what we’re doing.
5. General tips
- Be responsible. Volunteering at Animal Outlook events under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol is not permitted.
- Be inclusive. Animal Outlook works to build a world where everyone is welcome and feels safe, and we can start by making our events like that. Be respectful and welcoming of people in their diversity of gender, orientation, race, national origin, body types, abilities, etc.
- Respectfully follow directions. If you receive directions from event, campus, or other personnel, or from law enforcement, we ask that you comply respectfully and without argument. Do not resist directions, argue, or escalate under any circumstances.
- Take pictures and videos of your event! It’s required for VegFund reimbursement, and Animal Outlook would love to highlight your event on our social media accounts!
After an Event:
- Share your photos and videos on your own or your local group’s socials to spread the reach of your action with an online audience.
- Send both Animal Outlook and VegFund your signup sheets and any pictures and videos you took. We can’t wait to hear how your outreach went! You can reach us at: firstname.lastname@example.org