Pro Tips: The Quick Guide to Being an Effective Activist

If you’re reading this guide, congratulations on being a compassionate person and wanting to help animals! These tips will help you be the most effective activist that you possibly can be. For a more in-depth guide, check out our full-length pdf: The Guide to Effective Advocacy.

1. Be prepared.

  • Organize, then act. Figure out what you have to do to get set up, organize your work by what is most significant, and then move forward from there.
  • Let us help! If there is anything that you want to talk to PETA about or if you’d like to brainstorm about a topic, please feel free to contact us at 757-622-PETA or [email protected]. Also, get connected with the PETA outreach coordinator in your region.
  • Before taking on a large advocacy project, break it down into smaller, more manageable steps.

2. Be positive.

  • Take an amiable approach. Instead of ranting at the people you’re attempting to engage, start a friendly conversation with them. Most people simply haven’t spent much time thinking about the issues and are open to new ideas.
  • During your conversation, ask your audience interactive and thought-provoking questions about the issues you’re working on, such as, “Have you heard about this issue?” and “Do you know why this is an issue?” and so on.

3. Be pragmatic.

  • Remember that a vegan lifestyle isn’t difficult or a dogma. It’s about doing what you can to reduce animal suffering.
  • When you talk to people about animal rights issues, walk a fine line between not excusing animal abuse and not shutting others out from the animal rights community by being overzealous or unwilling to listen to their concerns, questions, and opinions.

4. Learn from common mistakes.

Cleaning Up Leaflets

  • Stay focused on the issue you’re working on. Avoid getting caught up in arguments, especially ones that distract you from the main issue.
  • Little things can make a big difference. Doing something as simple as wearing a pro–animal rights T-shirt or having an animal rights bumper sticker on your car can inspire conversations and help animals.

5. Use our three favorite points.

Holly the Rescued Calf Gives Kisses

  • Tell people whom you’re fighting for! Explain to them that the animals you’re campaigning for are living, feeling, smart, interesting, and unique beings.
  • Tell others that they shouldn’t pay anyone to harm animals if they wouldn’t do it themselves. Raising this issue with people in a conversational way can help them see why eating meat and other animal-derived foods is wrong.
  • Remind your audience that going vegan is not only one of the simplest actions that they can take to promote animal welfare but also an effective way to help the environment and improve their health.

6. Practice answering tough questions.

America, a black cat available for adoption

You’ll encounter a wide variety of questions during advocacy. Check out our FAQ pages for answers to some of the most common questions that advocates get.

7. Stay positive.

  • Everything that you do matters. Every victory that you achieve—whether it’s collecting signatures for a petition to get more vegan options at a restaurant or participating in an animal rescue—is important.

We truly are winning, so you can be optimistic about the future. We’re winning at a rate that is lightning-fast compared to the progress of previous social-justice movements. Check out our PETA victories page for a few morale boosters.

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“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind