Have you decided that 2018 will be your year of making a difference? It could be that you’re feeling inspired by the way that veganism is taking off, and you want to help accelerate that change.
But how can you add your voice to the vegan movement if you’re naturally quite shy? This is a topic which sprang up on our Facebook page recently – and it’s a good question! It’s important to find a way to get involved which you feel comfortable with, and this can sometimes take time.
It can be easy to associate activism with people who are confident and outgoing. You hear the word and think pickets, protests, stopping people on the street. So what can you do if you want to get involved, but the thought of putting yourself out there fills you with dread?
Use your skills
Firstly, don’t worry! Veganism takes all sorts – and so does activism. Some people thrive in social situations and love talking to new people, and some people don’t. There’s nothing wrong with being a shy person, and there are plenty of other ways you can promote veganism.
Look out for other ways you can volunteer your time. For example, charities are often in need of volunteers to post out resources for them or help them with admin.
Everyone has unique skills, so think about what yours are. Are you a top-notch baker? Do you like writing? Are you good with numbers? Do you have great design skills? Then think about how you can use these skills to benefit the movement – either as an individual or offering to volunteer for an organisation.
There are a whole host of ways you can help to promote veganism from the comfort of your home or behind your phone. It can often be easier to give advice and tips online rather than face to face.
Facebook and Twitter are full of people commenting that they’d love to go vegan with a bit of help. You can reply to these people and share the things which helped you personally to go vegan, or link them to resources which they might find helpful, such as our 30 Day Vegan Pledge.
The possibilities don’t end there. Why not use Instagram to share foodie ideas? Or you could start a blog? There are so many topics to cover – your personal journey to veganism to your favourite recipes, to tips on where to find affordable vegan products. You can never have too many people advocating for veganism. Everyone speaks in a different way and your unique voice will find its own audience.
Practice makes perfect
All that said – don’t write off your social skills just yet. Like anything else, speaking up for your beliefs is a skill which can be learned and a habit that can be practised.
Do you usually shy away and try to change the conversation when someone asks you why you’re vegan? The next time this happens, try to use it as an opportunity to get some practice in. Answer the questions simply and honestly. Having some key facts up your sleeve will help you to feel more confident.
Once you’ve had these kinds of conversations with the people around you, it will be easier to branch out and speak to new people.
Join a group
Remember – you don’t have to go it alone. If you’re new to outreach, it’s always worth seeing if you have an active vegan group local to you, and if you can get on board with their methods of communication. Going along to any events they hold will allow you to dip your toe in the water and see what kind of approach the group takes.
Even if putting yourself out there is a bit daunting, know that getting a little bit out of your comfort can not only be a great thing for the movement, and also for your own personal development. Plenty of people grow to love activism and learn new things about themselves in the process.
Thanks for being a great voice for veganism, however you choose to do so. If you’re interested in joining a supportive new community for vegan activists, members of The Vegan Society can join our Campaigner Network for ideas and support. We would love to have you on board.
By Elena Orde
The views expressed by our bloggers are not necessarily the views of The Vegan Society.