An animal activists' handbook
GETTING MONEY ON STALLS WITHOUT ASKING
This is where you set up a single issue stall in a shopping area. As we said in the chapter on Street Stalls, you are not allowed to have collecting tins or ask for money on your regular stalls. But if people offer you a donation, in our experience the police won't object.
Just make sure you keep the donation column up to date on the petition. If someone doesn't give anything, put 50p or £1, then the next person will probably give the same. If you have a column of blanks you won't get anything: the first person won't give, so the next won't. But if you put £1 on the first line, there's a good chance the next one will. If the first two do, there's an even better chance the next one will. On a full page of 25 signatures, as many as 20 could give money.
Be alert to visitors to your stall. Don't let them sign and go. The more you chat to them and give leaflets, the more likely they are to give unprompted.
Don't ever actually ask for donations or you can be prosecuted. There are subtler ways to let people know you need money. As soon as they put money on the table, get it off the table, or take their proffered shekels in your paw and stash it in a bag under the table. If anyone asks why you don't have a tin on the table, say you've had tins stolen. If you have a basket or tin, or even just loose money, on the table, that can be construed as collecting without a permit.
All donation columns should say "Optional". We've been told by the police that this is legal. If the police ask or say that you're collecting money, point out that you're not asking for it.
The optimum way to attract money is to be approachable and chatty, even bubbly. Make some noise to attract people.
1) Bellow out what your petition's about. "Stop animal testing, sign our petition."
2) Eyeball someone if you've got the guts to accept the rejections, holding your pen out, and say "Hello, would you like to sign our petition?" It works a lot of the time.
This is where a team of you take to the street in a shopping area to collect money in cans. You cannot do this every week. You've got to apply to the Council. Ring up the Town Hall and ask for 'Licensing'. Fill in the form they send specifying the dates you want. The best days are Saturday or market days.
On the day, put up a stall using a wallpaper pasting table that you can get from D.I.Y stores or borrow. Unlike your regular street stall, here you can put collecting tins on the table, plus roving extras. Use as many costumes as you can get your hands on. Make sure you have posters on the stall, especially if it's a single issue stall. Some people reckon gruesome pictures get money in, others believe in cuddly ones.
Each person going out with a tin could have a laminated poster on a board stuck to them so the public can see from a distance what you're collecting for. Ideally, one on the front and back, or if you're less confident stand against a wall with a board on display next to you.
Don't shake the tin too much, it annoys people. Just shake the tin a little occasionally so people know you're collecting. Anyway it's not strictly legal to shake it and we know of someone being arrested for it. The law says you should stand still, don't shake, don't shout, don't ask.
We don't like saying this but ... make sure anyone with dreadlocks hair or nose and other rings is in a costume. It does make a difference. It shouldn't but it does. We know 'cause we're quite scruffy ourselves!
Find the best spots - cover all entrances and exits to the area where you're collecting. So on a big street don't collect in the middle, set up collectors at both ends.
The most important thing to reiterate is that visual appearance pulls in money.
Buskers can rake in money, such as when we saw five buskers on a Friends of the Earth stall with all the posters and one bod in an animal costume so that everyone could see what they were busking for.
A lot of Councils will allow you to apply for a separate licence to sell things on a stall. This single day sales permit is not the same as the street collection permit. So in addition you can sell T-shirts, mugs and badges. Some people sell without a licence, but you can get caught.
People-friendly dogs that like to be stroked can really help, you'd be amazed how many extra donations they attract. If taking any dogs on collections, make sure they've each got a blanket to lie on and a bowl of water. Like people, they need to stretch their legs every couple of hours, so only involve dogs if this isn't a problem.
After a street collection, make sure you send the results form with the amount raised back on time and correctly filled in otherwise you'll have trouble getting a licence next time. Part of the form is to be signed by an accountant or bank manager to show that the sealed collecting tins were opened in front of them. Get yourself on a friendly rapport with a bank manager to get them to do this for free. If your manager does not want to know, then move banks.
CAR BOOT SALES AND JUMBLE
You may not think this is glamorous, but fund raising is just as vital as campaigning. It pays for leaflets, posters and other campaign expenses. It's a good way to involve people who aren't into front-line activities like hunt sabbing or doing a demo outside Glaxo on a cold morning. Don't allow your group to be dominated by young, radical, in yer face types, when quieter, possibly older, people may be just as valuable organizing other activities which don't involve confrontation with animal abusers or hard selling our message. If someone who's not into campaigning asks what else they can do to help animals, why not ask if they are into doing jumble sales, car boots or a bring and buy coffee morning.
Type an A5 leaflet explaining all the good things your group does, concentrating on animal rescue as opposed to animal rights. Say that you're collecting goods except for electrical items, which you'll get hammered for if they don't work and hurt someone. "Collecting goods (not electrical), especially books and records." Deliver it to 200 houses per night in, if possible, relatively prosperous area, on a Thursday or Friday night, saying that you'll be back to collect the goods the next Thursday or Friday night. Ask that if people are not in, that they leave the goods at the end of the path.
You could put a bin liner with each note and you'll get loads more tat. The next week you could get 30 bags out of the 200.
Flogging the Gear
If there are any old rags unfit to sell on a stall, you can sell to a rag merchant in Yellow Pages, or recycle them.
Now you've got the merchandise, it's time to go to a car boot sale. As soon as you open the boot, there'll be stacks of people rooting through before you get it out, especially car boot sale foragers. Keep your prices reasonable. We've found small boot sales work best.
Buying animal rights merchandise to sell is not really recommended unless you can get a good deal locally. Stuff from "the nationals" is pricey, and you need a permit to sell it anyway.
Jumble sales are good earners but you need loads of storage space. Sell the average to poor stuff by chucking it on tables and let people rummage. Only price up the good stuff and sell that at car boot sales.
Alternatively at jumbles you can size up what you think a buyer can afford. Or for simplicity everything is priced 50p minimum and let people pay more if they want. Obviously you won't sell a suit for 50p. Take it out and sell it at a car boot for £5. This system is very easy to implement. Pricing up hundreds of goods for jumbles would be a lot of work.
By the way, secondhand shops are extremely big commitments with high overheads. The big charities nab all the best sites, and many towns are saturated with charity shops. So we recommend leaving these to the professionals.
Campaign Against Cruelty An Animal Activists Handbook
available for £4.99 (plus p&p) from Vegetarian Guides, or order it from all good book shops.