The information on this page speaks specifically to carding on college campuses, however the same principles can be applied anywhere: concerts, festivals (music/vegetarian/earth day, etc.), near high schools or anywhere there will be large, young and/or open minded crowds.

Weekdays are best. If you have a day to dedicate, go for it! 8 AM is usually the first class start time and it slows down around 3 PM. If you only have an hour or two, we recommend lunchtime (11 AM–1 PM) to be able to reach the most students. Some schools, including many community colleges, continue to have a flow of student traffic past 5 PM.

Since many of the larger schools are constantly carded / petitioned by other groups, arriving early generally ensures that you will be the only group on campus and not have to compete for the students’ attention.


Freshmen

Find out when classes start back up after summer break and be ready to greet the incoming freshmen! They will be more eager (and less jaded) than the upperclassmen. 


Find Like Minded Friends to Help

Find an existing club that has a similar mission (a human rights or animal rights club, for example) and ask if you can give a brief talk about your human rights/animal rights (humans are animals too!) cause. Bring a signup sheet for those who are interested in learning more and/or helping you card.


Permission

Some schools allow carding by outsiders, while others do not. Public universities are supposed to allow it according to federal court decisions, but some do not follow such rules and others try to limit carding by requiring that you register and limiting where you can stand. More info on the legal issues surrounding carding and what to do if you are stopped can be found on the page Legal Questions About Leafleting.

Note: Many schools within cities provide a flow of students on public sidewalks where they can be reached.


You may never know what results come of your actions, but if you do nothing, there will be no results.
— Mahatma Gandhi

Card Dropping

If you don't have a schedule that allows you to personally handout cards at prime time on campuses, consider leaving cards where students are apt to find and read them:

  • Most campus buildings have lounge areas with tables and chairs for students to use between classes. Leave a few cards on the tables and chairs for students to find and read at their leisure. 
  • Find the designated areas on campus where club/student activity information is posted and add cards there. These areas are places students check regularly to find fun events on campus. (You could also print and post our YWB101 free posters.)
  • Most dorms have info boards at their entrances and on each floor. These boards are checked often.  (You could also print and post our YWB101 free posters.)
  • The health center on most campuses gives out free condoms. Leave a small stack of cards near the free condoms. 

Where to Stand

At large schools, generally the most students will be found near the student union or library. However, it may be wise to try and find alternative spots to card if the school is constantly leafleted or petitioned because students will be used to rejecting leafleters in these common spots. For instance, at UC Berkeley, leafleters avoid the Sproul Plaza, the busiest spot on campus, because it is leafleted nearly every day of the semester by other groups.

At smaller schools, or schools that are not leafleted often, the busiest spots are often the best. Consider staking out a few different spots and rotating between them during busy class changes to reach the maximum number of new students.

Keep in mind that the bulk of cards handed out are distributed during class changes, those 10–15 minute windows of time between classes. It usually slows down during classes but is very busy during these changes.

While leafleting, it is best not to stay completely stationary. A wider walkway may require you to constantly walk back and forth, approaching as many students as possible. It is important to stand in the center of the walkway and not off to the side.

Keep in mind that traffic flow will be going in two directions. You will reach the largest amount of new students and avoid repeatedly asking the same students if you only leaflet one direction of the flow. If you are starting very early in the day, you can focus on students coming to class or on to campus. If you are starting later in the day focus on students that are coming out of class and possibly leaving campus for the day.

Other location tips:

  • Leaflet to groups of students sitting around talking or students studying.
  • Some college clubs have hundreds of students in them - and these are students who are interested in getting involved. Find out what clubs are popular, when and where they meet, and card at the entrance to the meeting spot 10-15 minutes before the meeting begins.
  • Leaflet inside academic buildings and student unions when the weather is bad. 
  • Find out when the college events, carnivals, or school hosted parties are and be there to hand out cards.
  • Get to school before the first class change, that means usually 7:30 AM or so, and stand between where the dorm students live and where classes are held, and only leaflet people in the direction of those coming to class.
  • When the traffic gets heavy, the turn-down rate sometimes gets high. Moving to a less trafficked area can increase the acceptance rate. But even with a low acceptance rate, you can give out a lot over the course of an hour in high traffic.
  • Hold open the door of a busy building with the back of your foot and leaflet students as they walk in. This has proved to be an extremely effective technique, especially at tougher schools where the take rate isn’t very high.

What to Say

The following phrases are often effective:

  • Help babies
  • Info to help babies
  • Info on compassionate parenting
  • Info against cruelty to babies
  • Brochure against hurting babies
  • Hello
  • Info about babies being hurt in our hospitals
  • Did you get one of these? (especially for tough crowds!)

For a great video explanation of successful leafleting techniques, check out Vic Sjodin’s How to Leaflet? YouTube video.


Nervousness

Nervousness fades once you’ve offered the leaflet to a few people. Students commonly have fliers for upcoming parties and plays thrust at them, so they are accustomed to being approached by leafleters. If you look like you know what you are doing, they assume you’re supposed to be doing it.

Don’t be too concerned about knowing every tiny detail about circumcision. One could spend their lifetime reading every bit of information, but Your Whole Baby has done lots of research to make sure our leaflets are accurate and well-documented. The majority of students will simply accept a leaflet and say thank you or decline a leaflet and say no thank you anyway. Very few will engage you in conversation and even fewer will grill you on facts. If you don’t know the answer to a question, it’s much better to admit you don’t know than to try and make up something you may have heard. The point is not to out-argue them but to get a leaflet in their hands and for them to have a positive image of you as a person and your message of compassion. 

A couple of leafleters give their experience:

  • “When I first started leafleting I felt uncomfortable and was kind of rigid. Now I stay really loose, I mosey over to people and give greetings as I leaflet, often engaging in friendly banter. When standing I bounce a little bit to be loose.”
  • “At first I would feel personally offended if someone didn’t want to take a leaflet from me... I found that this faded with time when I realized it’s better to simply focus on the next person instead of giving in to this negative thinking. After all, there are too many people to reach out to to be overly troubled by those that deny me.”

Remember, there will almost always be students who are glad you’re there giving a voice to those without one and who are excited to get the information!


Other Tips from the Pros

who could resist taking a card from this pink floyd fan?

who could resist taking a card from this pink floyd fan?

  • “It was such a small school with intermittent foot traffic, my friend who came to help out decided to act as a decoy instead, pretending to read a booklet while talking to me throughout the day. We initially started out having both of us leafleting, but once we switched to the decoy strategy, take rate went from about 2 in 10 to 9 out of 10.”
  • If someone says they got one before and the flow of traffic is relatively slow at that time, ask them what they thought about it. 
  • If someone says they are against circumcision, ask them if they have a little time to help out, even if it’s just for 15 minutes. Some do and it might result in another regular leafleter.
  • Try to project that you’re having a good time while leafleting. Smile and say, “Thank you” to individuals for their time. Even if they don’t take a brochure, it encourages many to come back and ask for one. Politeness, friendliness, sincerity, and humility all help encourage people to take a leaflet and ask questions.
  • The Lean: “If you extend your hand all the way and lean your shoulder forward and bend at the waist a bit towards the student, they will naturally take the booklet, I mean hey, you are giving so much of yourself to try to reach this person, they would feel bad leaving you hanging. Sometimes I even step back a bit so I can do a full extension towards the person.”
  • The Head Tilt: Tilt your head while offering the brochure.
  • People often decide whether to take a brochure from someone based on whether the person in front of them took a brochure. If you get a string of individuals who turn you down, it might be wise to stop for the next few people, turn around and grab a sip from your water bottle and then start back up again.
  • Say “Hi.” Pause for them to say “Hi” back. Then ask them if they would like a brochure.
  • Body language can be crucial. Some schools seem to have different personalities; while students at a certain school may react to confident body language, almost domineering, a different school might require you to be quite passive. Generally it’s a good idea to maintain good posture and extend your arm and step into each interaction you have. Experiment with different levels of aggressiveness at different schools. One leafleter says, “Imagine a party, hugging the wall shows insecurity, open space = confidence, and leafleting is mostly body language. Even in a relatively narrow pathway, stand without feet hugging edge of sidewalk.”
  • For when you are going to spend multiple class changes at one school: “I leaflet folks going one way when it is heavy and leaflet in the same direction the next period. By doing this, I don’t get the same people the next period. As the day progresses, I’m getting many repeats, but I’m also getting several hundred new folks. ‘Have I asked you yet?’ minimizes offending people and ensures new folks are reached.”
  • “As a place gets saturated or when someone rejects the leaflet, it may sound and feel corny at first but I give every single person a big thumbs up, ‘You already got one? Great!’ I have found this is extremely effective! It gives the next people coming the impression you had a positive interaction, you are not a salesman or a nuisance. I do it to everyone from morning on. It’s really funny later in the day when 10 people in a row give me a thumbs up, then I know they already got the booklet, and it makes my job easier. As it gets later in the day, if I’m unsure I’ll ask, ‘Did you get one of these?’ without extending my hand.”
  • The Inverse Gauntlet: Two people leafleting from the center of a path back to back. It makes you more noticeable, especially in heavy traffic.

Smaller Schools

  • Generally you will only have good luck during the class changes. Bring a book or something to entertain yourself with in the library for the slow periods and focus on leafleting 15 minutes before a class gets out until 15 minutes after it has started. Only leaflet students from one direction, either those going to class or those coming from class. The flow will be lighter; resist the urge to try and leaflet all students. If you do try and leaflet everyone in both directions, by the second class change you will be getting students you already saw, and your acceptance rate will plummet once new students see others refusing booklets. If you know of multiple leafleting spots, consider changing spots after two class changes.
  • If the college is REALLY slow, leaflet students in both directions near one specific building or classroom, then move to a different location for the next class change and do the same. Then you can go back to the first (if there isn’t a third option) and start all over again!
  • Positioning from a leafleter who has visited MANY small schools: “For most smaller schools, just about everyone lives on campus. What I do is either look online, or ask students when I arrive where the dorms are. About 15 minutes before a class change, leafleting near the dorms is awesome. If the dorms are all scattered about, chances are at least the classrooms will be bunched together. If this is the case, leaflet as close to the entrances of the buildings as possible. It is important to mix up where you stand.”
  • Parking: Most small private colleges on the east coast do not have outsider parking available. If you are not staying too long, parking in the student lots will most likely be okay. Also, visitor parking permits can usually be obtained from the visitor center or police department. Just say you’re checking out the school and need a pass.

Cold Weather

  •  Stuff pocket warmers in the toes of your boots.
  • Walk around more while leafleting to increase circulation. Walking around the block can help increase circulation.
  • Take warm-up breaks.
  • Try to avoid leafleting in the shade if possible (this is difficult to avoid in cities with skyscrapers). Look for sunny spots – it might not feel significantly warmer at first, but it helps long term.
  • Facing the sun can be helpful, not only to keep you warm, but the angle of the sun is so low in the winter that the glare in people’s eyes (if they are facing the sun) can interfere with their ability to even see that you are handing them a booklet. So, if you leaflet people walking away from the sun, chances are they can see you more easily and you’ll stay warmer!
  • Because the vast majority of leaflets are given out during class changes, it may be wise to remain inside until class changes, then leaflet for those 15-minute windows between classes.
  • What to wear:
  • Layers layers layers! Thermal base layer shirts / pants are a huge help. Most sporting goods suppliers carry a variety of these. SierraTradingPost.com has great deals. You can never wear too many layers – if you do, and it’s a steamy 45 degrees out, you can always get rid of a few layers.
  • Waterproof boots to keep that slushy snow out!
  • If you don’t have waterproof boots, this works:
    1. Put on pair of socks.
    2. Put plastic bag over socks (those previously used for newspapers are the best).
    3. Put another pair of socks on over plastic bag.
    4. Put on shoes.
  • Moisture-wicking acrylic socks will keep your feet warmer than layers of cotton socks.
  • Hats and scarves are also pretty essential. Or you could opt for earmuffs.
  • Hand warmers / toe warmers (available in reusable or single-use types) are a big help when it’s 35 degrees or under. They last 8+ hours. They fit great in gloves or mittens. You can find single-use hand warmers / toe warmers in almost any pharmacy / convenient store if you live in a cold region. They are also available in bulk via Amazon.com.
  • Gloves or mittens? It depends on your style. Thin gloves with grippy surfaces are very helpful, but when it’s 35 degrees or under, those aren’t warm enough after the first few hours. Some folks like the glove / mitten combo. Puffy insulated mittens are cumbersome, and make it more difficult to leaflet rapidly, but they are definitely the warmest. If it’s a slow day, mittens work. If traffic picks up, fan out a few of the booklets in one hand, making it easier to grab one booklet at a time with the puffy-mitten hand.

All information on this page has been adapted or altered from Adopt a College to fit the anti-circumcision message.