19-year-old brings Beyond the Lies to Virginia college campuses
3 successful paid-per-view events
This is a Paid-Per-View (PPV) Grants grant story
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In November of 2018, 19-year-old Erika held her first on-campus paid-per-view (PPV) outreach event at Northern Virginia Community College. Two more events followed at George Mason University in January and March of 2019.
As a result of one person’s initiative to organize these three events, a combined total of 149 non-vegan participants agreed to watch a short but powerful film in exchange for a dollar. The film sparked long conversations and serious interest in reducing or eliminating the use of animal products.
Nearly everyone was shocked and wanted to either reduce or eliminate their consumption of animals … Most pledged to at least reduce their intake of animal products, and one pledged to go vegan on the spot and wanted to get into activism.
Erika Wilkinson, VegFund grantee
What is Paid-Per-View?
PPV outreach incentivizes non-vegans to spend a few minutes watching an eye-opening video about the realities of animal farming. In exchange for watching the entire video, participants typically receive a dollar or a non-cash incentive, such as a vegan cupcake. Participants may also sign up for a vegan starter guide or pledge.
minutes of video watched
non-vegans interested in veganism
new vegan activist
Erika made good use of Beyond the Lies, a program by Compassion Over Killing. This program includes a 4-minute video as well as distinctive signs that offer to pay viewers a dollar to watch. A VegFund grant covered cash incentives for participants as well as the cost of printing the signs for her first event. She then reused the same signs for subsequent events.
Saving signs to reuse at future events is a great way to optimize resources and reduce waste.
Beyond the Lies has also created Compassion Society, a network of vegan college students seeking to make their campuses more compassionate. Through this network, Erika has organized three PPV events on college campuses in her area.
For her first event, at the Northern Virginia Community College Campus, Erika set up a table outside in the “free speech zone” where students hang out. Erika credits this location to the success of the event.
Location is definitely key for these events. You need to be in a spot where people will notice you. You also need to be in a place where people are hanging around and not in the middle of something in particular like walking to class or work or to a show. A younger audience, such as students, is also ideal. Festivals and college campuses usually have the most success due to demographic.
How It Works
During Erika’s PPV events, volunteers offered passersby $1 to watch a 4-minute mini-documentary. After a viewer finished watching the film, a volunteer asked them about what they saw and how they felt. Because many viewers will be appalled by the realities of factory farming, it helps to offer ways they can make compassionate choices moving forward. Many want to learn and do more, so it’s a good idea to collect email addresses and invite them to pledge to consume fewer animals. This information can be used to provide helpful follow-up communication.
Setting up multiple viewing stations allows more than one person to watch the film at a time, which multiplies the potential reach of an event. Erika and the other volunteers set up four to five tablet devices and headphones at each of their events.
Be ready with a veg pledge on a device or have a sign-up sheet. When someone expresses interest in taking the next step, encourage them to sign up. Veg pledges give individuals a satisfying action to take, provide a sense of commitment, and serve as a resource for support in their transition.
A combined total of 149 non-vegans watched the video. These included 50 viewers at Northern Virginia Community College, 79 at the Comic Con event at George Mason University, and 20 at George Mason University in March. Most pledged to reduce their intake of animal products. Some pledged to go vegan, and one person wanted to get involved in activism after becoming vegan on the spot.
Some of the most meaningful moments are not the way the conversation goes, but the expressions on their faces. Almost everyone is an animal lover, and nobody likes to see animals being hurt, and when I see the hurt in people's eyes, I know they have been impacted, whether they want to admit it or not.
Erika participates in more than 12 outreach events a year. We see more great things to come from her in the future.
I think my biggest takeaway from doing these [paid-per-view] events is that all it takes is education. The majority of people are compassionate and vegan in their heart already; it just takes education for them to align those morals with their actions. After every single one of these events, I definitely leave inspired. I know that my conversations have possibly changed the lives of these people and thousands of animals, and that is one of the most fulfilling feelings I can ever have.