New year. Fresh starts. For a team at GOOD that means joining the 100,000 other people who have pledged to eat a vegan diet for the whole of January. Record numbers have signed up this year – on a single day after Christmas 14,000 people made their pledge.

Our individual motivations are varied but thanks to Veganuary we’re being given a taste of what it means to be part of the vegan movement. As movements go veganism is riding high. In the UK, the number of people identifying as vegans has increased by 350% compared to a decade ago and it’s hard not to notice the growth of vegan options in shops and restaurants.

At GOOD we talk a lot about movements. History suggests they’re the best way to create lasting change – something that unites our sector. And whatever your personal opinion, evidence shows that reducing the amount of animal-based products in our diets has a positive impact on animal welfare, the environment and human health.

For a charity that’s yet to celebrate its third birthday, the success of Veganuary is admirable. What have they done right?

  1. Interrupted existing behaviour
    The founders of Veganuary would have noticed the growth in people reducing animal-based products in their diet. They didn’t invent the behaviour of adopting a vegan diet – rather gave people a reason to commit to it at a certain moment in time. It’s also unsurprising that Veganuary as a movement has seen its most rapid growth in a period of global political unrest. Trump and Brexit have taught as that people are seeking alternative avenues to channel their energy during times of uncertainty.

  2. Created a welcoming community
    We’re familiar with the concept of social proof – where we’re encouraged to behave in a certain way if others around us are doing the same. Veganuary has done an excellent job of welcoming people into their community. Veganism is daunting for many but the creative approach used starts to break down the misconceptions about the community being closed to others. And Veganuary are encouraging their community to talk to one another – sharing their recommendations and experiences.

  3. Offered leadership and support
    A movement needs a leader and Veganuary is the guiding force. They are setting the direction and the pace without being too prescriptive.

  4. Audience-led content
    It’s early days but the style of content shared so far is perfect for the audience. A varied mix of snackable digital content designed with the audience in mind is being distributed across multiple channels. For example, recipe ideas and celebrity videos designed to encourage rather than guilt-trip people through the month are already being emailed in daily emails.

  5. Self badging opportunities, aligning values
    Finally, Veganuary have recognised the importance of people joining a movement because of shared values and the value of self-badging. A shop selling t-shirts and totes plus plentiful digital content gives the community multiple opportunities to show to the world that they’re part of the movement.

There’s a lot here to inspire the causes we’re involved in. It will be interesting to see how and when fundraising asks appear (I’ve already received soft asks at sign up and there are some notable corporate partners on board). But the strategy feels smart – build the movement first, engage the community and watch as they’re proactively seeking out further ways to create change.

Fancy joining us? Sign up to Veganuary here: 

Vegan recommendations? We’d love to hear them! Email