Mission and Vision
Helping People Help Animals. ACE’s mission is to find and promote the most effective ways to help animals. We work toward our mission by evaluating charities, communicating our findings, awarding grants to organizations and promising projects, and fundraising for our recommended charities and Movement Grants program. We strive to identify ways to alleviate suffering and improve the lives of animals on a broad scale while continually updating our recommendations based on new evidence. ACE’s vision is a world in which no individual is given less than full moral consideration on the basis of any morally irrelevant feature of their identity, including species membership.
All of the following accomplishments were made possible by generous individuals, organizations, and companies who care about reducing animal suffering. We extend our genuine gratitude to everyone who donated in 2021. It is because of your compassion and philanthropy that ACE can continue our mission to find and promote the most effective ways to help animals. Thank you!
Estimated Donations Influenced
In 2021, animal advocacy supporters from around the world stepped up to donate effectively. ACE helped influence an estimated $10.8 million in donations within the animal advocacy movement: This includes over $8 million donated to our recommended charities (both directly and via ACE), $1.6 million donated to our Recommended Charity Fund, and $1 million raised for our Movement Grants program.
Since 2014, our estimates for the total donations we’ve influenced have been our primary quantitative metric to assess our impact. However, the metric is not perfect. While we cannot address all of our concerns with this metric, we are now asking donors to estimate the level of influence ACE had on their large gifts. This will give us more information to compare across years. Of ACE-influenced donations to recommended charities, we estimate we had a substantial influence on 45% of donations, a moderate influence on 32% of donations, and a weak influence on 23% of donations. We consider donations to our Recommended Charity Fund and Movement Grants program to be 100% influenced by ACE. The chart above shows the amounts in each category and you can learn more about our financials on our website.
In 2021, ACE was thrilled to be able to offer our own matching opportunities for the Recommended Charity Fund and Movement Grants. We give special thanks to Richard, a dedicated animal advocate and legacy donor whose estate generously provided $600,000 in matching funds to honor his memory and inspire others to give.
Double Up Drive
ACE is honored that our Recommended Charity Fund was selected as a beneficiary of the December 2021 Double Up Drive. In partnership with The Life You Can Save, the Double Up Drive offered an incredible $3 million in matching funds to support 12 effective charities. We raised $414,582, which was then doubled to $821,281! Thank you to the organizers of the Double Up Drive!
On November 30, 2021, ACE celebrated a successful Giving Tuesday thanks to the fantastic organizing of the EA Giving Tuesday team and the generosity of our supporters. Because of some high-speed clicking by online donors, we secured $19,949 in matching funds from Facebook. The global day of generosity resulted in $148,143 to support ACE, our effective Top and Standout Charities, and our Movement Grants recipients.
ACE set a new record for cryptocurrency donations in 2021. We received over $400,000 in crypto donations, including an extremely generous Bitcoin gift. ACE partners with The Giving Block to accept a wide variety of cryptocurrencies.
While our Charity Evaluations program targets and promotes some of the most effective organizations helping animals, our Movement Grants program provides funding to organizations and individuals working in neglected regions or exploring novel approaches to animal advocacy. We believe that a broad, pluralistic, and global animal advocacy movement is more likely to be resilient—and hence more impactful—than a narrow, monistic animal advocacy movement. The Movement Grants program complements our Charity Evaluations program, helping fund impactful projects from around the globe working to reduce animal suffering. Seven of the 16 charities recommended last year through our Charity Evaluations program started out as Movement Grants recipients.
In 2021, thanks to many generous supporters, ACE awarded $1,090,456 to 35 promising projects. Thank you to everyone who contributed to Movement Grants and got their donations matched! We are eager to see what our sixth round of grantees will accomplish for animals with this funding. Learn more about our 2021 Movement Grants recipients here.
Improvements to Our Charity Evaluation Process
We made several improvements to our charity evaluation process last year. We updated our charity selection process to be more comprehensive and rigorous by compiling a master list of charities from around the world and using a quantitative model to select charities based on important factors. We also updated our criteria for evaluating charities to better capture and communicate the reasoning behind our recommendation decisions.
To increase transparency in our assessments and improve readability, we decided to focus on the most relevant criteria for our recommendation decisions: programs, room for more funding, cost effectiveness, and leadership and culture. We also divided each criterion into three main sections to clarify which areas of the review explain our method, our analysis, and our assessment.
Finally, we continued to intensify our verification process and devoted a slightly larger proportion of our time to verifying claims reported by charities. We relied on publicly available information, internal documents, media reports, and independent sources to verify claims, and we followed up with charities for further information or details. For each charity, we verified at least one key result per program.
We took significant steps to improve our grantmaking process during our fifth round of Movement Grants. We redesigned the application and review process to be multi-stage, progressing only the most promising applicants to a more thorough evaluation stage, during which we asked them tailored questions to address any uncertainties with their initial application. Shortening the initial application reduced the burden on applicants and allowed us to spend more time focusing on the most promising proposals. This updated process ultimately led us to make better decisions.
In addition, we are excited to now have seven former Movement Grant recipients become Standout Charities after completing our evaluation process. We hope to see this synergy between our programs carry forward into the future as we continue to help build an effective global animal advocacy movement.
New Research Publications
To increase transparency with our audience about what evidence and considerations inform our beliefs, we developed a procedure for publishing research briefs. Each brief summarizes the evidence for a key question relevant to our charity evaluations and grantmaking decisions. After generating a list of multiple important questions, we published three research briefs exploring the following questions:
- What are the effects of increasing the availability of animal-free foods on animal product consumption?
- How does producing advocacy research affect the animal advocacy movement?
- What is the effect of institutional outreach on the availability of animal-free products?
Communications Campaigns to Support Fundraising
To meet our fundraising goals in 2021, we focused on strategic campaigns developed by our communications and philanthropy teams. We used our expertise to carefully curate each campaign’s launch, promotion, and momentum. Thanks to our generous donors, we hit all of our targets and fulfilled our Recommended Charity Fund matching challenge in just two weeks—a new record!
Media Relations and New Mediums to Reach Key Audiences
ACE experimented with new mediums to ensure our messaging reached key audiences in 2021. We participated in online and in-person speaking engagements, including the European Effective Altruism Unconference and the University College London Animal Rights Movement Panel. ACE was also mentioned in various articles throughout 2021: Vox published a feature article about our charity recommendations, and the New York Times featured ACE as a trusted source to inform peoples’ charitable giving.
Expanded External and Internal Communications
To keep donors and prospective applicants updated on Movement Grants funding rounds and projects, we introduced the Movement Grants Newsletter. We also focused on re-engaging our social media audience by increasing our presence across platforms and experimenting with creative content, such as Instagram reels. Internally, we updated guidelines to improve editorial workflows and started a monthly newsletter for staff.
Vox Future Perfect to Cover More Farmed Animal Issues
With support from a generous restricted donation, ACE’s partnership with Vox Media continued in 2021. We collaborated on stories about farmed animal welfare issues for their latest season of the Future Perfect podcast, highlighting the negative impacts of factory farming on nonhuman animals, farmworkers, and the environment. We promoted these stories through our online community and social channels.
1. A significant but undeterminable portion of fundraising expenses is allocated to fundraising for our recommended charities and our Movement Grants program.
2. Our 2021 expenses were lower than budgeted due to some extended staff vacancies.
ACE celebrated many accomplishments in 2021. With your continued support, we plan to do even more in 2022. You can read more in our new three-year strategic plan and 2022-2023 prospective goals. Thank you for being part of our incredible community of animal advocates and for believing in our work. Everything that we do is made possible by the generous contributions of our supporters, and we are beyond grateful for the opportunity to do the most good for animals. Here’s to another year of helping animals in the most effective ways, together!