One of our goals at Animal Charity Evaluators (ACE) is to influence gifts to highly effective animal charities. We have implemented systems to help us track these donations, as well as to survey donors who have indicated that they contributed to our recommended charities, our Recommended Charity Fund, and our Movement Grants (formerly Effective Animal Advocacy Fund) as a result of ACE’s guidance.1 In this report, we will detail what we know about the donations and donors that were influenced by ACE. While we receive support from many countries, all donation amounts shown are in USD. We will also evaluate the impact that ACE had last year on donors and the effective animal advocacy movement as a whole.
- “Top Charities” refers to the animal charities that we believe work most effectively on behalf of animals, of the charities we have evaluated. Since this report covers the full 2019 calendar year, “Top Charities” refers to both the current four Top Charities (as of December 2, 2019) and the previous Top Charities (November 26, 2018 to December 1, 2019).
- “Standout Charities” refers to the animal charities that we feel are highly effective and showing promising progress in their efforts on behalf of animals, of the charities we have evaluated. Since this report covers the full 2019 calendar year, “Standout Charities” refers to both the current five Standout Charities (as of December 2, 2019) and the previous Standout Charities (November 26, 2018 to December 1, 2019).
- “Recommended Charities” refers to both Top Charities and Standout Charities.
- “Recommended Charity Fund” or “RCF” refers to ACE’s fund that was launched on November 27, 2017 to support ACE’s recommended charities in accordance with our research team’s recommended allocation.
- “Effective Animal Advocacy Fund” or “EAA Fund” refers to ACE’s fund that was launched on August 15, 2018 to help grow the animal advocacy movement by supporting a broad scope of grant recipients that are doing promising work, but that do not necessarily meet the criteria to be evaluated by ACE.
- “Animal Advocacy Research Fund” or “AARF” refers to ACE’s fund that was launched in the spring of 2016 as part of our plan to expand high-quality research in the animal advocacy movement.
How We Track Donations Influenced
ACE started collecting donations on behalf of our Top Charities in 2015. This has helped us to learn and better understand how donors use our charity recommendations. In 2019, donations through ACE accounted for 26% of the total amount of donations that ACE influenced to our recommended charities and our EAA Fund. The remaining 74% of donations were reported to us by the recommended charities or by donors themselves.
Twice per year, we ask our Top Charities to report to us the amount of donations they’ve received directly that they know were influenced by ACE. As a condition of being an ACE Top Charity, we ask them to establish a tracking system to help both us and them understand the impact of their recommendation. Each charity tracks this differently: Some use checkboxes on their donation forms, while others add flags to their donors’ records when they mention ACE in follow-up correspondence. We think charities report the donations that they know were influenced by ACE with a high level of accuracy. However, there are likely additional donations influenced by ACE that charities are unaware of because donors do not always specify ACE’s influence on their decision to give.
In 2017, we started asking our Standout Charities if they had systems in place to track their donations influenced by ACE, and we learned that most of them do not. Thus far we have not made tracking ACE-influenced gifts a condition of being a Standout Charity, as it may be difficult for some smaller organizations to implement. We do, however, distribute grants to them through our Recommended Charity Fund, and we allow donors to make large gifts ($5,000+) to non-U.S. Standout Charities through ACE for tax-deduction purposes. It is very likely that there are additional donations made directly to our Standout Charities as a result of ACE’s recommendation, of which we are not aware. We have also had an increasing number of donors report to us directly about their donations resulting from ACE’s charity recommendations.2
Donations Influenced, by Charity
In 2019, ACE influenced $7,135,130 in donations to our Top Charities and $1,086,427 in donations to our Standout Charities. The average gift that ACE influenced to our recommended charities was $806. We also raised $682,441 for our Effective Animal Advocacy Fund, which supports grant recipients that we feel are doing promising work to reduce animal suffering. This means that ACE influenced $8,903,998 within the animal advocacy movement in 2019, with 80% going to our Top Charities, 12% going to our Standout Charities, and 8% going to our EAA Fund.
|2019 Donations to Top Charities|
|ACE Top Charities||Donated through ACE*||Donated through RCF||Donated Directly to Charity||Total|
|Albert Schweitzer Foundation||$127,079||$87,508||$9,160||$223,747|
|The Good Food Institute||$363,807||$87,508||$3,060,851||$3,512,166|
|The Humane League||$94,355||$87,508||$2,885,890||$3,067,753|
|* Includes donations made to ACE for Top Charities and matching funds from our First-Time Donation Matching Opportunity.|
† Anima International received Top Charity status on December 2, 2019.
‡ Animal Equality was not renewed as a Top Charity on December 2, 2019.
|2019 Donations to Standout Charities|
|ACE Standout Charities||Donated through ACE||Donated through RCF||Donated Directly to Charity||Total|
|Compassion in World Farming USA||$0||$43,754||$152,700||$196,454|
|The Nonhuman Rights Project†||$0||$3,090||$0||$3,090|
|Sociedade Vegetariana Brasileira||$65,000||$43,754||$8,661||$117,415|
|* L214 was not renewed as a Standout Charity on December 2, 2019.|
† The Nonhuman Rights Project was not renewed as a Standout Charity on December 2, 2019.
‡ Open Cages was a Standout Charity from November 27, 2017 to December 1, 2019 and is a member of Anima International, which received Top Charity status on December 2, 2019.
§ ProVeg International was not renewed as a Standout Charity on December 2, 2019.
Donations Influenced, by Size
We compared the names across all donations made to (i) recommended charities through ACE, (ii) recommended charities directly, and/or (iii) the ACE Recommended Charity Fund. We believe that ACE’s charity recommendations influenced at least 1,886 donors overall in 2019.3 See the table below for information about the $7,650,189 influenced to ACE’s recommended charities in 2019. These funds came from a total of 1,617 generous donors, either via ACE or through donations directly to individual charities (excludes donations to the Recommended Charity Fund and the Effective Animal Advocacy Fund.)
|2019 Donations to Recommended Charities by Giving Category|
|Giving Category*||Number of Donors||% of Total Donors||Amount Donated||% of Total Amount|
|* Giving categories are based on a donor’s annual giving across all ACE recommended charities.|
Recommended Charity Fund
The Recommended Charity Fund is for anyone who wants to support ACE’s recommended charities through a single donation, simplifying the process so that donors can easily give to multiple effective animal charities at once. Disbursed biannually in January and July, grants are made to our Top Charities and Standout Charities according to what our research team determines will be an effective use of the funding at that time. In 2019, 269 donors contributed $571,892 to ACE’s Recommended Charity Fund.
|2019 Donations to Recommended Charity Fund by Giving Category|
|Giving Category*||Number of Donors||% of Total Donors||Amount Donated||% of Total Amount|
|* Giving categories are based on a donor’s annual giving to ACE’s Recommended Charity Fund.|
Grants Distributed from Recommended Charity Fund
ACE disbursed two rounds of grants from donations made to our Recommended Charity Fund in 2019, totaling $560,292. In July 2019, we awarded 12.5% of the Fund to each of three of our four 2018 Top Charities and 6.2% to each of our eight 2018 Standout Charities. At that time, ACE was reevaluating the effectiveness of Animal Equality and decided to withhold their grant until our 2019 evaluation process was completed. As Animal Equality was not recommended as a 2019 Top Charity, their grant was invested back into the Recommended Charity Fund. In January 2020, we awarded 15.4% of the Fund to each of our four 2019 Top Charities and 7.7% to each of our five 2019 Standout Charities, and some funds were used for wire transfer fees and grant-related expenses.
|2019 Recommended Charity Fund Grants|
|Albert Schweitzer Foundation||$85,761||15.3%|
|Compassion in World Farming USA||$42,880||7.7%|
|Sociedade Vegetariana Brasileira||$42,880||7.7%|
|The Good Food Institute||$85,761||15.3%|
|The Humane League||$85,761||15.3%|
|The Nonhuman Rights Project|||$2,846||0.5%|
|* Anima International received Top Charity status on December 2, 2019.|
† FIAPO received Standout Charity status on December 2, 2019.
‡ L214 was not renewed as a Standout Charity on December 2, 2019.
§ Open Cages was a Standout Charity from November 27, 2017 to December 1, 2019 and is a member of Anima International, which received Top Charity status on December 2, 2019.
¶ ProVeg International was not renewed as a Standout Charity on December 2, 2019.
| The Nonhuman Rights Project was not renewed as a Standout Charity on December 2, 2019.
Effective Animal Advocacy Fund
Launched in 2018, ACE’s Effective Animal Advocacy Fund (EAA Fund) is for anyone who is interested in making the animal advocacy movement more effective. It aims to address some of the underfunded areas that our research indicates are necessary to help grow the movement. Contributions to this fund are distributed to a number of promising grant recipients around the world, and have thus far been smaller, less well-funded projects. Applications are currently accepted twice per year.
ACE created the EAA Fund for three main reasons. First, we believe that the movement should continue to fund a wide range of approaches because a broad, pluralistic animal advocacy movement will be more impactful overall than a narrow, monistic animal advocacy movement. Second, we believe that we should continue to support a broad range of interventions given that there is little available evidence supporting the effectiveness of any given one. Third, we believe that building relationships with a larger group of advocates and charities will make our own work more effective by providing us with new information to consider and new groups with whom to collaborate.
In 2019, our EAA Fund review committee selected a diverse group of 63 recipients around the globe to receive grants during two funding rounds totaling $1,877,567. Thanks to a generous donor, ACE ran a successful matching challenge campaign at the end of last year, which helped us raise a total of $682,441 in 2019. More information about the grant recipients and their work can be found in our Spring 2019 Grants Announcement, Spring 2019 Grantee Updates, and Fall 2019 Grants Announcement.
|2019 EAA Fund Grants|
|A Prayer for Compassion||$25,000|
|Animal Aid UK||$50,000|
|Animal Justice Project||$20,000|
|Animal Welfare Media||$33,000|
|Arvind Animal Activist||$5,000|
|Be Fair Be Vegan||$30,000|
|Better Eating International||$50,000|
|Center for Animal Law Studies||$80,000|
|Centre for a Responsible Future||$15,000|
|Christopher Sebastian McJetters||$25,000|
|Colorado Voters for Animals||$5,000|
|Compassion over Killing||$30,000|
|Compassionate Action for Animals||$40,000|
|Czech Vegan Society||$10,000|
|Dharma Voices for Animals||$15,000|
|Emerging Markets Investors Alliance||$30,000|
|Factory Farming Awareness Coalition||$50,000|
|Factory Farming Legal Fellowship||$20,000|
|Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations||$50,000|
|Food Empowerment Project||$50,000|
|Grassroots Artists MovEment||$30,000|
|Human Behaviour Change for Animals||$20,000|
|Kaplan Lab at Tufts University||$50,000|
|LifeAfterHummus Community Benefit Society||$22,000|
|Mission Vegan Andhra||$4,000|
|Norwegian Animal Protection Alliance||$16,500|
|Palestinian Animal League||$35,000|
|Paris Animaux Zoopolis||$40,000|
|Peace Advocacy Network||$20,000|
|Plant-based Policy Centre||$25,000|
|Pour l’Égalité Animale||$15,000|
|The Ravens Corps||$10,000|
|The Save Movement||$58,580|
|The Vegan Rainbow Project||$5,000|
|The Veggie Connection||$10,000|
|Thrive Baltimore Community Resource Center||$30,000|
|UK Centre for Animal Law||$19,147|
|Vegans of Shanghai||$50,000|
|Wild Animal Initiative||$60,000|
|* This grant recipient has requested to remain anonymous for strategic reasons.|
Animal Charity Evaluators
Last year, we spent $1,037,345 on ACE’s programs and operations while influencing $8,903,998 in donations within the animal advocacy movement. This means that for every $1 ACE spent on our own programs in 2019, we influenced over $8 to our effective recommended charities and to other promising animal advocates (via our EAA Fund).4 Since 2014, ACE has influenced over $26 million within the movement.
Donations to ACE
While we have seen donations to ACE increase steadily since our founding in 2014, last year we did not meet our operating budget goal of $1 million to support our programs. Fortunately, our organization has established a cash reserve to allow us to continue operating during challenging financial times. However, these funds are limited and must be replenished, so ACE is increasing fundraising efforts to support our operations and programs in the future.
Excluding donations to the Animal Advocacy Research Fund, the average gift to support ACE’s programs and operations in 2019 was $255. This reduction from $576 in 2018 is due to a significant $500,000 unexpected grant from the Animal Welfare Fund of the Centre for Effective Altruism that year, which did not reoccur in 2019.
|2019 Donations to ACE by Giving Category|
|Giving Category*||Number of Donors||% of Total Donors||Amount Donated||% of Total Amount|
|* Giving categories are based on a donor’s annual total donations to ACE (excluding donations to support the Animal Advocacy Research Fund).|
We monitor the number of users who visit the ACE website, but we also pay particular attention to the number of unique new users who visit the website during the critical giving season. This helps us track the growth of our audience, and we also feel that it is a probable indirect measure of growth in the effective altruism and effective animal advocacy movements as a whole.
In November and December 2019, the number of new users totaled 35,074, compared to 33,693 in 2018. This means that we had a 4.1% increase in new users during that time frame. Total website traffic visits (as measured by sessions) for November and December 2019 was 46,855, compared to 45,597 in 2018. This represents a 2.76% increase year over year, as illustrated in the screenshot below.
Animal Advocacy Research Fund
ACE launched the Animal Advocacy Research Fund (AARF) in 2016 as part of our plan to expand high-quality research in the animal advocacy movement. The AARF and its Program Officer are funded entirely by an anonymous donor who is also seeking to develop high-quality research. This benefactor committed to providing $1 million to the AARF over a three-year period, which was extended in order to allow for its full disbursement. In 2019 ACE received the remainder of the pledged funds, which accounted for $375,715 of our revenue. No general donations to ACE have been used to support this fund. To date, we have funded 38 research projects via seven rounds of open proposal submissions that address our key focus areas. More information can be found on the Animal Advocacy Research Fund website.
Lessons from 2019
While donors are motivated by matching campaigns, it can be confusing if more than one is offered during the same time period. Last year, ACE was very grateful to be able to offer matching campaigns for both our Effective Animal Advocacy Fund (through an individual donor) and our Recommended Charity Fund (through the Double Up Drive). Unfortunately, there was some overlap in the campaigns’ dates that caused confusion for many donors, requiring additional staff time and post-donation allocation adjustments. The competition between these two campaigns may have also contributed to the lower than anticipated fundraising total for our EAA Fund. We will try to avoid overlapping matching campaigns in the future, while also improving our messaging to reduce confusion.
While ACE continues to attract new supporters, the majority of our annual revenue comes for a small segment of donors. Last year, approximately 70% of ACE’s funding came from 17 donors, which included a significant grant from one supporter. Being overly dependent on any one source of funding can be risky for a charity, particularly when unexpected events occur. Additionally, while we exceeded our $7 million goal for donations influenced within the animal advocacy movement, we did not meet our $1 million operating budget fundraising goal. In order to increase ACE’s financial stability and ensure that we secure funding to support our operations and programs in the future, we need to prioritize diversifying our fundraising sources and cultivating our current donors.
;Operating expenses;Influenced donations; 2014;90,545;147,239; 2015;139,074;1,253,371; 2016;356,681;3,641,428; 2017;625,969;6,121,658; 2018;868,411;6,332,627;
To avoid counting a gift twice, we compare our internal list of reported gifts to the list provided by the charities. If there is any question about a possible duplicate, we review both gifts with the charity to confirm if these were additional or the same.
Some charities provide us with donor names (but no other private or identifiable information) so that we can compare these donors’ gifts across all ACE recommended charities that they may have supported. Other charities provide us only with donor identification numbers, which means that we are unable to confirm if those donors gave any gifts to other ACE recommended charities. Because of this, we cannot say definitively that we influenced 1,886 donors in total. However, given the likelihood that many donors do not report or identify donations that were influenced by ACE, we suspect that the number of donors who use ACE’s recommendations as a consideration for their annual donations is significantly higher than what we are able to identify through our annual gift-reporting process.