We are currently finalizing an updated strategic plan which we will use to guide our work moving forward over the next three years. That plan will be published in the next few months; in the meantime, we share some of our 2018 goals below.
Update our charity evaluation process
We will research and plan several updates to our charity evaluation process this year, including further reducing the time spent on exploratory reviews, improving the way we analyze room for more funding, and revisiting the ways we investigate organizational culture.
Conduct charity evaluations
We will systematically consider new charities to review in addition to updating past reviews, and will conduct 10–15 comprehensive evaluations of these charities.
Create a handbook for evaluated charities
In order to improve participating charities’ experience, we will collect all of the materials and policies charities need in order to participate in the evaluation process in a single document.
Map website dependencies
We will collect and record information about which pages on our site relate to each other and to specific topics, to ensure that when we update one page, we also update related pages that depend on it.
Update our research review process
We will revisit the review process we use for research content, identify strengths and weaknesses of our current practice, and add or remove elements to enable thorough, timely review of research content by internal and external reviewers.
Conduct several intervention literature reviews
We will conduct four to seven intervention literature reviews. In particular these will cover interventions related to legal work, corporate outreach, cultured and plant-based meat, and fish welfare.
Research farmed fish welfare
We will look into the scientific literature on farmed fish welfare to ensure that as charities start doing more work on behalf of fish we’re prepared to evaluate the results of that work.
Research animal advocacy in Brazil, Russia, India, and/or China
We will research the conditions for animal advocates, and their activities, in one or more of these countries. This will leave us in a better position to evaluate local and international organizations working in these important geographical areas.
Review studies funded by the Animal Advocacy Research Fund
As studies funded by the AARF conclude, we’ll review the resulting research to help inform decisions about how to prioritize animal advocacy methods, as well as how to proceed with the Fund.
Conduct an animal advocacy study using a 24-hour recall method
We’ll conduct a study using a 24-hour recall diet instrument, basing other aspects of our design off an existing animal advocacy study. This will help us to investigate the suitability of this recall tool, which is usually seen as more accurate than those typically used in animal advocacy studies.
Conduct a study of donor behavior related to animal charities
We’ll conduct a study to help us learn more about how donors decide which animal charities to support, and about how we can influence those decisions toward more effective interventions.
Pursue a systematic approach to identifying the research that’s most needed
We’ll create and maintain a document listing the uncertainties that are most relevant to our decisions, and that we would most like to resolve. We’ll also attempt to document how the farmed animal advocacy movement as a whole divides resources between interventions.
Investigate additional research study opportunities through experimental research division
In addition to 24-hour recall and donor behavior studies, we will seek to conduct additional research based on the most practical and useful opportunities.
Develop media relations
We received mentions in a few major outlets last year, including LA Times, Huffington Post, Fast Company, and Wired UK, and we plan to increase our media coverage in 2018. We will do this by maintaining and building media contact relationships and pitching op-eds on a regular basis.
Continue advertising efforts
In 2018 we will continue advertising on Facebook and Instagram, and will experiment with automated ads on Twitter. Due to a Google policy change, we will now be modifying our AdWords strategy to use our $40,000/month Google grant to focus on highly competitive keywords. This changes our grant marketing focus from quantity to quality of ads.
Create engaging visual and interactive content
This year we will release an interactive quiz that matches respondents with one of our recommended charities. We intend to repurpose existing website content into more engaging formats such as videos, infographics, and data visualizations.
Create engaging content for the animal advocacy community
We will introduce a “roundtable” blog series, and continue interviewing industry and advocacy experts. We will also compose more op-eds, and continue advocacy advice month.
Increase engagement on social media
After the success of our first “Ask Me Anything” coordinated with /r/vegan last year, we plan to coordinate at least two events similar to this in 2018. We joined Instagram in 2017, and will continue to grow our audience on this platform, in addition to Twitter and Facebook.
Create printed materials
We will produce a 2017 Annual Review and a 2018 Guide to Giving, and will update our flyer on optimizing advocacy. These will be distributed at conferences, to donors, and upon request, and provide tangible ways that ACE and others can share ACE’s content quickly and easily.
Establish internal communication protocols
Last year we published the ACE brand visual style guide for internal use, and implemented a formal editorial workflow. In 2018, we will finalize the companion content style guide, and survey the staff to identify areas for improvement in our new workflow. We will also add more automation to our processes and create step-by-step guides to assist in training new and existing staff.
Reports and testing
We will A/B test social media ads, newsletter headlines, and landing pages to ensure we’re engaging with the most people we can with the best possible content.
Increase functionality of our intranet
We created an intranet to host our employee handbook and internal policies, but current features are limited and not user-friendly. We intend to add new features and improvements so that staff are able to work more efficiently.
Grow the development department staff
The number of donors we assist with their philanthropy, as well as the amount of donations that we influence to our recommended charities, is now large enough to warrant an additional staff member on the development team. In addition to meeting our needs, this staff member will enable us to pursue the initiatives below.
Updating and improving donor database and processor
ACE’s fundraising efforts are complex, since we accept donations for a number of our recommended charities. For this reason we will transition to new software to optimize our ability to record and track donations. We will also add features to our existing donation processor to improve donors’ ability to manage their recurring donations.
Open up Recommended Charity Fund for year-round donations
The RCF was originally conceived as a legacy giving option, but was opened to the public during the 2017 year-end giving season, during which it attracted widespread support. We intend to make this option available over the entire year.
Open up Effective Animal Advocacy Fund for year-round donations
The EAAF is currently a legacy giving option, but we intend to open it up to the public for those who wish to enable ACE to direct their philanthropic donations wherever we think it can do the greatest good.
Influence $7.5 Million in donations to our recommended charities
We have increased the amount of money that we have influenced in donations to our recommended charities each year that we have tracked that figure. We continue to increase our goal in 2018, although it remains difficult to understand how this trend will continue in the long term.
We will conduct a survey to better understand the counterfactual impact of gifts to ACE and to our recommended charities, which will in turn enable us to pivot accordingly—ensuring maximum impact. We will also work with the research team to conduct a study examining the reasons behind people’s decision to donate to particular types of animal charities.
Pursue charitable registration in the U.K. and Australia
We have a number of supporters in both of these countries who have expressed the desire to make donations to ACE or our recommended charities, but who would prefer to donate to charities that are eligible for tax benefits. We will continue to pursue registration in both of these regions to better serve our donors.
Serve as a fiscal sponsor for non-U.S. recommended charities
Given the increasing number of international charities that we recommend, we want to strengthen our commitment to helping donors and charities worldwide. In 2018, we will start accepting major gifts (of $10,000 or more) to our international charities—which we will in turn distribute to each respective charity. This will allow U.S. donors to make a tax-deductible donation to any of our recommended charities.
Offer private consulting for philanthropic portfolios
For the past several years we have privately consulted with major philanthropists who have requested personalized recommendations on where to donate. We intend to make this a broader program that will encourage anyone with a substantial philanthropic portfolio to discuss their goals with us in order to better determine which charities will effectively help them achieve those goals.