We update our list of Top and Standout recommended charities annually. This year, we are publishing our updates on December 2nd, just in time for Giving Tuesday.
We are excited to announce that this year we’ve selected four Top Charities:
The Albert Schweitzer Foundation, The Good Food Institute, and The Humane League have all retained their top status from last year and—for the first time—Anima International joins their ranks!
We are also pleased to recommend the The Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO) as a new Standout Charity. Additionally, Compassion in World Farming USA and Faunalytics retained their status as a Standout Charities after being re-evaluated this year.
Below, you will find brief details about each charity we reviewed this year, and you can read our comprehensive reviews of each charity here. We have also published a chart that allows for easy comparison of our recommended charities across several metrics.
Albert Schweitzer Foundation (ASF) has a solid track record of corporate outreach in Germany, and we are optimistic that their strategy and skills will lead to meaningful progress in Poland and other parts of Central and Eastern Europe, an area with a younger and smaller animal advocacy movement. Additionally, ASF is one of the first animal charities beginning to prioritize corporate outreach on behalf of farmed fishes. We believe that farmed fish advocacy can be particularly impactful due to the large scale and neglectedness of farmed fish suffering. Albert Schweitzer Foundation has been one of our Top Charities since November 2018. They were one of our Standout Charities from December 2014 to November 2018. To read more about ASF, read our comprehensive review.
Anima International has shown a strong commitment to strategy and to adapting their advocacy based upon new information and developments. Their approach to using their media campaigns as a way to directly support and increase the cost-effectiveness of their other programs seems like a particularly effective tactic. They have been building the capacity of the movement and working to overcome gaps in skills and diversity in relatively neglected countries with young movements. Their approach to expanding their reach by finding and supporting local groups seems especially promising, and we believe their extensive volunteer program could also be a potential pool from which to hire full-time staff. In general, we find Anima International to be an excellent giving opportunity because of their strategic approach and movement building. Open Cages, one of two charities that merged to become Anima International, was one of our Standout Charities from November 2017 to December 2019. To learn more about Anima International, read our comprehensive review.
The Good Food Institute (GFI) is working to transform the animal agriculture industry by promoting the development of competitive alternatives to animal-based meat, dairy, and eggs. Animal advocates have been working for decades to weaken the animal agriculture industry by encouraging individuals and institutions to reduce the demand for animal products and implement humane reforms. We are happy to support the effective implementation of those interventions, but we also believe that engaging in a wider range of promising tactics may increase the animal advocacy movement’s chance of success. Developing and promoting attractive alternatives to animal products seems like a promising way to disrupt the animal agriculture industry. There are few charities working in this area, and GFI has shown strong leadership and efficiency. GFI has been one of our Top Charities since November 2016. To learn more about GFI, read our comprehensive review.
The Humane League (THL) is exceptionally committed to using studies and systematic data collection to guide their approach to advocacy. Their corporate campaigns are especially strong, and they often take the lead in collaborating with other groups to facilitate knowledge-sharing about their strategic approach. They have been flexible in using their grassroots network for a variety of advocacy efforts—including individual outreach, support for corporate campaigns, and grassroots legislative advocacy. We find THL to be an excellent giving opportunity because of their strong programs and evidence-driven outlook, and we are pleased to recommend donating to them. The Humane League has been one of our Top Charities since August 2012. To learn more about THL, read our comprehensive review.
Standout Charities (General Interest)
Compassion in World Farming USA (“Compassion USA”) engages in programs that seem likely to be impactful in the short to medium term for animals used in the food system. We believe the type of work that they do also has the potential to be impactful in the long term as well. Their recent program to reduce the number of animals in food supply chains has the potential to reduce a large amount of animal products in major food businesses, and therefore to spare many farmed animals. In general, we believe that Compassion USA has a strong commitment to effectiveness: They have demonstrated an ability to self-identify areas of success and failure and respond appropriately, and their strategy seems to be impact-driven and thoughtfully implemented based on research. Compassion in World Farming USA has been one of our Standout Charities since November 2017. To learn more about Compassion USA, read our comprehensive review.
The Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO) focuses on reducing the suffering of farmed animals, which we believe is a high-impact cause area. Their work collaborating with food and beverage companies and retailers to encourage them to offer more vegan products is likely to make it easier for individuals to reduce their consumption of animal products, thereby reducing the suffering of a large number of animals. In addition, their work to build the capacity of the movement in India by training activists, assisting other animal advocacy organizations, and organizing conferences to bring together leaders in animal advocacy have the potential to increase the effectiveness of other projects and organizations. As farmed animal advocacy in India is currently neglected, we believe that FIAPO’s work to build the capacity of the movement has the potential to be highly effective. In general, we believe that FIAPO could be an excellent giving opportunity because of their strategic approach and movement building in India. FIAPO received a grant from ACE’s Effective Animal Advocacy Fund in April of 2019. To read more about FIAPO, read our comprehensive review.
Standout Charities (Special Interest)
Faunalytics is working in an important and relatively neglected area of animal advocacy: research and support for other advocates. Their research is generally of good quality relative to other animal advocacy research, and their work helps the movement to become more effective and more evidence-based. We believe that Faunalytics may be particularly interesting to donors who are committed to the value of research in building the animal advocacy movement. Faunalytics has been one of our Standout Charities since December 2015. To read more about Faunalytics, read our comprehensive review.
Other Reviews We Conducted in 20191
Animals Now (formerly Anonymous for Animal Rights) works to reduce the suffering of farmed animals, mainly in Israel. Animals Now engages in a variety of different programs including hosting Challenge 22, a vegan pledge and support program, giving lectures on and providing training in humane education, conducting undercover investigations, engaging in media and online outreach, running grassroots political campaigns, as well as providing guidance and support to other organizations for developing their own vegan support programs. To learn more about Animals Now, read our comprehensive review.
Compassion in World Farming International (“Compassion International”) was founded in the U.K. in 1967. Most of their staff work in the U.K., but they also employ people in Italy, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Poland, the U.S., and China. (Their U.S. branch, which we evaluate separately because they are financially independent, is one of our Standout Charities.) Compassion International primarily focuses on reducing the suffering of farmed animals by engaging in grassroots political campaigning to encode animal welfare protections in European law; working with corporations to implement improved animal welfare policies; engaging in online, media, and grassroots outreach; educating policymakers on farmed animal issues; conducting research on animal welfare and sustainability; and building cross-movement alliances with other groups working on similar issues. To learn more about Compassion International, read our comprehensive review.
Mercy For Animals (MFA) engages in a variety of farmed animal advocacy programs, often involving filming or promoting footage from their undercover investigations of factory farms. They promote investigation footage primarily through the media and online campaigns. MFA also engages in legal work and corporate campaigns on behalf of animals in the U.S., Canada, Brazil, and Mexico. They also conduct grassroots outreach designed to change individuals’ attitudes and behavior towards farmed animals. In addition, MFA recruits and trains volunteers in the U.S., Brazil, and Mexico and plans to expand their volunteer program to India and Hong Kong. Mercy For Animals was one of our Top Charities from May 2014 to November 2017. To learn more about MFA, read our comprehensive review.
The Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP) is a U.S.-based organization working to achieve legal personhood and rights for some nonhuman animals. To this end, they are initially litigating—or planning to litigate—primarily on behalf of great apes, elephants, dolphins and whales. Currently, NhRP is only working on behalf of individual animals who belong to a species for whom there is ample, robust scientific evidence of self-awareness and autonomy. They view these qualities as sufficient, but not necessary, for recognition of common law personhood and fundamental rights. The NhRP is also pursuing legislative work to advance the legal rights of nonhuman animals: They have recently invested in developing a grassroots program to support their future legislative initiatives. In addition to their legal and legislative work, NhRP is also engaged in educational initiatives which aim to shift attitudes towards animals in society. NhRP was a Standout Charity from December 2015 to December 2019. To read more about NhRP, read our comprehensive review.
Our Recommend Charity Fund
If you’re having trouble determining which of our recommended charities is right for you, check out our 2019 comparison chart! Alternatively, if you’re happy to support all of our recommended charities and if you’d like to do so through a single donation, consider donating to our Recommended Charity Fund. This fund is disbursed twice per year (in January and in July) according to the distribution that our research suggests is most effective at that time.
We offer our sincere gratitude to all charities we evaluated this year. Participating in our process takes time. We are grateful for organizations’ willingness to be open with us about their work. To that end, we have also awarded (or are in the process of awarding) grants of $2,000 to those charities that we evaluated this year. These grants were not contingent on publication; we award grants to charities whose reviews we do not publish, assuming they made a good faith effort to engage with us during the review process.
Our goal is not only to provide clear recommendations to donors and advocates on specific high-performing charities, but also to foster a culture of evaluation and critical assessment of programs and organizations in the field. We hope that our reviews prove informative for any charities looking to assess their impact.
What happened to Animal Equality? Given that they were a top charity last year, it would be great to know why they weren’t even listed this year. I noticed that they also weren’t listed as a “Declined to be reviewed” charity either.
Toni Adleberg says
Animal Equality did not complete our full evaluation process this year. As we do not publish reviews without charities’ full participation, we are unable to share any more information about them at this time.
Hi Toni! Was this also the case with ProVeg?
Toni Adleberg says
We did not complete a full evaluation of ProVeg this year or update their review because we evaluate Standout Charities every other year and we evaluated ProVeg in 2018.
However, in our 2018 review of ProVeg, we noted some concerns about their workplace culture. During this year’s evaluation process, we received multiple unsolicited testimonials from former employees with detailed reports of culture and HR problems at ProVeg. We followed up on this by sending our 2019 culture survey to ProVeg’s team. The results of the survey did not allay our ongoing concerns, so we are no longer recommending ProVeg as a Standout Charity in 2019.
You can still view their 2018 review on our website.
All the best,
I always find the top charity / standout charity / not top charity system a little baffling, and then heard that the system is basically you all review charities than vote on top ones. Is that still the process? I’d be interested in how the new performance ratings affected your evaluations. It seems slightly inconsistent – for example, if I label your dot performance ratings 3,2,1 (for high, average, low), than MFA scored 3331221. That seems a lot better than scores like FIAPO’s 2123222 or Faunalytic’s score. Was it just that MFA’s bad stuff was so bad that their strong performance on 3 criteria weren’t weighed heavily? I feel like this was an effort to add objectivity to a subjective process, but then wasn’t applied consistently.
Toni Adleberg says
Thanks for the feedback–we definitely don’t want our rating system to be confusing for readers. One reason we added the performance and confidence ratings on each criterion is to add more information and clarity about exactly how we think each charity performs on each criterion.
You’re right that our recommendations aren’t entirely based on the ratings for each criterion. In other words, we don’t add up each performance score and determine our recommendations numerically. That’s because we don’t have a formula for how to weigh the scores on each criterion. Some criteria play different roles in our evaluations of different charities. For example, for charities that don’t do badly on our “culture” criterion, culture might play a relatively small role in our recommendation decisions. However, if a charity has a particularly unhealthy culture, that might play a bigger role in our decision about that charity.
We don’t vote on our recommendation decisions. We have a series of conversations with our staff, leadership, and board. We aim to achieve a unanimous decision for each charity–when we can’t, the final decisions are made by me (the Director of Research) and Leah (our Executive Director). More details on our decision process for this year’s recommendations will be posted on our blog in the next few days.
Thanks for the questions!
All the best,
Why is “Compassion in World Farming” one of your top charities when they strictly are a welfarist organisation?
What’s the reasoning for selecting an organization that will not ask its audience, members or donors to abstain from animal products ? They should not be selected as long as they won’t take that extra step.
Hi! And Health Save Movement its one of your charity on this list?