In February 2014, ACE composed a new and detailed process for updating our recommendations. This effort included creating a set of rigorous criteria for evaluation, which we then used to review animal organizations and come to conclusions on new recommendations. We are proud to recommend Mercy For Animals and The Humane League as our top charities.
After considering exactly 100 organizations and reviewing 29 farm animal charities, we selected seven charities for deeper review, including Mercy For Animals, The Humane League, the Humane Society of the United States’ Farm Animal Protection Campaign, Farm Animal Rights Movement, Vegan Outreach, and Compassion Over Killing. The seventh charity was a high risk/high reward possibility, as they were a fairly new organization working on unique projects we felt had good potential. However, they declined our further review at this time, as they felt they needed to establish themselves more before closer evaluation. Because of this, we only conducted a deeper review of the six listed charities.
In this round of evaluations, we felt it was important to acknowledge that our understanding of the relative effectiveness of different interventions is quite preliminary. While we have increasing evidence available about the effects of particular interventions, overall the amount of evidence available is still not large enough to let us compare their effects with certainty. Because of this, while we considered the interventions groups used as part of our reviews and performed explicit cost-effectiveness estimates where possible, we also relied heavily upon our other criteria.
Specifically, we focused on the track record of the organization in evaluating their work/approach and changing their methods based on their findings. MFA and THL excelled in this area, as they both have shown that they are interested in impact analysis and changing based on new evidence. For example, MFA has used testing to optimize targeting with their outreach booklets and websites, and THL has pioneered a testing division with Humane League Labs.
Another particularly important factor was room for more funding. After a thorough investigation of their work, we feel that both MFA and THL could put marginal funding to good use. We have a target of moving $60,000 to MFA and $40,000 to THL. We decided on these numbers in large part because we plan on revising our recommendations again right before the giving season on December 1, which means that our current recommendations may not benefit from end of the year giving. Additionally, this will be our first attempt to track money moved as a result of our efforts, so we have decided to set a more conservative goal. However, we also offer stretch goals of $500,000 for MFA and $270,000 for THL, as we feel confident they could effectively use that level of funding. For a more thorough explanation of our views on this area and our other criteria, see our full reviews of MFA and THL. We also accept donations on behalf of our top charities.
Lastly, we recognize the Humane Society of the United States’ Farm Animal Protection Campaign and the Farm Animal Rights Movement as Standout Charities. This means that we think highly of their work but that for one reason or another they didn’t quite qualify for our top recommendation. You can read more about each of them in our full review of FAPC and FARM.
We appreciate feedback on our work, and look forward to continuing to improve our process for the next round.