When we evaluate a charity comprehensively, we publish an estimate of the amount of additional funding we predict the charity could use effectively in the following year.1 Since we can’t predict exactly how any charity will respond upon receiving more funds than they have planned for, these estimates are speculative—not definitive. For instance, a charity could run out of effective uses for additional funding more quickly than we expect, or, conversely, they could find good ways to use further funding that we did not anticipate.
When we concluded our evaluation process in November 2017, we made a plan to seek updates from our Top Charities about their room for funding in May 2018. We felt it was possible that by this point in the year one or more of them may have received a substantial portion of the funds we estimated they could use effectively. We decided to check in with them so that we could determine whether we might want to recommend that donors cut back on funding those charities for the remainder of the year. If so, we planned to suggest that donors direct remaining funds to other Top Charities instead—and possibly to some of our Standout Charities.2
Last month, we corresponded with Animal Equality, The Good Food Institute (GFI), and The Humane League (THL) and asked about how much funding they had raised since our last review. After carefully considering the information we received from each charity, we decided not to change our advice to donors and still feel each of our Top Charities provide excellent opportunities for donating effectively.
Animal Equality’s Room for More Funding
In our review we estimated that Animal Equality’s 2017 budget was approximately $3.5 million.3 Last November, we predicted they could use an additional $2 million–$5 million in funding effectively4 for a total budget of approximately $5.5 million–$8.5 million. When we checked in with them last month, they reported that between November 28, 2017 and May 31, 2018 they raised a total of $3,952,606. Based on our room for more funding model from their review, Animal Equality should still have approximately $1.5 million–$4.5 million5 in room for more funding for the last six months before our new recommendations.6 However, the Open Philanthropy Project recently recommended five grants totaling $2,772,430 over the next three years to Animal Equality. Assuming that those grants are evenly spread out over this three year period, Animal Equality will have also raised another $544,486 in addition to the $3,952,606 that they reported. This suggests that Animal Equality should still have approximately $1 million–$4 million over the last six months before our new recommendations. As a result, we believe that Animal Equality still has significant room for more funding this year, so we did not follow up any further and we encourage donors to continue giving to Animal Equality.
The Good Food Institute’s Room for More Funding
At the time of last year’s review, GFI projected that their 2017 budget would be $4.66 million.7 Last November, we predicted that they could use an additional $1.5 million–$4 million in funding effectively8 for a total budget of approximately $6.2 million–$8.7 million. When we checked in with GFI last month, they reported that between December 1, 2017 and March 30, 2018 they raised a total of $2,620,457.9 Based on our room for more funding model from their review, GFI should still have approximately $3.5 million–$6 million in room for more funding over the last eight months before our new recommendations. To more directly compare GFI’s remaining room for more funding with that of Animal Equality and THL, we estimate that in April and May GFI continued to raise the average monthly amount that they raised for each of the previous months since the publication of our review.10 This would imply that GFI has approximately $2.6 million–$4.5 million in room for more funding over the last six months before our new recommendations. We believe that GFI likely has significant room for more funding this year, so we did not follow up any further and we encourage donors to continue giving to GFI.
The Humane League’s Room for More Funding
Last year, THL reported that their 2017 budget was $4.5 million.11 Last November, we predicted that they could use an additional $600,000–$4 million in funding effectively12 for a total budget of approximately $5.1 million–$8.5 million. When we checked in with them last month, THL reported that between December 1, 2017 and June 1, 2018 they raised a total of $4,023,003—including $1,177,000 million in committed (but not yet received) grant funds. Based on our room for more funding model from their review (and including the committed funds) THL should still have approximately $1 million–$4.5 million in room for more funding over the last six months before our new recommendations. Consequently, we believe that THL still has significant room for more funding this year and we did not follow up any further. We encourage donors to continue giving to THL.
When taking into account the different time periods for which our Top Charities reported their fundraising amounts and the likelihood of further grants by the Open Philanthropy Project, they seem to have fairly similar room for more funding for the remainder of 2018. We are currently quite confident that all three of our Top Charities can continue to use additional funds effectively this year, and we do not have any significant concerns about their room for more funding. As a result, we encourage donors to continue filling our Top Charities’ funding gaps. Of course, we will reevaluate our advice to donors this fall, when we write our next set of reviews. We encourage anyone with concerns about any of our Top Charities’ room for more funding to please contact us.
In the report regarding their 2017 expenses, Animal Equality recorded their expenditure for the first seven months of 2017 as $2,060,038. We extrapolated this figure to cover the remaining months in 2017 in order to estimate their total budget for 2017.
“We estimate that Animal Equality has room to take on $2 million to $5 million in additional funding in 2018.” —ACE’s Review of Animal Equality (2017)
Each of the ranges reported in this post are a subjective confidence interval (SCI). An SCI is a range of values that communicates a subjective estimate of an unknown quantity at a particular confidence level (expressed as a percentage). We generally use 90% SCIs, which we construct such that we believe the unknown quantity is 90% likely to be within the given interval and equally likely to be above or below the given interval.
Please note that all the updated room for more funding figures reported in this post are largely based on information that we had at the time of the November 2017 reviews. Our understanding of any charity’s room for more funding is, to a significant extent, based on how the charity plans to use further funds. If the charity were to plan what they would do with further funding to a greater extent, this could cause us to reevaluate their room for more funding as being greater than that suggested by our 2017 model.
See the total project budgeted in The Good Food Institute’s Projected Expenses (2017)
“We expect that GFI is on track to reach their fundraising goal for this year and think that over the next year they could use an additional $1.5 million–$4 million in funding in order for them to continue their expansion across all of their programs.”—ACE’s Review of The Good Food Institute (2017)
This year we asked our Top Charities to report their funds raised since our previous review and to specify the time frame those funds had been raised for. GFI’s report excluded April and May while the reports from Animal Equality and THL included those two months. In the future we plan to ask charities to report their funds raised for a specified time period in order to avoid the reporting of funds raised for differing periods of time.
See the second page of The Humane League’s Accomplishments and Budget (2016–2017)
“Overall we are less confident than THL that they could use such a significant amount of funding over the next year; however, compared with previous years they have more areas requiring funding and we therefore think that they could use $600,000–$4 million, after factoring in the Open Phil grants that they have been awarded.” —ACE’s Review of The Humane League (2017)