|Primary Work Area||Industrial Agriculture|
|Secondary Work Area||Capacity Building|
What does Anima International do, and are their programs promising ways to advocate for animals?
Anima International mainly operates in Poland, Ukraine, Denmark, Norway, the U.K., and France. Their work aims to improve animal welfare standards via corporate outreach and policy change. They also engage in media outreach and institutional vegan outreach to decrease animal product consumption and increase the availability of plant-based options. Additionally, they work to strengthen the animal advocacy movement through capacity-building initiatives such as running a volunteer network and mentor programs, conducting research projects, and building alliances. Because most of Anima International’s spending on programs goes toward animal groups, countries, outcomes, and/or interventions that we consider high priority, we assessed the expected effectiveness of Anima International’s programs as high.
Taking into account their spending, are their programs cost effective?
After analyzing the achievements and costs Anima International’s programs, we assigned each one a cost-effectiveness rating. Of all of Anima International’s programs, we believe their programs to obtain corporate commitments to reduce animal suffering/consumption and transform the food system are the most cost effective (rated high). In contrast, we believe their public outreach program is less cost effective (rated “low to moderate”).
Overall, we assess Anima International’s cost effectiveness as moderate to high.
How much additional funding could they use?
Anima International has room for $1,000,000 of additional funding in 2023 and $1,000,000 in 2024, beyond their current projected revenues in those years. Therefore, we believe they could utilize a total revenue of up to $8,497,266 in 2023 and $9,953,535 in 2024.
Do we have concerns about their leadership and culture?
We have some concerns with Anima International’s leadership and organizational culture. See their comprehensive review for more details.
Why did they not receive our recommendation?
The main interventions used by Anima International (corporate and institutional vegan outreach) are likely to be very effective in improving the welfare of farmed animals, reducing the consumption of animal products, and increasing the availability of animal-free products. Additionally, their work to increase the availability of animal-free products seems to be a relatively neglected area. However, the five charities that we recommended this year performed better on the Programs, Cost Effectiveness, and Leadership and Culture criteria compared to Anima International. Therefore, based on our assessment of their performance on our four evaluation criteria—Programs, Cost Effectiveness, Room for More Funding, and Leadership and Culture—we recommended other charities ahead of Anima International.
Charities that ACE selects for comprehensive review all show evidence of running effective programs and engaging in highly impactful work. While Anima International did not receive a recommendation from us this year, we recognize that they are still among the most effective charities in their space, and we are delighted to highlight their work in their comprehensive review (shared with their permission).
Anima International was one of our Top Charities from November 2019 to November 2020 and a Standout Charity in 2021. Open Cages, one of the two charities that merged to become Anima International, was one of our Standout Charities from November 2017 to December 2019.
Each year, Animal Charity Evaluators (ACE) compiles comprehensive reviews of all organizations that agree to participate in our evaluation process. During our evaluation period, our research team thoroughly examines publicly available information and solicits additional materials and information from participating organizations.
This review is the finished product of our evaluation of Anima International, and it contains our assessment of their performance on ACE’s four charity evaluation criteria. This review includes four sections that each focus on a separate criterion: (i) an assessment of the effectiveness of a charity’s programs, (ii) a cost-effectiveness analysis of their recent work, (iii) an estimate of their ability to use additional funding effectively, and (iv) an evaluation of their leadership and culture.
In this criterion, we assess the expected effectiveness of a charity’s programs without considering their particular achievements. (For more information on recent program costs and achievements, see the Cost Effectiveness criterion.) During our assessment, we analyze the groups of animals the charity’s programs affect, the countries in which they take place, the outcomes they work toward, and the interventions they use to achieve those outcomes, as well as how the charity allocates their spending toward different programs. A charity that performs well on this criterion has programs that are expected to be highly effective in reducing the suffering of animals. The key aspects that ACE considers when examining a charity’s programs are reviewed in detail below.
ACE characterizes effective programs as those that (i) target high-priority animal groups, (ii) work in high-priority countries, (iii) work toward high-priority outcomes, and/or (iv) pursue interventions that are expected to be highly effective. This year, we used a scoring framework to assess the effectiveness of charities’ programs on each of these categories: animal groups, countries, outcomes, and interventions.
We scored the priority levels of different types of animal groups, countries, outcomes, and interventions (i.e., categories) using the Scale, Tractability, and Neglectedness (STN) framework; for countries, we also included an assessment of global influence. Members of ACE’s research team individually scored various types in each category using their own percentage weights for STN. We averaged these scores and percentage weights to calculate an overall priority level score for each type. For ease of interpretation, we categorized these scores into priority levels of very low, low, moderate, high, and very high.
We then used information supplied by the charity to estimate the percentage of program funding spent on different types of animal groups, countries, outcomes, and interventions. Using those estimates and our priority level scores, we arrived at a singular program score for each charity, representing the expected effectiveness of their collective programs.
A note about long-term impact
Each charity’s long-term impact is plausibly what matters most.7 The potential number of animals affected increases over time due to an accumulation of generations. Thus, we would expect that the long-term impacts of an action would likely affect more animals than the short-term impacts of the same action. This year, we included some considerations of long-term impact in our assessment of each outcome and intervention type. Nevertheless, we are highly uncertain about the particular long-term effects of each intervention. Because of this uncertainty, our reasoning about each charity’s impact (along with our diagrams) will skew toward emphasizing short-term effects.
Information and Analysis
Anima International’s headquarters are currently located in Estonia, but they mainly develop their programs (and have subsidiaries) in Denmark, France, Norway, Poland, the U.K., and Ukraine. A few of their programs have a more global scope.
|FAOI Scale data (0–100 range)||FAOI Global Ranking (100% scale)||FAOI Tractability data (36.7–84.9 range)||FAOI Global Ranking (100% tractability)||FAOI Global influence data (0.1–70.6 range)||FAOI Global Ranking (100% global influence)||Human population (in millions) per farmed animal advocacy org|
For each country, we report Mercy For Animals’ FAOI data and global ranking (out of 60 countries) for scale, tractability, and global influence. We report these scores alongside the human population per farmed animal advocacy organization in the country (out of a total of 753 organizations, excluding sanctuaries, that ACE is aware of worldwide), which we used to assess neglectedness.
Half of these countries are very high priority based on their FAOI data on tractability (the U.K., Denmark, and Norway) and low priority based on their FAOI data on scale (Denmark and Norway). Additionally, our assessment suggests that farmed animal advocacy in Ukraine is highly neglected. Note we have lower confidence that Ukraine’s FAOI scores reflect the current situation in the country. Overall, we conclude that most of Anima International’s work targets high-priority countries.
Description of programs
Anima International pursues different outcomes to create change for animals. Their work focuses on improving welfare standards and strengthening the animal advocacy movement, and to a lesser extent, also aims to increase the availability of animal-free products and decrease the consumption of animal products.
To communicate the process by which we interpret a charity creates change for animals, we use theory of change diagrams. It is important to note that these diagrams are not complete representations of real-world mechanisms of change. Rather, they are simplified models that ACE uses to represent our beliefs about mechanisms of change. For the sake of simplicity, some diagrams may not include relatively small or uncertain effects.
Below, we describe each of Anima International’s programs and the main interventions they use, listed in order of financial resources devoted to them in the last 18 months (from highest to lowest). Refer to Anima International’s general information request and our Cost Effectiveness criterion for more detailed information.
Anima International’s programs
Research for intervention effectiveness
We categorized the work Anima International does into nine intervention types: corporate outreach, institutional (or corporate) vegan outreach, capacity building, media outreach, individual outreach, research, legal or policy work, and investigations. Below, we summarize the most relevant research on the effectiveness of each of these intervention types, listed in order of financial resources devoted to them in the last 18 months (from highest to lowest).
There is some evidence that corporate outreach leads food companies to change their practices related to chicken welfare, and there are some cost-effectiveness estimates suggesting corporate outreach improves the welfare standards of farmed chickens.9 Cost-effectiveness estimates vary widely, and it is unclear which is the most accurate. The longer-term effects of improving welfare standards on the production and consumption of animal products are unclear.
Research suggests that the follow-through rate of cage-free corporate commitments ranges from 48%–84% and that corporate campaigns affect nine to 120 hen-years per dollar spent.10 Cage-free housing systems are believed to reduce suffering by increasing the space available to egg-laying hens and providing them opportunities to perform important behaviors, although mortality may increase during the transition process, and there is some risk that it may remain elevated. However, more recent research suggests that mortality and injuries are associated with operators’ lack of experience with the new system and should decline over time.11
Institutional (or corporate) vegan outreach
We are not currently aware of any peer-reviewed research on influencing the availability of animal-free products through institutional outreach. However, we could learn from studies that investigate the effectiveness of institutional outreach to hospitals and schools on increasing the availability of “healthy foods” (specifically fruits, vegetables, and whole grains). Reaching out to nonprofit institutions with the effective strategies identified in these studies has the potential to increase the availability of animal-free foods, considering the high participation and success rates in health food outreach to schools and hospitals. Some of these strategies included working with the local hospital association and hospital workers’ unions to encourage participation in the intervention, enlisting in-depth assistance from dietitians, and providing advice on how to incorporate new standards into existing operations.
There is some evidence that increasing the availability of animal-free products in institutions can decrease the consumption of animal products. A literature review concluded that increasing the visibility and variety of vegetarian options in food environments decreases meat consumption.12 The review also suggested that increasing the portion sizes of vegetable dishes in restaurants or canteens (and reducing meat portions) increases vegetable consumption and decreases meat consumption.
Capacity building enables organizations to develop the competencies and skills to make their team more effective and sustainable, thus increasing their potential to fulfill their mission and create change.13 ACE’s 2018 research on the allocation of movement resources suggests that capacity building is neglected relative to other interventions aimed at influencing public opinion and industry. Others have argued that many effective animal advocacy organizations could benefit from capacity-building services, specifically from career services and greater diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, especially in the longer term.14
The U.S.-based National Council of Nonprofits suggests that networks can be especially effective for capacity building because they catalyze innovation, improve communications, reduce duplication of past mistakes, and spread ideas faster and more efficiently than other capacity-building approaches.
An experiment found that reading news articles about farmed animal welfare reduced self-reported animal product consumption in meat-avoiders (e.g., reducetarians, pescetarians, and vegetarians) but not meat-eaters.15 A previous study suggests that media attention to animal welfare has a small but statistically significant impact on meat demand.16
Existing research suggests that the effectiveness of interventions addressing consumers’ knowledge and emotions about decreasing meat consumption depends on three factors: (i) whether information is provided on health, animal welfare, or environmental effects; (ii) whether information is emotionally or cognitively framed; and (iii) whether information is aligned with consumers’ information needs.17 Some evidence suggests that a combination of information on the health and environmental effects of meat consumption appears to be the most effective, especially for individuals who already believe in those effects.18
Evidence also suggests that interventions appealing to animal welfare are generally effective at reducing meat consumption, purchase, or related intentions—at least in the short term.19 Triggering emotions (e.g., empathy, guilt, or disgust) seems to be even more effective at reducing meat consumption than providing facts, and intervention effectiveness can depend on the animal species being targeted.20 Note that most studies focus on the short-term effects of interventions on individual attitudes and intentions, and studies that measure consumption mostly rely on self-reported consumption data, which can be subject to misreporting and biases.
An experiment found that social media posts reduced self-reported animal product consumption by meat-avoiders (i.e., reducetarians, pescetarians, and vegetarians) but did not affect full meat-eaters.21
Some empirical studies indicate that self-monitoring—a key part of taking a vegan pledge—reduces meat consumption, at least in the short term.22 Other studies suggest that some participants adopt a more plant-based diet for several months after engaging with a pledge.23 However, an experimental study found a reduction in meat consumption during the challenge but not after it.24
Conducting research relevant to animal advocacy is a generally promising intervention, especially when considering its potential effects in the longer term. Due to the lack of empirical evidence about the extent to which research results are used by the animal advocacy movement to prioritize and implement their work, our confidence in the short-term effects of this intervention is low. We think the impact of research has a particularly high variance; some research projects can be far more influential than others, and researchers’ rigor seems to be a key factor in their impact. Considering an overview of issues in the research system related to the choice of research questions, the quality and reproducibility of research, and the use of results may be particularly important when determining the impact of research projects.25
Legal or policy work
Available evidence suggests that legal work by animal advocacy organizations can contribute to changes and modifications in the law, help ensure law enforcement, and motivate cultural shifts in societal attitudes toward animal welfare. The success of this legal work requires that such laws have a positive impact on the welfare of animals and that the work those organizations do contributes to the introduction of those laws. While legal change may take longer to achieve than some other forms of change, we expect its effects to be particularly long-lasting.
A study on the Australian public’s reaction to investigative footage of cows broadcasted in the media concluded that they were emotionally affected, but that did not translate to significant behavioral change.26 A later study on the same footage concluded that many people who view animal cruelty footage will have a long-term memory of it, but would still prefer to be informed about the issues rather than protected from them. 27 Another study examining the impact of an Australian media campaign—which exposed animal cruelty during the live export of sheep—found no apparent difference in people’s concern for sheep or cow welfare, attitudes toward animal agriculture, acceptance of the meat industry, or trust in meat farmers, after the media campaign.28
We estimate that most of Anima International’s spending on programs targets high-priority animal groups (farmed animals in general and farmed chickens), high-priority outcomes (improvement of welfare standards and stronger animal advocacy movement), and very high-priority interventions (corporate outreach, institutional (or corporate) vegan outreach, and legal or policy work). Additionally, we estimate that half of their spending on programs goes towards high-priority countries (Denmark, the U.K., and France).
Overall, we assess the expected effectiveness of Anima International’s programs as high.29
In this criterion, we assess the effectiveness of a charity’s approaches to implementing interventions, their recent achievements, and the costs associated with those achievements. By conducting this assessment, we seek to gain insight into a charity’s overall impact on animals given the resources they used to achieve their results. A charity that performs well on this criterion likely utilizes their available resources in a cost-effective manner. The key aspects that ACE considers when examining cost effectiveness are reviewed in detail below.
We conducted our analysis by comparing a charity’s reported expenditures over the past 18 months to the reported achievements of their main programs during that time.30 We estimated total program expenditures by taking the charity’s reported expenditures for each program and adding a portion of their nonprogram expenditures weighted by the program’s size. This process allowed us to incorporate general organizational running costs into our consideration of cost effectiveness. During our evaluation, we also verified a subset of the charity’s reported achievements by searching for independent sources to help us verify claims and directing follow-up questions to the charity.
We selected up to five key achievements per program to factor into our cost-effectiveness assessment.31 When selecting achievements, we prioritized those that we thought were most representative of their respective programs and that referred to completed work (rather than work in progress). For each key achievement, we identified the associated intervention type and assigned the respective intervention score. (For more details on how we calculated those scores and prioritized interventions, see the Programs criterion.) Based on the charity’s reported expenditure on each achievement, we computed how many such achievements the charity accomplished per $100,000.32
We used the number of achievements per $100k and other contextual information (e.g., the species affected) to score the cost effectiveness of each key achievement, and then used those scores to modify the average intervention type score. This modified score for each key achievement takes into account how impactful the intervention is on average and how cost-effectively it has been implemented by the charity. The final score for each program is the average of the modified intervention scores, weighted by the relative expenditure on each key achievement.
The final cost-effectiveness score is the average of the program scores, weighted by percentage of total expenditures spent on each program. This score indicates on a 1–5 scale how cost effective we believe this program has been over the last 18 months, with 1 indicating very low cost effectiveness, 2 indicating low cost effectiveness, 3 indicating moderate cost effectiveness, 4 indicating high cost effectiveness, and 5 indicating very high cost effectiveness. Please see the cost-effectiveness assessment spreadsheet for more detailed information.
Below, we report the total program expenditures, key achievements of each program, and estimated cost effectiveness of each program.
Information and Analysis
Overview of expenditures
The following chart shows Anima International’s total program expenditures from January 2021 – June 2022.
Overview of programs
The following tables show Anima International’s key achievements, achievement expenditures, the number of achievements per $100,000, and a program cost-effectiveness score from January 2021 – June 2022.
Room for More Funding
A recommendation from ACE could lead to a large increase in a charity’s funding. In this criterion, we investigate whether a charity would be able to absorb and effectively utilize funding that a new or renewed recommendation may bring in. Our assessment of this criterion ultimately guides our recommendation decision; charities are ineligible to receive a particular recommendation status if they would be unable to absorb and effectively utilize the subsequent funding. All descriptive data and estimations for this criterion can be found in the RFMF model spreadsheet.
We begin our room for more funding (RFMF) assessment by inspecting the charity’s revenue and plans for expansion through 2024, assuming that their ACE recommendation status and the amount of ACE-influenced funding they receive will stay the same. Then, we outline how the charity would likely expand if they were to receive funds beyond their predicted income and use this information to calculate their RFMF. Finally, we share our thoughts about the charity’s overall financial sustainability and revenue diversity.
Plans for Expansion
To estimate charities’ RFMF, we request their financial records from the past 30 months and ask them to predict what their revenue will be in the next 30 months. We also ask how they plan to allocate funding among their programs. We then assess our level of confidence in their projections based on factors such as past revenue, past expenditures, and nonfinancial barriers to the scalability of their programs (e.g., time or talent shortages).
Although we list the expenditures for planned nonprogram expenses, we do not assess the charity’s overhead costs in this criterion, given that there is no evidence that the total share of overhead costs negatively impacts overall effectiveness.35 However, we do consider relative overhead costs per program in our Cost Effectiveness criterion. Here, we focus on determining whether additional resources are likely to be used for effective programs or other beneficial organizational changes. The latter may include investments into infrastructure and staff retention, both of which we think are important for sustainable growth.
We ask charities to indicate how they would spend additional, unexpected funding that an ACE recommendation may bring in. This amount varies from charity to charity, but on average is roughly $200,000 per year for Standout Charities and $1,000,000 per year for Top Charities. We also ask previously recommended charities to indicate how they would use additional funding because there is some evidence that repeatedly recommended charities are more appealing to donors; therefore, they may get more ACE-influenced funding over time. We then assess our level of confidence in the charity’s ability to carry out their plans in 2023 and 2024—i.e., how much unexpected funding we believe they could utilize for effective programs in that timeframe—to estimate their RFMF for those years. These estimates are then shared with the charity and adjusted as needed based on feedback. Our RFMF estimates are intended to identify the point at which we would want to check in with a charity to ensure that they have used their funds effectively and can still absorb additional funding.
We may adjust RFMF based on the status of a charity’s reserves. It is common practice for charities to hold more funds than needed for their current expenses in order to be able to withstand changes in the business cycle or external shocks that may affect their incoming revenue. Such additional funds can also serve as investments in future projects. Thus, it can be effective to provide a charity with additional funding to secure the organization’s stability and/or provide funding for larger, future projects. Therefore, we increase a charity’s RFMF if they are below their targeted amount of reserves. If a target does not exist, we suggest that charities hold reserves equal to at least one year of expenditures.36
The charities we evaluate typically receive revenue from a variety of sources, such as individual donations and grants from foundations.37 A review of the literature on nonprofit finance suggests that revenue diversity may be positively associated with revenue predictability if the sources of income are largely uncorrelated.38 However, there is evidence that revenue diversity may not always be associated with financial stability.39 Therefore, although revenue diversity does not play a direct role in our recommendation decision, we indicate charities’ major sources of income in this criterion for donors interested in financial stability.
Information and Analysis
The chart below shows Anima International’s revenues, expenditures, and net assets from 2020–2021, as well as their own projections for the years 2022–2024.
Revenue, Expenditures, and ACE-Influenced Funding Over the Years 2020–2024
Plans for Expansion
Anima International plans to expand all of their programs.
Below, we share Anima International’s plans for each of their programs in more detail. Projected changes in expenditure are the charity’s own estimates from August 2022. We also include a surface-level assessment of the feasibility of their plans. More details can be found in the corresponding estimation sheet and in the supplementary materials.
Based on our assessment of Cost Effectiveness, Animal International’s programs on public outreach, strengthening the animal advocacy movement, and building alliances with key Influencer groups are less cost effective compared to their other programs, as well as some programs at other charities that we consider to be highly impactful. Looking forward to 2023 and 2024, we estimate that about 64% of Anima International’s planned expenditures would go toward programs that ACE currently considers to be highly cost effective.
In addition to other sources of funding, Anima International has received funding influenced by ACE as a result of their recommended charity status for the past five years. Thus, their RFMF analysis will focus on our assessment of whether they could continue to effectively absorb funding that comes from our recommendation.
Anima International outlined that if they were to spend an additional $200,000 per year, $140,000 would be focused on scaling corporate outreach programs or more medium-to-high risk plans, like securing footage from industry whistleblowers. The next $40,000 would be dedicated to food system transformation, and the final $20,000 would be dedicated to capacity building and/or grants. We believe this is an effective and plausible use of funding relative to their current expenditure on these activities. Overall, we have high confidence that Anima International could effectively absorb at least an additional $200,000 per year beyond their plans for expansion outlined in the previous section.
Anima International outlined that if they were to spend an additional $1,000,000 per year, $400,000 would be focused on higher-risk-and-reward corporate outreach programs. The next $300,000 would be dedicated to food system transformation, and the final $300,000 would go toward E.U.-level policy work, capacity building, and/or grants. We believe this is an effective and plausible use of funding, with some uncertainty regarding their ability to manage high-projected growth and recruit all the staff necessary to achieve that growth. Overall, we have high confidence that Anima International could effectively absorb at least an additional $1,000,000 per year beyond their plans for expansion outlined in the previous section.
With more than 100% of their current annual expenditures held in net assets—as reported by Anima International for 2021—we believe that they hold a sufficient amount of reserves compared to their target level of 100%.
Anima International receives the majority of their income (over 89%) from grants/donations. In 2020 and 2022, they received approximately 20% and 40% of their funding respectively from donations larger than 20% of their annual revenue. They have several restricted donations of $6,000,000 USD over 2021–2023 for corporate work for broiler chickens and movement building. They also have grants amounting up to $1,300,000 in 2022 for work on policy, food system transformation, corporate outreach, and investigative work.
Based on (i) our assessment that they have sufficient reserves, (ii) our assessment that they could effectively absorb an additional $1,000,000, and (iii) our assumption that a loss of recommendation status would result in a decrease in funding, we believe that overall, Anima International has room for $1,000,000 of additional funding in 2023 and $1,000,000 in 2024. These two figures represent the amount we believe they could absorb beyond their projected revenues of $7,497,266 in 2023 and $8,953,535 in 2024, meaning that we believe that they could utilize a total revenue of up to $8,497,266 in 2023 and $9,953,535 in 2024. Additionally, we believe that 64% of that funding would contribute to programs that ACE considers to be highly cost effective. See our Cost Effectiveness criterion for our assessment of the effectiveness of their programs.
It is possible that a charity could run out of room for more funding more quickly than we expect or that they could come up with good ways to use funding beyond what we expect. If a charity receives a recommendation as Top Charity, we check in mid-year about the funding they’ve received since the release of our recommendations, and we use the estimates presented above to indicate whether we still expect them to be able to effectively absorb additional funding at that time.
Leadership and Culture
The way an organization is led affects its organizational culture, which in turn can impact the organization’s effectiveness and stability.40 In this criterion, our main goal is to assess whether organizations seem to have leadership and culture issues that are substantial enough to affect our confidence in their effectiveness and stability. The key aspects that ACE considers when examining leadership and culture are reviewed in detail below.
We review aspects of organizational leadership and culture by examining information provided by top leadership staff (as defined by each charity) and by capturing staff perspectives via our culture survey. At a charity’s request, we also distribute the survey to volunteers working at least five hours per week.
First, we consider key information about the composition of leadership staff and the board of directors. There appears to be no consensus in the literature on the specifics of the relationship between board composition and organizational performance.41 Therefore, we refrain from making judgments on board composition. However, because donors may have preferences on whether the Executive Director (ED) or other top executive staff are board members or not, we note when this is the case. For example, BoardSource recommends that, if the law permits, the ED (or equivalent) should be an “ex officio, non-voting member of the board.”42 In this way, the ED can provide input in board meeting deliberation and decision making, at the same time avoiding perceived conflicts of interest, questions concerning accountability, or blurring the line between oversight and execution.
We also consider leadership’s commitment to transparency43 by looking at available information on the charity’s website, such as key staff members and financial information. We require organizations selected for evaluation to be transparent with ACE throughout the evaluation process. Although we value transparency, we recognize that some organizations may be able to have a greater impact by keeping certain information private. For example, organizations and individuals working in some regions or on particular interventions could be harmed by publicizing certain information about their work.
In addition, our culture survey asks staff to identify the extent to which they feel that leadership competently guides the organization. We also ask leadership what strategies they use to learn about staff morale and work climate.
Organizational policies and workplace culture
We ask organizations undergoing evaluation to provide a list of their human resources policies, and we solicit the views of staff (and volunteers, if applicable) through our culture survey. Administering our culture survey to all staff members is an eligibility requirement to be recommended by ACE as a Top or Standout Charity. However, ACE does not require that all individual staff members at participating charities complete the survey. We recognize that surveying staff and/or volunteers could (i) lead to inaccuracies due to selection bias and (ii) may not reflect employees’ true opinions, as they are aware that their responses could influence ACE’s evaluation of their employer. In our experience, it’s easier to assess issues with an organization’s culture than it is to assess its strength. Therefore, we focus on determining whether there are issues in the organization’s culture that have a negative impact on staff productivity and wellbeing.
We assume that staff in the nonprofit sector often have multiple motives or incentives: They receive monetary compensation, experience social benefits from being part of a team, and take pride in their organization’s achievements for a cause.44 Because nonprofit wages are typically lower than for-profit wages, our survey asks all staff about wage satisfaction. In cases where volunteers respond to our culture survey, we typically ask organizations to provide their volunteer hours, because due to the absence of a contract and pay, volunteering may indicate special cases of uncertain work conditions. Additionally, we request the organization’s benefit policies regarding time off, health care, training, and professional development. We also consider how many of our listed policies (13 general policies and eight REI and harassment/discrimination policies) charities have in place.45 While certain policies might be deemed priorities,46 we do not assess which specific policies from our list are most important for charities to have. Additionally, we make exceptions for charities working in regions where these policies are not common practice.
To capture whether the organization also provides non-material incentives, e.g., goal-related intangible rewards, our culture survey includes the 12 questions from the Gallup Q12 employee engagement survey. We consider an average engagement score below the median value of the scale a potential concern.
ACE believes that the animal advocacy movement should be safe and inclusive for everyone. Therefore, we collect information about policies and activities regarding representation, equity, and inclusion (REI). We use the term “representation” broadly in this section to refer to the diversity of certain social identity characteristics (called “protected classes” in some countries).47 Additionally, we believe that in most countries, effective charities must have human resources policies against harassment48 and discrimination49 and that cases of harassment and discrimination in the workplace50 should be addressed appropriately.51 When cases of harassment or discrimination from the last 12 months are reported to ACE by current or former staff members or volunteers, we assess whether the charity appropriately addressed those cases. We do this by considering staff perceptions of whether the reported cases were handled appropriately. If confidentiality permits, we also ask leadership how they addressed the situation.
Information and Analysis
In this section, we list each charity’s Executive Director (or equivalent) and describe the board of directors. We mention this for the purpose of transparency and to identify the relationship between the ED and the board of directors.
- Executive Director (ED): Kirsty Henderson, who has been involved in the organization for four years.
- Number of board members: Four members (Estonia, International), five members (Denmark), four members (Ukraine), three members (Poland), five members (Norway), four members (U.K.), and three members (France). The ED, Kirsty Henderson, is a voting board member of the organizations in the U.K. and France. Because of this, the ED has no voting rights in the governance of Anima International.
Staff perception and feedback
Anima International has 102 staff members (full-time, part-time, and contractors). Eighty-one staff members responded to our survey, yielding a response rate of 79%.
Anima International has 80 volunteers working at least five hours per week. Sixty-six volunteers responded to our survey, yielding a response rate of 83%.
About 95% of staff respondents to our culture survey agree that Anima International’s leadership team guides the organization competently. Additionally, Anima International leadership conducts different types of staff surveys and calls with the team to learn about staff morale and work climate.
Anima International has been transparent with ACE during the evaluation process and during other communications with ACE. In addition, Anima International’s audited financial documents are publicly available online, and a list of key staff members and information about their accomplishments are available on their website. However, a list of board members is not publicly available. Based on the information that they make publicly available, we assess Anima International’s transparency toward the public as high.
|Has policy||Partial / informal policy||No policy|
|A formal compensation policy to determine staff salaries|
|Paid time off|
|Sick days and personal leave|
|Paid family and medical leave|
|Clearly defined essential functions for all positions, preferably with written job descriptions|
|Annual (or more frequent) performance evaluations|
|Formal onboarding or orientation process|
|Training and development opportunities for each employee|
|Simple and transparent written procedure(s) for employees to request further training or support|
|Flexible work hours|
|Remote work option|
|Paid internships (if possible and applicable)||n/a|
The average score among our engagement questions was 6.5 (on a 1–7 scale), suggesting that on average, staff exhibit a very high engagement score.
Harassment and discrimination reports
Anima International has staff policies against harassment and discrimination (see all other related policies in the table below). A few staff (1–3 individuals) and a few volunteers (1–3 individuals) report via our culture survey that they have experienced harassment or discrimination at their workplace during the last 12 months, while a few staff (1–3 individuals) and volunteers (4–6 individuals) report to have witnessed harassment or discrimination of others in that period. In particular, reports involve alleged sexism by leadership, alledged age discrimination, and continued use of Russian language in Ukraine. All of the staff claimants and about half of the volunteer claimants reported that the situation was not handled appropriately.
We feel it’s important to note that a few Anima International’s current or former staff (1–3 individuals) have reached out to us (in the last 12 months) to provide input on our evaluation of Anima International. According to these confidential reports, in the last year, there have allegedly been serious cases of harassment or discrimination in the workplace and those reporting allege that the situation was not handled appropriately.
Anima International’s leadership team recognizes reported issues and reports that they are following the procedures dictated by their policies to resolve them. In particular, they report that they are happy their staff and volunteers are both internally and externally reporting any problems they see with the organization, as no reporting can be a sign of not feeling safe in the organization. Additionally, they have established a standardized reporting system and encourage staff and volunteers to report any issues. They also use external investigators when there are serious allegations. They report that they have investigated or are investigating all cases. Based on this limited information, our impression is that leadership has addressed or is working on addressing these situations.
Policies related to representation, equity, and inclusion (REI)
|Has policy||Partial / informal policy||No policy|
|A clearly written workplace code of ethics/conduct|
|A written statement that the organization does not tolerate discrimination on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, disability status, or other irrelevant characteristics|
|A simple and transparent written procedure for filing complaints|
|Mandatory reporting of harassment and discrimination through all levels, up to and including the board of directors|
|Explicit protocols for addressing concerns or allegations of harassment or discrimination|
|Documentation of all reported instances of harassment or discrimination, along with the outcomes of each case|
|Regular trainings on topics such as harassment and discrimination in the workplace|
|An anti-retaliation policy protecting whistleblowers and those who report grievances|
We have some concerns with Anima International’s leadership and organizational culture. In particular, we are concerned that some instances of harrassment or discrimination were perceived as not being handled appropriately. We do, however, positively note that Anima International has a large number of staff policies, staff generally agree that leadership guides the organization competently, and staff are generally satisfied and engaged with their job.
The main interventions used by Anima International (corporate and institutional vegan outreach) are likely to be very effective in improving the welfare of farmed animals, reducing the consumption of animal products, and increasing the availability of animal-free products. Additionally, their work to increase the availability of animal-free products seems to be a relatively neglected area. However, the five charities that we recommended this year performed better on the Programs, Cost Effectiveness, and Leadership and Culture criteria compared to Anima International. Based on our assessment of their performance on our four evaluation criteria—Programs: highly effective; Cost Effectiveness: moderate to high cost effectiveness; Room for More Funding: > $1M; Leadership and Culture: some concerns—we recommended other charities ahead of Anima International.
Charities that ACE selects for comprehensive review all show evidence of running effective programs and engaging in highly impactful work. While Anima International did not receive a recommendation from us this year, we recognize that they are still among the most effective charities in their space, and we are delighted to highlight their work in this comprehensive review (shared with their permission).
We don’t consider the number of individuals as the only relevant characteristic for scale, and we don’t necessarily believe that groups of animals or species should be prioritized solely based on scale. However, the number of animals in a group or species is one characteristic of scale that we use for prioritization.
Of the 191 billion farmed vertebrate animals killed annually for food globally, 101 billion are farmed fishes and 79 billion are farmed chickens, making these impactful groups to focus on.
We estimate there are 10 quintillion, or 1019, wild animals alive at any time, of whom we estimate at least 10 trillion are vertebrates. It’s notable that Rowe (2020) estimates that 100 trillion to 10 quadrillion (or 1014 to 1016) wild invertebrates are killed by agricultural pesticides annually.
On average, our team considers advocating for improvements of welfare standards to be a positive and promising approach. However, there are different viewpoints within ACE’s research team on the effect of advocating for animal welfare standards on the spread of anti-speciesist values. There are concerns that arguing for welfare improvements may lead to complacency related to animal welfare and give the public an inconsistent message—e.g., see Wrenn (2012). In addition, there are concerns with the alliance between nonprofit organizations and the companies that are directly responsible for animal exploitation, as explored in Baur and Schmitz (2012).
See the review of two such studies in Bianchi et al (2018).
For more detailed information, see Anima International’s Programs Assessment spreadsheet.
As part of our information request to charities, we ask for a list and description of their main achievements for each of their programs. We also asked charities to report their expenditures for each program, and to estimate the percentage of program expenditures spent on each key achievement.
Assessing cost effectiveness by looking at a charity’s key achievements has limitations. It will likely bias cost-effectiveness estimates upward to some extent, as it does not consider expenditures on less impactful achievements or work that did not result in an achievement. This may affect larger programs more, as their key achievements are more likely to account for a smaller proportion of overall program costs and thus may be less reflective of the program’s overall cost effectiveness.
We use ratings of low, moderate, and high to help distinguish between the performance of charities that we review, and to make our numerical scores easier to interpret. These qualitative ratings are not reflective of a charity’s performance when compared to other charities that were not selected for review.
Please see Anima International’s Cost-Effectiveness Assessment spreadsheet for more detailed information.
BoardSource (2016), p. 4
Charity Navigator (n.d.-a) defines transparency as “an obligation or willingness by a charity to publish and make available critical data about the organization.”
Our evaluation process for human resources policies uses an assessment system that we have adapted from Charity Navigator (n.d.-b).
Examples of such social identity characteristics include: race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, gender or gender expression, sexual orientation, pregnancy or parental status, marital status, national origin, citizenship, amnesty, veteran status, political beliefs, age, ability, and genetic information.
Harassment may occur in one incident or many, and incidents can be nonsexual or sexual in nature. ACE defines nonsexual harassment as unwelcome conduct—including physical, verbal, and nonverbal behavior—that upsets, demeans, humiliates, intimidates, or threatens an individual or group. ACE defines sexual harassment as unwelcome sexual advances; requests for sexual favors; and other physical, verbal, and nonverbal behaviors of a sexual nature when: (i) submission to such conduct is made explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment; (ii) submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting the targeted individual; or (iii) such conduct has the purpose or effect of interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.
ACE defines the workplace as any place where work-related activities occur, including physical premises, meetings, conferences, training sessions, transit, social functions, and electronic communication (such as email, chat, text, phone calls, and virtual meetings).
The following materials are supplementary research documents associated with our charity review process and are referenced in the comprehensive review.