A just and sustainable food system for all.
Why did New Roots Institute receive our recommendation?
New Roots Institute’s work to increase knowledge and skills for animal advocacy is highly promising because it focuses on animal groups, countries, and interventions that we consider high priority. Their education work to help farmed animals in the United States seems to have a particularly high impact potential. While we expect all of our evaluated charities to be excellent examples of effective advocacy, New Roots Institute is exceptional even within that group. Giving to New Roots Institute is an excellent opportunity to support initiatives that create the most positive change for animals.
Are New Roots Institute’s programs cost effective?
After analyzing the recent achievements and expenditures of New Roots Institute’s programs, we assess that they utilize their available resources in a cost-effective manner. Of New Roots Institute’s achievements, we think their high school and college lessons and student fellowship program are particularly cost effective because we rate the quality of engagement and impact particularly high compared to other achievements in the same intervention categories. We predict New Roots Institute will use your donations responsibly.
How is New Roots Institute’s organizational health?
Organizational factors can influence a charity’s effectiveness and stability. Our assessment showed that New Roots Institute has the key policies and processes in place necessary for healthy workplace conditions, governance, and staff engagement. We also positively noted their commitment to fostering a culture of open and direct communication, including encouraging constructive staff feedback on the organization’s leadership.
Why should you support New Roots Institute?
We estimate that New Roots Institute could effectively use $900,000 in additional donations (beyond their projected revenue) through 2025. With that funding, they plan to increase their spending on education and skill and network building, as well as build partnerships with international organizations. By supporting New Roots Institute, you play a crucial role in helping them achieve their plans and creating a better world for farmed animals in the United States and beyond.
Read our comprehensive review of New Roots Institute to learn more about their work and our evaluation methods.
Support New Roots Institute or all of our Recommended CharitiesMake a Donation
At Animal Charity Evaluators (ACE), we provide comprehensive reviews of all the organizations we recommend after conducting our yearly charity evaluations. During the evaluation period, our researchers thoroughly analyze publicly accessible information about each organization. Additionally, we ask participating organizations for supplemental materials and information to aid our assessments and help us identify the charities to recommend.
This review is based on our assessment of New Roots Institute’s performance on ACE’s four charity evaluation criteria. Each section of the review focuses on a different criterion: (i) Impact Potential, an overview of the charity’s programmatic work and an assessment of its impact potential; (ii) Cost Effectiveness, an analysis of the charity’s recent expenditures and achievements; (iii) Room for More Funding, an overview of the charity’s future plans and an estimate of how much additional funding they can effectively use in 2024 and 2025; and (iv) Organizational Health, an assessment of whether there are any management or governance issues substantial enough to affect the charity’s effectiveness and stability. Each of the four sections is divided into these subsections: Introduction, Our Method, Limitations of Our Method, Our Analysis, and Our Assessment of the charity in that criterion. Finally, we conclude with a summary of why we recommend this charity based on our evaluation.
Impact Potential: How promising are New Roots Institute’s programs?
With this criterion,1 we assess the impact potential (IP) of a charity’s programs without considering their specific program achievements. During our assessment, we analyze the groups of animals the charity’s programs target, the countries where they take place, and the intervention types they use. We also examine how the charity allocates expenditures among different animal groups, countries, and interventions. A charity that performs well on this criterion has programs with great potential to reduce animal suffering or improve animal wellbeing. The key aspects that ACE examines when evaluating a charity’s programmatic work are discussed in detail below.
Our Analysis of New Roots Institute’s Impact Potential
Fig. 1: New Roots Institite’s spending toward each animal group
In the table below, we report for each animal group our scores (on a 1–7 scale) for Scale, Tractability, and Neglectedness, as well as the general IP score and the uncertainty score. We also provide our overall impression of each animal group based on the latter two scores. For more details on how we scored animal groups, see the Prioritizing animals section.
|Animal group||Scale||Tractability||Neglectedness||IP Score||Uncertainty||Overall impression|
|Farmed animals (general)||4.4||5.8||5.3||5.1||2.7||High priority, moderate uncertainty|
New Roots Institute’s headquarters are currently located in the United States. They do not have any subsidiaries.
New Roots Institute runs their programs in the U.S.
Fig. 2: New Roots Institute’s spending toward each country
In the table below, we report our scores (on a 1–7 scale) for Scale, Tractability, Global Influence, and Neglectedness, as well as the IP score for each country where New Roots Institute runs programs to help farmed animals. We also provide our overall impression of each country based on the IP score. For more details on how we scored countries, see the Prioritizing countries section.
|Country||Scale||Tractability||Global Influence||Neglectedness||IP Score||Overall impression|
|United States||5.5||6.6||6.9||4.1||5.8||High priority|
New Roots Institute uses the following intervention types to increase knowledge/skills for animal advocacy: skill and network building; education.
New Roots Institute notes that there is a high level of integration between their educational outreach and their Leadership Program that makes it difficult to consider them as distinct interventions. The outreach in classrooms serves as a way to start recruiting and training students for their leadership program.
Fig. 3: New Roots Institute’s spending toward each intervention
We use theory of change diagrams to communicate our interpretation of how a charity creates change for animals through interventions and outcomes. 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.
Fig. 4: New Roots Institute’s theory of change diagram
In the table below, we report for each intervention-outcome combination our scores (on a 1–7 scale) for Scale (short term), Scale (long term), Tractability, and Neglectedness, as well as the general IP score and the uncertainty score. We also provide our overall impression of each intervention type based on the latter two scores. For more details on how we scored interventions, see the Prioritizing interventions section.
|Intervention||Outcome||Scale (short term)||Scale (long term)||Tractability||Neglectedness||IP Score||Uncertainty||Overall impression|
|Skill and Network Building||Increased knowledge/skills for animal advocacy||4.8||5||4.5||4.8||4.8||5||High priority, high uncertainty|
|Education||Increased knowledge/skills for animal advocacy||4.5||5||4.5||4.3||4.5||4.6||High priority, high uncertainty|
Research on the impact potential of interventions
Below, we summarize the most relevant research on the effectiveness of each of these intervention types.
Skill and Network Building
The National Council of Nonprofits argues that 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.10 They also suggest 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.11
ACE’s 2018 report on the allocation of movement resources suggests that capacity building is neglected relative to other interventions aimed at influencing public opinion and industry.
A 2012 article argues that investments in capacity building are an effective adaptation response to global change and that strong and well-supported scientific networks are an indispensable component of capacity building, as they are a key source for new knowledge that enables continual and dynamic adaptation practice.12
Some evidence suggests that educational interventions decrease meat consumption in undergraduate students. A 2019 study found that a lecture on the environmental and health benefits of reduced meat consumption led to an increase in plant-based meal purchases among U.S. undergraduate students.13 A 2023 study by the same authors suggests that climate change informational interventions can be cost effective and reduce meat consumption among students for three years.14
A 2020 report that evaluated the impact of the Educated Choices Program found it had positive effects on student attitudes, behavioral intentions, and self-reported behaviors with regard to their food choices.15 Similarly, a study from the same year analyzed the effects of ordinary philosophical ethics classes on moral choices and found it led to a reduction in meat purchases and influenced attitudes toward eating meat.16 Moreover, a 2019 study found that a university course on the carbon footprint of meat and other foods reduced students’ red meat consumption.17
New Roots Institute’s programs can be interpreted as two combinatins of interventions used, countries where those interventions are conducted, and/or animal groups aimed to be helped. In the table below, we report the IP score (on a 1–7 scale, ranging from lowest to highest IP) for each intervention-animal-country combination that applies to New Roots Institute. For more details on how we scored the synergy impacts, see the Assessing synergy section.
|Synergy combinations||% Annual Expenditures||IP Score|
|Education to Help Farmed Animals (General) in United States||50||6.0|
|Skill and Network Building to Help Farmed Animals (General) in United States||50||5.8|
Our Assessment of New Roots Institute’s Impact Potential
We estimate that all of New Roots Institute’s expenditures on programs go toward high-priority animal groups (farmed animals in general), high-priority countries (the U.S.), and high-priority interventions (education, and skill and network building). Their education work to help farmed animals in the U.S. seems to have a particularly high impact potential.
In general, we are highly uncertain about education work and skill and network building relative to other interventions. This high uncertainty is due to a high standard deviation in team IP scores, which can be interpreted as a relatively high level of disagreement among our team members regarding the impact potential of using these intervention types. The high uncertainty is also due to the low quality of research about the effectiveness of skill and network building, and the relatively low quantity and quality of research about the effectiveness of education.
Overall, we assessed the impact potential of New Roots Institute’s programs as high, with an overall IP score of 5.4 (on a 1–7 scale), placing them in the 4th quartile (top 25%) of the charities we evaluated in 2023. Based on the final uncertainty score, we assessed our overall uncertainty in New Roots Institute’s impact potential as high. For more detailed information, see New Roots Institute’s IP Assessment spreadsheet.
Cost Effectiveness: How much has New Roots Institute achieved through their programs?
With this criterion, we assess the effectiveness of a charity’s approach to implementing interventions, their achievements, and the costs associated with those achievements. Charities that perform well on this criterion likely use their available resources in a cost-effective manner. The key aspects that ACE considers when examining cost effectiveness are reviewed in detail below.
Our Analysis of New Roots Institute’s Cost Effectiveness
The following tables show New Roots Institute’s key achievements and achievement expenditures per intervention category from July 2022 to June 2023, the quantity of achievements per $1/$100,000, and the achievement cost-effectiveness score. The tables show the five highest-expenditure achievements per intervention category. For a full list of New Roots Institute’s achievements, please see their Cost-Effectiveness Assessment spreadsheet.
Skill and network building
|Key achievements||Achievement expenditures (USD)30||Number of individuals or organizations reached||Number of individuals or organizations reached per $100,000||Achievement score (1–7)31|
|Ran fellowships to facilitate students to become effective advocates||$623,006||7,877 individuals||1,264 individuals||5.1|
|Ran an alumni network to provide continued support to former fellows||$69,222||352 individuals||509 individuals||4.0|
|Key achievements||Achievement expenditures (USD)||Number of individuals reached||Number of individuals reached per $100,000||Achievement score (1–7)|
|Gave lessons on factory farming at high schools and colleges||$692,229||41,275||5,963||4.9|
Our Assessment of New Roots Institute’s Cost Effectiveness
New Roots Institute’s overall cost-effectiveness score is 4.9, placing them in the 4th quartile (top 25%) among all charities evaluated in 2023. This score was reached by averaging the individual scores calculated for each achievement, weighted by the relative expenditures on the achievement.32 This overall score is an estimate of how well New Roots Institute has implemented their interventions from July 2022 to June 2023, taking their expenditures into account.
We think that out of all of New Roots Institute’s achievements, their high school and college lessons on factory farming and their student fellowships are particularly cost effective because we rate the quality of engagement and impact particularly high compared to other achievements in the same intervention categories. In contrast, we think that their alumni network is less cost effective because we rate engagement and impact slightly lower, and (relative to expenditures) fewer individuals are reached compared to other achievements in the same intervention category.
We think our score may overestimate New Roots Institute’s cost effectiveness for the following reason: Two achievements account for 95% of New Roots Institute’s program expenditures, and therefore for 95% of their cost-effectiveness score. Slight adjustments to the scoring of these achievements have a substantial influence on the total score. Even a slight reduction in the quality score of one of these achievements significantly reduces the overall cost-effectiveness rating. Therefore, any overestimation of the impact of these achievements would have resulted in an overestimation of New Roots Institute’s overall cost-effectiveness.
We think our score may underestimate New Roots Institute’s cost effectiveness for the following reason: We largely focus on the direct and short-term impact of education and skill and network building, but the indirect and long-term impact may be much higher.
Our uncertainty in the cost-effectiveness score is high (above the median of all evaluated charities). This is based on no missing information when scoring achievements, moderate uncertainty scores for the relevant intervention categories, and the outcome of our verification process. Of the three achievements selected for verification, one was verified as true, one was partially verified as true, and one was rated as unverifiable. Additionally, we increased New Roots Institute’s uncertainty score because of the low number of achievements they submitted. Because two achievements account for most of the score, this cost-effectiveness score should be interpreted with particular caution.
Room For More Funding: How much additional money can New Roots Institute effectively use in the next two years?
A recommendation from ACE could lead to a large increase in a charity’s funding. With this criterion, we investigate whether a charity would be able to absorb the funding that a new or renewed recommendation may bring, and the extent to which we believe that their future uses of funding will be as effective as their past work. All descriptive data and estimations for this criterion can be found in the model spreadsheet.
Our Analysis of New Roots Institute’s Room For More Funding
The chart below shows New Roots Institute’s revenues, expenditures, and total staff size from 2020–2022, as well as their own projections for the years 2023–2025.
Fig. 6: New Roots Institute’s financials and staff size (2020–2025)
Assessment of Projected Revenue and Expenditures
|Concerns about alignment with previous projections39||Level of concern about charity’s sustainability (1–7)||Reasoning|
|N/A||5||Consistent increase in projected revenue and expenditure|
We consider the charity’s projected growth (uncertainty level 5 out of 7) to be somewhat aggressive. A more detailed summary of their financials, including breakdowns by intervention, animal group, and country, can be found in the “Overall Financials” tab of their model spreadsheet.
Assessment of Hiring Plans
|Year||# FTEs||Hiring plans||Uncertainty (1–7)|
|Projection for 2023||14||Data analysis and development||2|
|Projection for 2024||14||No projected hires||1|
|Projection for 2025||14||No projected hires||1|
Overall, we consider it likely that the charity will be able to find and train the FTEs projected. A more detailed summary of their hiring plans and our reasoning behind their uncertainty scores can be found in the “Assessment: Hiring Plans” tab of their model spreadsheet.
Plans for expansion
New Roots Institute plans to proportionally increase their spending on their core interventions of education and skill and network building. Their focus will continue to be on farmed animals and their work will continue to take place in the United States primarily (along with some partnerships with international organizations).
A more detailed summary of their future plans can be found in their model spreadsheet.
New Roots Institute shared that they could absorb a total of $850,000 beyond their most likely scenario projections while still meeting the high standards of their current programs and provided the following plans:
|Priority for Funds||Amount of Funds||Type of Work Funded||Uncertainty about Effectiveness of Plans (1–7)|
|1||$335,000||Hire six additional program managers and coordinators to support their expanded reach (including internationally), increased class size, and growing alumni and mentor networks||2|
|2||$80,000||Hire eight more part-time educators, from their current pool of fellows, to support the students they will be recruiting this year||1|
|3||$300,000||Hire five more full-time educators with teaching degrees to build out “advocacy ecosystems” in select cities||3|
|4||$120,000||Establish a scholarship fund to make their program more accessible and inclusive, ensuring students are well-positioned to focus on their advocacy||3|
|5||$80,000||Establish an internship fund to subsidize their graduates’ compensation for organizations that wouldn’t be able to cover the full cost on their own||5|
|6||$100,000||Establish a small grants program to provide project funding for fellows’ advocacy work||3|
|7||$252,500||Hold a weeklong in-person Leadership Program kick-off with travel, meals, and lodging covered for 200 fellows||4|
|8||$40,000||Provide funding for students to attend the Animal & Vegan Advocacy Summit or other important conferences||3|
Based on these plans and New Roots Institute’s ambitious financial projections, we believe that the charity can effectively use slightly less than the above amounts in the next two years in a way that is as effective as their past work. We are moderately uncertain about the marginal value of funding programs such as an internship fund and travel for students. Overall, we consider the expansion of the charity’s core programs to be highly effective, with minor concerns about ambitious growth (a potential indicator that successes may not scale due to limiting factors such as operations and leadership’s ability to manage change).
A more detailed summary of their plans for unexpected funding and the reasoning behind our uncertainty assessments can be found in the “RFMF Estimate” tab of their model spreadsheet.
With more than their target amount of 50% of annual expenditures held in net assets (as reported by New Roots Institute for 2023), we believe that they hold a sufficient amount of reserves.
Our Assessment of New Roots Institute’s Room For More Funding
Based on our assessment that they have sufficient reserves and our assessment of their plans to use unexpected funding, we believe that overall, New Roots Institute has room for $400,000 of additional funding in 2024 and $500,000 in 2025. These two figures represent the amount beyond their projected revenues of $1,542,854 and $1,800,000 in 2024 and 2025, meaning that we believe that they could effectively use a total revenue of up to $1,942,854 and $2,300,000.
Organizational Health: Are there any management issues substantial enough to affect New Roots Institute’s effectiveness and stability?
With this criterion,40 we assess whether any aspects of an organization’s leadership or workplace culture pose a risk to its effectiveness or stability, thereby reducing its potential to help animals. Problems with leadership and workplace culture could also negatively affect the reputation of the broader animal advocacy movement, as well as employees’ wellbeing and their willingness to remain in the movement. For example:
- Schyns & Schilling (2013) report that poor leadership practices result in counterproductive employee behavior, stress, negative attitudes toward the entire company, lower job satisfaction, and higher intention to quit.
- Waldman et al. (2012) report that effective leadership predicts lower turnover and reduced intention to quit.
- Wang (2021) reports that organizational commitment among nonprofit employees is positively related to engaged leadership, community engagement effort, the degree of formalization in daily operations, and perceived intangible support for employees.
- Gorski et al. (2018) report that all of the activists they interviewed attributed their burnout in part to negative organizational and movement cultures, including a culture of martyrdom, exhaustion/overwork, the taboo of discussing burnout, and financial strain.
- A meta-analysis by Harter et al. (2002) indicates that employee satisfaction and engagement are correlated with reduced employee turnover and accidents and increased customer satisfaction, productivity, and profit.
Our Analysis of New Roots Institute’s Organizational Health
People policies and processes
The policies that New Roots Institute reported having in place are listed below. They reported that they proactively make all of the relevant policies accessible to their staff.
|Has policy||Partial / informal policy||No policy|
|Paid time off|
|Paid sick days|
|Paid medical leave|
|Permission to use sick days for mental health purposes|
|Healthcare coverage or health insurance|
|Paid family and caregiver leave|
|Paid internships (if relevant)||N/A|
|Compensation strategy (i.e., a policy detailing how the charity determines their staff’s pay and benefits in a standardized way)|
|An anti-retaliation policy protecting whistleblowers and those who report grievances|
|Board meeting minutes|
|Conflict of interest policy|
|Records retention and destruction policy|
|A clearly written workplace code of ethics/conduct|
|A written statement that the charity 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||N/A|
|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|
|Training on topics of harassment and discrimination in the workplace|
|Organizational design and communication|
|Clearly defined responsibilities for all positions, preferably with written job descriptions|
|Clearly defined objectives and expectations for all roles|
|Documentation of all key knowledge and information necessary to fulfill the needs of the organization|
|Mission and/or vision, defining the purpose and future of the organization|
|Clear organizational goals and/or priorities communicated to all employees|
|Performance and recruitment assessments|
|Annual (or more frequent) performance evaluations for all roles|
|Performance evaluation process based on predefined objectives and expectations|
|Annual (or more frequent) process to measure staff engagement or satisfaction|
|A process in place to support performance improvement in instances of underperformance|
|Learning and development|
|New hire onboarding or orientation process|
|Training and development available to each employee|
|A simple and transparent written procedure for employees to request additional training or support|
|Flexible work hours|
|Remote work option||N/A|
|Representation, equity, and inclusion|
|Process to attract a diverse candidate pool|
|Structured hiring, assessing all candidates using the same process|
|Standardized process for employment termination decisions|
|Two or more decision-makers for all hiring, promotion, and termination decisions|
New Roots Institute was transparent with ACE throughout the evaluation process.
Leadership and governance
New Roots Institute’s Executive Director (ED) is Monica Chen, who has been involved in the charity for five years.
The board of directors has five members. The Executive Director does not sit on the board.
While there has been no recent transition in the Executive Director role, New Roots Institute did note that the past 12 months had been a time of significant change, as they evolved from the Factory Farming Awareness Coalition to New Roots Institute. For those interested, the nature of this change, and the rationale behind it, is summarized on their new website.
We found that the charity’s board of directors aligned with our understanding of best practice. All of their board members are independent from the organization, board meetings take place eight times per year, and the board has robust term limits and performance evaluation processes in place.
Among New Roots Institute staff who responded to our engagement survey, the average score across questions regarding confidence in leadership and management was 4.8 on a 1–5 scale, indicating very high confidence. 100% of respondents agreed with the statement “I have confidence in the leaders at our organization.”
Staff engagement and satisfaction
New Roots Institute has 24 staff members (including full-time staff, part-time staff, and contractors). Eighteen staff members responded to our engagement survey, yielding a response rate of 75%.
New Roots Institute has a formal compensation plan to determine staff salaries. Survey respondents’ average score to questions regarding satisfaction with wage and benefits was 3.8 on a 1–5 scale, indicating high satisfaction.
The average score across all questions was 4.6 on a 1–5 scale, suggesting that, on average, staff exhibit very high engagement and satisfaction.
Harassment and discrimination
We did not receive any reports of harassment or discrimination at New Roots Institute.
Our Assessment of New Roots Institute’s Organizational Health
We did not detect any concerns in New Roots Institute’s leadership and organizational culture. Based on our assessment, they appear to have strong policies and processes in place and high levels of staff engagement. We also positively noted their commitment to fostering a culture of open and direct communication, including encouraging constructive staff feedback on the organization’s leadership.
New Roots Institute’s work to increase knowledge and skills for animal advocacy is highly promising because it focuses on animal groups, countries, and interventions that we consider high priority. Their education work to help farmed animals in the United States seems to be particularly likely to be impactful. We assess New Roots Institute’s recent work as highly cost-effective and believe they are in a strong position to use additional funding. These efforts are well-aligned with ACE’s organizational values and theory of change.
New Roots Institute performed very strongly compared to other charities we evaluated. During the decision-making phase of our evaluation process, we took into account their performance on our four evaluation criteria—Impact Potential (high), Cost Effectiveness (high), Room for More Funding across 2024 and 2025 ($900,000), and Organizational Health (no major concerns)—as well as our level of uncertainty in their scores. In this particular case, our uncertainty in New Roots Institute’s Cost Effectiveness score was higher than our uncertainty in their Impact Potential score, so we put more emphasis on the latter when making recommendation decisions. Overall, we find New Roots Institute to be an excellent giving opportunity for those looking to create the most positive change for animals.
To view all of the sources cited in this review, see the reference list.
This criterion was called Programs from 2020 to 2022. We decided to rename it Impact Potential to better reflect its focus on assessing the effectiveness of charities’ programs without considering their implementation. This name is more specific and less confusing internally, especially since we recently changed the name of our research team to the Programs team.
Rethink Priorities adjusted their welfare range estimates for use in ACE’s evaluations. Because ACE compares animal charities with each other rather than with human charities, Rethink Priorities reindexed the ranges to pigs instead of humans—see this page for more information.
The framework we used to prioritize countries only applies to farmed animal advocacy. We have not developed a framework to prioritize wild animal welfare work because there are very few organizations that work on wild animal welfare, and those we have considered so far are focused on indirect work such as research and academic development, which is less country-specific.
For example, when scoring the intervention category “apps and other digital resources,” we considered the following tractability proxies: the Global Innovation Index, Education (mean years of schooling), and Internet Penetration rate.
We asked that reported achievements and associated expenditures amount to at least 90% of a charity’s total program expenditures during the reporting period. We also adjusted achievement expenditures by taking the charity’s reported expenditures and adding a portion of their non-programmatic expenditures (i.e., overhead or administration). This process allowed us to incorporate general organizational running costs into our consideration of cost effectiveness.
For more information about Weighted Factor Models, see Charity Entrepreneurship (2019).
We standardized this unit to achievements per one U.S. dollar or per $100,000, depending on which was easier to interpret, to allow for comparison across achievements. For example, we calculated how many individuals a social media campaign reached per dollar spent or how many legal actions a charity filed per $100,000 spent. For some intervention categories, the number of achievements was too low to normalize the achievement quantity. In these cases, we used the average of two researchers’ subjective assessment of the quantity on a 1–7 scale.
See here for the full rubric. Two researchers scored each achievement on the rubric, and discussed significant disagreements before a second round of revising scores. We averaged the two researchers’ scores for each factor. Where we did not have enough information to score an achievement, we set the corresponding factor weight to zero.
We defaulted to giving achievement quality 75% and achievement quantity 25% weight. In some cases, e.g., if we were particularly uncertain about the achievement quantity, we gave achievement quality a higher weight.
By using a multiplicative method, we avoid giving high scores to achievements that implement promising interventions poorly (i.e., high intervention score but low implementation score). Consider the example where a charity focuses on an intervention like cage-free campaigns, which has the potential to be highly impactful, but fails to achieve any significant commitments. With a weighted average approach, the charity would still receive a relatively high score despite an unsuccessful implementation of their campaigns. However, by using a multiplicative method, the overall score accounts for the interaction between intervention and implementation scores. This means that if the implementation quality is lacking, the overall score will appropriately reflect that.
We encouraged charities to give as much information as possible about each achievement. In order to protect their capacity, we also marked some questions as optional. Where we did not have the relevant information to score an achievement on a factor in the scoring rubric, this increased our uncertainty score for that achievement.
We increased the uncertainty score for charities that reported fewer than 10 achievements to account for the fact that measurement errors and uncertainties have a higher impact on the final score when fewer achievements are averaged.
For interested readers, we compiled a list of existing quantified cost-effectiveness estimates for animal advocacy interventions here. You can find our summaries of existing empirical research on the impact potential of interventions here.
For more information about Weighted Factor Models, see Charity Entrepreneurship (2019).
We adjusted the achievement expenditures charities reported to us by adding a portion of their overhead costs, weighted by the relative achievement expenditures, in order to take general organizational running costs into account in our cost-effectiveness assessment.
To calculate the achievement score, we multiplied the intervention score by the implementation score. We then min-max normalized those scores against all other achievement scores across charities and converted the result to a 1–7 scale.
This criterion was called Leadership and Culture from 2020 to 2022. We found that ‘leadership’ was often misunderstood as referring solely to the qualities of individual leaders and that ‘culture’ was understood in very different ways across countries and demographics. With the new name Organizational Health, we intend to highlight the broad focus of this criterion and to clarify that its goal is to identify any significant risks to the organization’s effectiveness and stability.
For example, in a study by Anderson (2020), 49% of paid animal advocates and 28% of unpaid animal advocates reported having experienced discrimination or harassment. Advocates who were members of a minoritized group (i.e., people of color, people with disabilities, and LGBTQ+ people) were significantly more likely to leave the movement as a result of discrimination than non-minoritized advocates.
Examples of such social 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.
ACE defines “harassment” as bullying, intimidation, and other behavior (whether physical, verbal, or nonverbal) that has the effect of upsetting, demeaning, humiliating, intimidating, or threatening an individual. Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.
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).
Charity Navigator defines transparency as “an obligation or willingness by a charity to publish and make available critical data about the organization.”
BoardSource (2016), p. 4
For example, see Mitchell et al. (2001).
The publicly accessible version of this form can be found via ACE’s Third-Party Whistleblower Policy on our website.