The process by which a charity or intervention creates change for animals can be complicated and difficult to understand. To communicate our assumptions about how change occurs, we use theory of change diagrams. It is important to note that these diagrams are not necessarily 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.
When we evaluate a charity, we consider the extent to which their work contributes to the following outcomes:
- Decreased consumption of animal products
- Improvement of welfare standards
- Increased availability of animal-free products
- Increased prevalence of anti-speciesist values
- Stronger animal advocacy movement
- Direct help
The items on our menu of outcomes are not entirely discrete (in other words, they may overlap to some extent), nor are they all-encompassing. Many interventions may produce more than one type of outcome, and some may produce outcomes that aren’t captured by the categories on our menu. Nevertheless, we have found these categories useful for conceptualizing the primary avenues by which charities and interventions create change for animals.
Theory of Change Diagrams for Charities
Our charity reviews include theory of change diagrams to represent the avenues by which we believe each charity creates change for animals. Our theory of change diagrams for charities represent the effects of multiple interventions employed by a single charity. For the sake of simplicity, we do not necessarily include arrows to represent every possible effect of every intervention. Rather, we include arrows to represent what we consider to be the largest or most important effect(s) of each intervention.
Here is an example of a theory of change diagram for a charity:
|Black arrows represent positive change for animals.|
|Darker blue circles indicate the types of outcomes that we believe are more direct in their impact for animals.|
|Lighter blue circles indicate the types of outcomes that we believe are less direct in their impact for animals.|