Four Ways Research Can Help Animal Advocates
We sometimes hear from animal advocates who are concerned that spending time and money on research would waste resources, or that it wouldn’t tell them anything new. In some cases, they’re right — but most of the time we at Faunalytics find that advocates just don’t understand what research can do for them. Of course, we are a provider of research services, so we may be considered biased. But, as a nonprofit group formed by animal advocates, our goal is to use these tools to boost other advocates by helping them improve and evaluate their efforts.
Whether you hire an outside consultant or conduct your own research in-house, chances are that your project will benefit from the information. In a nutshell, here are four good reasons to conduct research for your next animal advocacy campaign or program:
- You are not your own target audience. Animal advocates are different from “normal” people, and this is crucial when communicating with non-advocates (i.e., your target audience). Don’t assume you know what they’re thinking or how they’ll react; all campaigns could benefit from a little research. As a leading nonprofit consultancy (Fenton Communications) says: “Go with what is most effective in reaching your key audience, not what most appeals to those within your organization”.
- Your supporters will appreciate it. Before giving you a grant, many foundations want to know that you are applying solid methods to plan and evaluate your programs. Well-planned research will help your proposal stand out from the crowd. For individual regular supporters, too, you can show them how you’re making the most of their donations by using research to assess your programs at key stages and improve your methods.
- To know if you’re having an impact. Have you ever had a nagging question about the real impact of one of your programs or campaigns in terms of the time and money you’ve put into it? Or have you ever wondered about society’s progress toward an ideal situation for animals, whatever that may be for your issue? There’s a variety of research methods available to you to answer these concerns.
- It doesn’t have to cost a paw and a leg. Even a small amount of research can provide a lot of insight, especially when you know very little about your target audience. There are many kinds of do-it-yourself research, and organizations like Faunalytics offer discounted services to nonprofit animal advocacy groups. Faunalytics also makes available a wide range of free resources, exclusively for animal advocates, through this website.