Assessing Performance of Animal Welfare Organizations to Improve Philanthropic Decision-Making
This Master’s thesis submitted in 2007 provides a framework (PREP) based on philosophy, red flags, efficiencies and people, which is recommended for use in evaluating animal welfare organizations prior to making contributions.
This thesis was conducted with the goal of finding the best method of evaluating animal welfare organizations to improve the philanthropic decision-making process.
24 Canadian and American animal welfare organizations (AWOs) and foundations were surveyed and provided feedback for this evaluation.
The author examined the use of outcome analysis in identifying goals that all AWOs should strive to achieve. The only true common goal identified was a change in public opinion or behavior, thus demonstrating that outcome-based assessments of organizations would be difficult in most cases.
Comparative analysis was another mechanism reviewed and it was concluded that although some standardized common criteria could be identified, the actual benchmark values would depend on the specifics of the organization and its activities. Quantitative standards (goal setting benchmarks) are typically used to evalute other non-profits, but in the animal welfare sector, the diversity of the organization requires the use of norms or ranges instead to identify anomolies in the field. After analyzing the research, the author recommends a framework, PREP, for the evaluation of AWOs based upon a detailed analysis of the following four factors:
- Philosophy. This represents the organizations beliefs and values as reflected in its mandate, policies, practices and position statements.
- Red Flags. These are indicators of poor performance within the organization including such items as employee turnover, financial performance, and lack of peer cooperation.
- Efficiency. These are indicators of the financial and operational conduct of the organization, which include analysis of items such as budget, sustainability, financial statements, etc.
- People. This is an analysis of the human resources of an organization, including management experience and training, peers, donors, and volunteers.
Although these are the basic four elements to examine, the full report discusses examples of specific items that could be reviewed as part of each major element.