Faunalytics’ 2020 Year In Review
2020 has been a truly remarkable year. In spite of everything that’s happened, there’s still so much to celebrate. Plant-based sales rose, shelters saw an increase in adoption and foster rates, and wild animals had an opportunity to thrive. Vietnam banned wildlife trade and China reclassified dogs as pets, not livestock. Ag-Gag laws were struck down in two more U.S. states and Denver repealed a decades-old ban on pit bulls. Thanks to advocates’ tireless work, more and more companies are going cage-free. And although we experienced setbacks too, it’s important to recognize and celebrate the victories.
Faunalytics has been a part of the animal protection community since 2000, with our research serving as a map that illuminates the clearest path to victory for advocates. We’ve accomplished so much in the last twenty years and this year was no different: we completed seven research projects, began work on five more, added 200 new studies and more than 50 blogs to our Research Library, and produced new Fundamentals and educational resources. We also welcomed new team members, developed an exciting strategic plan, and updated our Prioritization Process to maximize our impact through 2021 and beyond.
A growing number of advocates are turning to data, and research is in the spotlight like never before. This year our work was featured or mentioned in the New York Times, Sentient Media, One Green Planet, Our Hen House, VegNews, Vegconomist, Reader’s Digest, the ASA Animals and Society podcast, Defender Radio, Vegan World Radio, and more! Read on to find out what’s got everyone talking, including what we accomplished in 2020 and a sneak peek of what we have planned for 2021!
Original Research to Support Animal Protection
Faunalytics’ original studies provide actionable and insightful data to improve animal advocacy. This year, led by our experienced researcher director Jo, we produced seven major research projects.
Animal Advocacy Research Library
Our online Research Library houses over 4,300 animal-related study summaries as well as an array of visual resources, including our data-driven Faunalytics Fundamentals infographics and Faunalytics Explains video series. Our talented Content Director Karol spearheads the creation and curation of these resources.
Direct Support of Animal Advocates
As a capacity-building research organization, our goal is to make research accessible and understandable to all advocates, not just academics. This year our team provided personalized, one-on-one support to over five dozen advocates and organizations directly through our office hours. We offer assistance and guidance on research design, strategy, and data-driven advocacy.
This year we introduced our live study Q&A sessions following the release of select research projects. By engaging with our audience in a personal and interactive way, we hope that advocates will be better positioned to apply our research findings directly to their work. Furthermore, our research director Jo now co-leads RECAP (Research to End the Consumption of Animal Products), a group whose purpose is to facilitate collaboration among researchers in animal advocacy.
The Impact of Your Support
Nonprofits evaluate impact in countless ways. Performance indicators like lives saved or animals adopted are straightforward enough, but what if your work is indirect? Since the impact of our services is indirect, impact measurement is a little more challenging. We’ve created a detailed overview of our measurement and evaluation process, and below are a few examples that outline or illustrate the ripple effect of our work.
Our Commitment to an Equitable Movement
This year also brought an extraordinary racial justice awakening throughout the U.S. and the world. Major corporations and small nonprofits alike made commitments to take diversity, equity, and inclusion seriously, including animal protection organizations. Indeed, animal advocacy has the potential to be so much more effective when we include more voices at the table and consider how our efforts connect with other social justice movements. I had the opportunity to attend Encompass’ inaugural DEI Institute, which provided training and resources to help us analyze and act on our own opportunities for improvement.
For starters our team transformed our SMART goals into SMARTIE goals, reviewed and updated our policies, and began making a stronger effort to circulate research that addresses fundamental inequalities within animal protection. We’ve increased our coverage of underrepresented advocates, highlighting studies about the experiences of vegans of color, cultural barriers to veganism, and the experiences of vegan women over 50. We’ve also continued to cover global animal advocacy, summarizing studies from Brazil, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, and an important study on how people in Asian countries feel about wet markets. This is part of an ongoing effort to ensure the topics we cover reflect the perspectives and priorities of all advocates.
The Team Behind the Data
We’re a small but mighty team here at Faunalytics, and this year we welcomed two new board members, a new staff member, and a research practicum student! We’re pleased to share that Sarah Hanneken, Legal Advocacy Counsel at Animal Equality, and Steve Schuster, CEO of Rainier Communications, now add to the wealth of experience our Board of Directors brings to Faunalytics.
Earlier this year Casey Riordan joined our team as our new Communications and Development Manager. With degrees in Animal Studies and Social Psychology and years of experience in public relations, Casey oversees our advocate relationships, increasing our impact by bridging our work to the animal protection community. You can meet the rest of the Faunalysts by checking out our team page or 20 Fun Facts about Faunalytics video!
We are also fortunate to have the support of dozens of dedicated volunteers, who write and edit articles in our research library and contribute to a variety of special projects. Don’t miss our 2020 practicum student Joy McLeod’s detailed analysis of how advocates got their start in animal advocacy, just one example of the many volunteer contributions to our work this year.
Looking Back, Charging Forward
While we celebrate the important work we’ve accomplished this year, we’ve already begun laying the groundwork for 2021 and we can’t wait for the year ahead. Through our original research program, we’ll investigate the relative effectiveness of different approaches to advocacy, cultural barriers and supports to advocacy in China, Twitter trends in animal protection, and we’ll carry on our line of research to reduce the suffering of chickens and fish. Later in the year we’ll also set our new research agenda! Learn how we choose our study topics (and how you can participate in the process) here.
We’ll also continue to bring you the important resources that you count on: new studies and blog posts added to our library five times a week, new Fundamentals, and new Faunalytics Explains videos. Our office hours will remain open so that we can provide one-on-one advice to advocates with questions on anything from survey design to the latest statistics. With your support, we’ll grow our research team and bring you even more data and analyses to apply to your advocacy. Stay tuned for next week’s blog to learn what we have in store for 2021!
Our mission is only possible with your support. As a nonprofit organization we rely on your contributions to produce the important research and resources that the animal protection movement relies on. Give with confidence knowing that Faunalytics has been named a Standout Charity by Animal Charity Evaluators and has been awarded a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar. With an exciting and growing number of advocates and organizations turning to data-driven strategies, we’re asking you to help Faunalytics soar into 2021.
Thank you so much for supporting effective animal advocacy. We’ve built incredible momentum and we look forward to all we will accomplish for the animals together in the year ahead. Happy Holidays from the Faunalytics family to yours!