Faunalytics’ Plans & Priorities For 2021
2020 has been a year that none of us will soon forget, and for Faunalytics, it’s been a year of unprecedented growth and productivity. It feels strange to say in a year that brought so much tumult and uncertainty, but our team was lucky enough to be able to stay on track and focused on our mission and goals throughout the year. You can check out a recap of our 2020 accomplishments in Brooke’s Year In Review blog. Below we outline our plans for the coming year, building on the incredible momentum we’ve generated in recent years.
Original Research Plans
The research topics we’re working on were chosen for their high potential impact for animals and the animal protection movement. Our plans include work to support new vegans, assess advocacy strategies, and advance farmed animal protection around the world. We’ll also start prioritizing new research topics in 2021! Read on for more details.
Longitudinal Veg Study Redux: Back in 2014, our study of current and former vegetarians and vegans (veg*ns) made waves across the animal movement and beyond. Specifically, our study found that veg retention was a problem, and that former veg*ns far outnumbered the current ones. We’ve been conducting a longitudinal study looking at how new veg*ns transition to and maintain their new diets in the crucial early months. It’s an exciting and results-focused study, looking at which habits, tools, and resources help people stick with the diet over time, so that advocacy groups can target their messages effectively and retain as many as possible. There is so much great information to cover that we plan to produce multiple reports from the study in 2021!
Thank you to the Animal Advocacy Research Fund and VegFund for their support of this study.
The State Of Animal Advocacy In China: When considering animal suffering from a global perspective, it is clear that current resources are disproportionately allocated to Western countries, yet production and consumption are on the rise elsewhere. The majority of farmed animals live and suffer in low- and middle-income countries. In partnership and consultation with local animal advocacy groups, we’re conducting foundational research in China. The goal is to learn about the barriers and supports for specific advocacy methods before testing them experimentally. We’ll publish this report in two phases—the first part will include our findings from interviews with advocates in China, and the second will include our findings from the Chinese public.
Thank you to the Centre for Effective Altruism, the Culture and Animals Foundation, ProVeg International, and a private donor for their support of this research.
Ongoing Research To Reduce Chicken & Fish Suffering: In 2020, we began an important line of research aimed at making a difference for animals who are killed in the greatest numbers for food, namely chickens and fish. The first study in this line of research is now published and provides key information about how members of the U.S. public see these animals, as well as how those beliefs are related to their meat consumption behavior.In 2021, we’re taking the study international, using the same methodology to investigate beliefs and behavior in China, India, Brazil, and Canada. We will then begin experimental research to uncover how advocates can capitalize on positive beliefs about these animals, and overcome negative ones.
Thank you to the Blue Hills Fund and the Centre for Effective Altruism for their support of this research.
Relative Effectiveness Of Different Approaches To Advocacy: There are many different approaches to advocacy in the movement, and it’s both important and difficult to test their relative impact on public attitudes and behavior. In this study, we’ll examine attitudes toward advocacy issues and pro-animal behaviors, then ask about which types of advocacy people have been previously exposed to (e.g., seeing graphic material with and without consent, receiving a leaflet, etc.).We’ll also measure participants’ current reactions to the same range of advocacy strategies. This will provide information about the strategies’ immediate impact as well. Overall, this research will provide valuable information to guide independent advocates, new groups, and prospective funders about which types of advocacy can make the most impact.
Thank you to the Greenbaum Foundation for their support of this study.
Prioritization Process: In 2021, Faunalytics will undertake our second-ever formal research prioritization and selection process, bringing in lessons learned from our 2019 process. Our goal is to help as many animals as we can by focusing on research questions with the greatest direct impact for animals or indirect impact via capacity-building in the animal advocacy movement. In 2021, we’ll start the process by requesting input from advocates who work on a wide range of animal causes. Please contact us if you’d like to be included in the process!
Research Library & Visual Resources
Meanwhile, our flagship Research Library will continue on a steady course, with new resources added daily. Our library is home to our vast collection of study summaries, as well as our visual resources full of accessible data and insights for animal advocates. In 2021 we’ll bring you at least 250 study summaries and blog posts to fuel your advocacy.
We’ll also continue to produce new Library related resources, such as our Fundamentals series (stay tuned for our next edition on Marine Life), our Faunalytics Explains videos, Fact Sheets, and more. Additionally, we’ll begin to offer research advice in new formats, like a downloadable presentation about effective survey design and bite-sized Research 101 videos on our Youtube channel.
Thank you to the Frankenberg Foundation, Park Foundation, and LUSH for their support of our Research Library, and to the Joanna Toole Foundation for their support of our upcoming Marine Life Fundamental.
Capacity-Building For The Movement
As we focus our time and energy on our ambitious research plans, we will also continue to ramp up our direct capacity-building support to animal advocates. With our pro bono office hours and email support, we provide personalized one-on-one support to help other advocates be effective. The office hours program has grown substantially since its inception, from about 30 organizations and individual advocates helped in 2019 to almost three times as many in 2020. With as little as 30 minutes of support helping organizations measure their impact more effectively or find the best data to use in decision-making, we are proud of this particularly cost-effective way to support the movement.
In all of our research and capacity-building resources above, we’re striving to improve our support to underrepresented and marginalized communities and continue to educate ourselves about what we can do better. One improvement we are making in this area is to prioritize research feedback from underrepresented advocates to ensure that we make research design decisions that support the entire community. We will also be explicitly considering how each of our 2021 research projects can better address underrepresented advocates’ needs.
Thank you to Mobius Philanthropy and the Quinn Foundation for their support of our work.
Maximizing Our Impact
As we work on these programs, we’ll also ramp up our outreach to advocates and the mainstream media — our theory of change is all about building capacity, and we increase our own impact by getting research and data in front of as many eyes as possible.
To better understand just how much of an impact we’re making, we’ll continue to refine the impact evaluation efforts we’ve engaged in over the past six months, including putting new measures into place. (Learn more about how we evaluate our effectiveness and how we’re improving here.) Once we have enough data, we’ll compile it in a dashboard that will be part of our brand new Impact Center.
Welcoming New Faunalysts
Finally, we’re excited to note that we’ll be hiring a new Research Scientist in early 2021. Faunalytics’ Research Scientists play an integral role in our small team by publishing original research studies and supporting animal advocates via our direct support services. If you or anyone you know is interested in joining our team, check out the full job ad here.
We also plan to invite 1-2 new members to join our dedicated Board of Directors! We hope to bring on new members whose skills and experiences add to the wealth of knowledge our board brings to Faunalytics.
Room for More Funding
We need your support to keep our momentum going! Here are a few ways Faunalytics can achieve even more for animals and advocates:
Programs You Can Sponsor
- Original Research studies
- Research Library summaries
- Office Hour sessions with advocates
- Fundamentals and other visual resources
Outreach You Can Support
- Research Study Q&As with advocates
- Data-driven presentations on effective advocacy
- Marketing efforts and infrastructure to expand our reach
Unrestricted Giving to Help us Grow
When you give a gift that isn’t directed toward a specific program or type of outreach, we will put it where we need it most. We love the personal feel of our small team, but hiring more staff is one of the key ways we could increase our capacity. For instance, we might use your unrestricted gift for:
- Research Scientists: Expanding our small-but-mighty research team will allow Faunalytics to increase our output and help advocates identify the most effective messages and strategies to ending animal suffering, faster.
- Research Interns: Internships not only support our important work, but help build capacity for the entire movement by training and mentoring new advocates.
- Development/Administrative Assistant: In 2020 Faunalytics was thrilled to hire our first Communications and Development Manager; however, this position could easily be two full-time positions! An Assistant would allow our Communications and Development Manager to focus more on advocate outreach, ultimately increasing our impact.
Thank You For Being Here For Us
It’s been a difficult year for everyone, but if the pandemic has one silver lining, it might be the support we’ve seen advocates offering to one another. Thank you for being here for us in 2020, with your donations, shares, volunteerism, and messages of support.
We ask that you continue to look out for one another in 2021, let us support you when we can, and help us continue to spread our message of effective advocacy for animals. If you’re in a position to donate to support our work, please do so — secure in the knowledge that a dollar to us goes back into the hands of animal advocates in the form of the research and data they need.
If you don’t have that dollar to spare, the best thing you can do for us is to put the work we do to good use. You can find us on social media or right here on our site, but if I have a single ask for you, it’s this: make sure your friends and colleagues know about the resources we offer. The biggest difference you can make is spreading the word.
We are here for you. Thank you for being here for us.