Highlights of ACE's 2016 Research Plans

In this post we’ll share some highlights of our research plans for 2016 beyond our annual charity evaluations. We also expect our Advocacy Research Program Officer to develop plans for that program which will be implemented in parallel to the plans described here.


gantt chart

We’re planning a variety of unglamorous administrative tasks and projects that will support our general research program. Most of this work will be internal or unannounced, such as orienting new hires and maintaining existing pages so their content stays relevant. For example, we’ll be keeping up with ACE’s new system of soliciting volunteers for specific projects, as well as continuing recruitment for our internship program. We’re also looking forward to updating our page about the amount of donations that go to various animal causes with more recent data.


We call research work “foundational” when it primarily affects our thinking about more than one charity or intervention. We have two ongoing projects in this area which we expect to consider throughout 2016.

First, we plan to continue having interns write case studies for our social movements project, and we’ll be doing some long-term planning regarding which case studies to do and how to integrate their results. We also expect to have enough staff time this year to have staff conduct one or two case studies for this project.

Second, we’ll continue working on our foundational questions blog series, and if we find some of those questions need more time than we can give them in a blog post, we’ll write more detailed reports on them.


We plan to publish four intervention reports in 2016, starting with a report on undercover investigations that was mostly completed last year. That report will be followed by a report on legal work in animal advocacy and an updated report on online ads.

The report on legal work will likely focus primarily on humane reform because there are many past examples in that area to learn from; while we’re also interested in better understanding rights work like the Nonhuman Rights Project is doing, we think for right now much of what we can learn about that is through historical examples such as those considered in our social movements project, which means we would do better to study it after making more progress on understanding past social movements.

Our online ads report will update that section of our site to be more similar to other recent intervention reports, while also taking into account a new study on Facebook ads that we expect Mercy For Animals to release early in 2016. Finally, we plan to select a fourth intervention to investigate later in the year, after we know more about the studies our Advocacy Research Program Officer will be supervising.


During the early part of the year, we’re revisiting our charity recommendation criteria and methodology to identify potential improvements. In particular, we’re looking for ways to make sure our process efficiently identifies the best giving opportunities, and to improve our communication with charities and potential donors so that our reviews are useful to everyone involved. Later in the year, we’ll conduct our annual charity evaluations to identify new promising giving opportunities and to update reviews of some charities we’ve already considered.

You can learn more about ACE’s plans for 2016 in all areas, including research, by viewing our Gantt chart for 2016. You can also let us know in the comments if there are specific projects you have questions about or are especially excited to see.

Allison Smith

Director of Research at Animal Charity Evaluators
Allison brings to ACE a focus on communicating effectively about technical and quantitative subjects. She joined the ACE team in August 2013 and is currently ACE's Director of Research.

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1 Comment

  1. Mac February 17, 2016 5:20 am  Reply

    I am especially excited to see the wild animal research. As ACE is well aware, the suffering of wild animals is immense (likely more than that of farm animals) and neglected.

    Unfortunately, the problem appears incredibly difficult to solve. But I firmly believe it is solvable, and the stakes are so enormous that I am glad to donate to ACE's capable team to work on it.

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