Evaluating the Impact of Your Outreach Activity

Findings from a VegFund Dialogue with its Current and Past Activists (Part 3 of 6)

This month, we’re sharing our grantee’s feedback on how they evaluate the effectiveness of their outreach activities. We hope this information offers you some helpful advice and resources for improving your future outreach activities.

Activists all too often overlook the valuable exercise of evaluating the effectiveness of their work. Making sure that we, as activists, maximize the impact of our outreach efforts is as important as hosting our next event if we are to move closer to our goal — improving the world for animals.

Caryn Ginsberg examines the importance of assessing our effectiveness when carrying out outreach activities in her article Are You Getting the Results You Deserve — a worthwhile read. Ginsberg has also written a book, Animal Impact: Secrets Proven to Achieve Results and Move the World — a great tool for understanding and improving the effectiveness of our advocacy work.

Our Findings

In our online survey, we asked grantees the question: “Do you currently conduct any type of evaluation with your audiences to determine your success?” Our findings suggest that less than 50% of VegFund grantees are currently using some form of event evaluation to gauge the effectiveness of their outreach activities (Figure 1).

Picture1Picture2

Grantees who DO currently evaluate their outreach use the following information to assess their efforts:

  •  Consumption of materials: leaflets distributed, food samples consumed, videos watched, discussion attendance
  • Direct feedback: response on social media, attendee comments, signups (email/pledges)

More than 75% of VegFund grantees who responded to our survey do not currently use an evaluation process but indicated an interest in doing so.

Many of our grantees take a two-step approach to evaluating their efforts:

  •  Quantifying outreach
  • Gathering anecdotal information on quality

Few, however, think of event evaluation in terms of systematically assessing activities and applying the results as a means of increasing outreach effectiveness. VegFund is working to create more awareness of the importance of outreach evaluation and develop tools to help activists assess their efforts. Learning what works — and to what degree — and what doesn’t will help the movement as a whole move closer to the ultimate goal of quantifying how many people actually become vegan or reduce their consumption of animal-derived food as a direct result of outreach efforts.

Useful Online Resources

Valuable free resources are available online from various organizations on this topic. Vegan Outreach offers helpful advice on effective outreach, including tips on constructive outreach and suggestions for tabling. The Effective Animal Advocacy Research Library also has interesting research on this topic.

Join us next month when we share feedback from grantees on the barriers they face in their outreach efforts.

Send us your thoughts on and experiences of event evaluation. We’d love to hear from you!

 

 

 

Selecting the Ideal Venue for your Outreach Event

Findings from a VegFund Dialogue with its Current and Past Activists (Part 2 of 6)

This month, we’re sharing our grantee’s feedback on the criteria they use when selecting a venue for their vegan outreach events. We hope this information offers you some helpful tips for finding the best location for your outreach event.

Our grantees select a variety of venues for their outreach — college campuses, schools, churches, theaters, vegfests, health fairs, sporting events, and many others. The grantees who responded to our survey conducted different types of outreach, including food sampling, pay-per-view video booths, vegfests, and documentary film screenings.

Each type of outreach, of course, has special location considerations relative to the nature of the event, but the responses to our survey reflect the top-level factors activists consider in their venue choices. In our online survey, we asked the question, “What criteria do you use to decide where to conduct an event?” A summary of the survey responses is shown in Figure 1.

unnamed (1)

Figure 1

Our grantees highlighted other valuable criteria to consider when hosting an event based on their experiences: The most important criterion for the activists surveyed is selecting a venue that attracts a high number of passersby. The second most important factor is hosting events in non-veg-focused settings — for example, health fairs or music festivals. We were delighted to see the weight activists place on these factors because they are essential in conveying our message to new audiences. Selecting venues that don’t require licences, permits, or fees also rated high in importance to our grantees. Strategizing to get the most impact for your dollar is always an important consideration.

  • Campus activists have easy access to free venues, but other activists may find it more challenging to locate low-cost venues.
  • Access to some types of venues, such as churches/religious facilities or public schools, is easier to obtain if you or your group has some personal involvement with the group or institution.
  • Leafleting can be done in most public places for free, but the impact can be hard to measure.
  • Weather conditions (for outdoor events), volume of pedestrian traffic, and volunteer availability are all important factors to consider when selecting an event venue.

Keep these factors in mind when researching the best location for your event.

Speak Out For Species, University of Georgia - Gene Baur Book Launch Talk and Food Sampling Event 2015

Speak Out For Species, University of Georgia:
Gene Baur Book Launch Talk & Vegan Food Sampling Event

VegFund provides a number of online resources to assist in answering activist’s questions relating to their outreach events, including a list of recommended educational literature, FAQ on documentary film screenings and screenings checklist, and food safety guidelines and food sampling checklist. These resources should help to make the event planning process that little bit simpler, offering useful tips and advice along the way! Join us next month when we share our findings on how activists evaluate the effectiveness of their outreach activities.

Send us your thoughts and experiences as a vegan activist.

We’d love to hear from you!