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.
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).
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!