Measuring Vegan Outreach
The Possible Metrics
A member writes:
This is probably impossible to measure, but do you have any kind of metric for responsiveness?
As a guy who is crazy about data, I, too, would love to have a number to trot out to leafleters and donors. But you are right that it is pretty much impossible to measure the effectiveness of AAC in any justifiable way. To do so in a proper way would involve a longitudinal study following people who receive booklets – and following enough people in diverse enough areas for long enough to get statistically significant results.
Obviously, this isn’t something we can do.
For a while, we had an estimate of net conversion rates on the AAC website ("net" meaning we were trying to capture people who cut down on eating animals, in addition to people who went vegetarian after getting a booklet (or two, or three)). But there were no long-term, large-number surveys to prove this number, so we took it down.
Several years ago, Brian, Jon, Anne and I discussed trying to get a slightly better estimate by trying to connect conversion ratios to those who go online and request a Guide to Cruelty-Free Eating (VO gets hundreds of requests online every week). When they came across people who told them they changed their diet previously from a booklet, Jon and Brian asked them if they requested a Guide. Then, based on the number of requests we get for Guides from schools, we could come up with a new guestimate (still pretty indefensible, given the huge assumptions behind it).
The problem was that, of all the people Jon and Brian asked, not one had requested a Guide. Not one. We would obviously need quite a few to have any guess as to even the order of magnitude of the ratio of change to requests.
As we try to indicate in the Enewsletter every week, leafleters receive enough positive feedback to encourage them to continue. But more than that are the various surveys that indicate significant change on college campuses, such as the Bon Appétit survey discussed here (which matches with the Aramark surveys, etc.).
Jack points out, these changes don't just happen – veganism doesn't spread itself. These changes are the result of our focused advocacy.
The bottom line is that we do this work because our years of experience (as discussed in our history) has shown these efforts to have the maximum impact, in terms of reducing suffering in the world. We also believe it is the work that is necessary to create a truly different world.
Thanks again for your support!