In our final blog of 2016, we summarize the findings we’ve reported over the past five months based on feedback from VegFund’s dedicated grantees. This summary consolidates information we gathered from an online survey and from focus groups we held during 2016. These findings will guide VegFund in 2017 as we enhance and diversify the resources we offer to our grantees.
From our survey, we gathered a general profile of VegFund grantees, including:
- their occupations
- the types of outreach they’re involved in
- audiences they reach
- their current levels of activist skills
- resources they’d like to see from VegFund
The areas that we investigated relating to our grantee’s outreach work included:
- aspects of vegan outreach that are of particular interest to VegFund grantees
- barriers they face in their outreach activities
- areas where they could use more support
- level of comfort with event planning and preparation
- how they evaluate the effectiveness of their outreach
You can read full details here.
So what did we learn?
Selecting the ideal venue for your outreach event:
- Campus activists have easy access to free venues, but other activists find it more challenging to locate low-cost venues.
- Having some level of personal involvement with groups and institutions is a significant advantage when it comes to accessing certain types of venues (such as churches and cinemas).
- Leafleting is free and permitted in most public places, but the impact of this form of outreach is difficult to measure.
- Weather conditions, volume of pedestrian traffic, and volunteer availability are all important factors to consider when selecting an event venue.
Evaluating the impact of your outreach activity:
In response to the question “Do you currently conduct any type of evaluation with your audiences to determine your success?,” our findings suggested that less than 50% of VegFund grantees use event evaluation to gauge the effectiveness of their outreach. Activists who are not currently evaluating their activities do have an interest in beginning to. The following information that we gathered may be a helpful start in assessing the impact of your outreach:
Many of our grantees who do evaluate their outreach take a two-step approach to evaluating their efforts:
- quantifying outreach
- gathering anecdotal information on quality
Grantees typically use the following information for assessment:
- consumption of materials: numbers of leaflets distributed, numbers of food samples handed out, types of short videos and documentaries watched, discussion attendance
- direct feedback: response on social media, attendee comments, signups (email/pledges)
What are the barriers in your outreach efforts?
When we asked “What would encourage you to reach out to new audiences in your activism?”, a majority of activists reported:
- more time
- more financial support
- more volunteer support
Activists also reported a need to enhance their activism skills — from expanding their presentation abilities to learning how to produce effective outreach content and materials on a budget.
Our grantees note an “above average” confidence in event organization, food preparation, and one-on-one conversations, but a large percentage of grantees felt a lack of skill (below average) in using technology in their outreach and producing materials and content (for example, writing, marketing, videography, graphic design).
What resources do you need to support your outreach efforts?
We asked our grantees what specific skills they feel would be most useful to them in interacting with the public, organizing events, and production/preparation of materials. They noted the following areas where they feel they could use more training or knowledge:
- assistance with tailoring messages and approaching the general public
- coordination and leadership support
- training in media use/production
- training in food preparation
- tips on burnout
We also investigated what mechanisms are of interest to activists to receive this support. The top suggestions were:
- opportunities for collaboration and exchange information and ideas, such as an online forum
- an online portal or library: templates of documents such as publicity flyers, informational brochures, ads; organizational resources; lessons learned and best practices
- training/workshops on effective activism
Thanks to all our grantees who took part in the online survey and focus groups. Your information is helping us shape the future of VegFund! We look forward to bolstering our support in 2017 based on the information you so generously provided. Keep an eye out for more to come!
You can also help support our vegan activists by making a year-end tax-deductible donation to VegFund.