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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Assessing performance of animal welfare organizations to improve philanthropic decision-making McConnachie, Leanne Katherine


In 2005-06, 24 Canadian and American animal welfare organizations (AWOs) and foundations participated in an in-depth qualitative study to establish which performance criteria best determine the effectiveness of AWOs. Participants' comments resulted in the development of a framework that offers individual donors and foundations a consistent approach to evaluating organizational performance. Termed the PREP Framework, this approach categorizes performance into four key pillars, each with its own components and criteria: 1. Philosophy - the organization's beliefs and values, as reflected in its mandate, position statements, policies and practices; 2. Red Flags - indicators of problems in the organization, such as excessive personnel turnover, disproportionate management salaries, high administration and fundraising costs, lack of peer collaboration, poor financial statements; 3. Efficiencies - financial and operational conduct of the organization, including long term strategic planning, financial credibility and sustainability; and 4. People - abilities of those involved with the organization, including management, volunteers, peers, donors and board members. The study also explored the pros and cons of standardizing performance evaluation and found that many participants felt the sector would benefit from the use of more quantitative and qualitative benchmarks and standards to establish sector norms and trends. In addition, the research examined the sector's familiarity with outcome measurement and found most participants struggled to clearly define outcomes for the sector. This may suggest the sector would also gain from consultation on how to establish objectives within an outcome evaluation framework. Finally, the study investigated how funding strategies of foundations often are at odds with AWO needs and priorities. Participants identified conflicts concerning funding of: 1. short-term vs. long-term projects; 2. innovative vs. proven projects; 3. many, small grants vs. fewer, large grants; 4. new vs. established organizations; 5. emotional appeal vs. practical needs; and 6. no-kill vs. open-admission shelters. Participants provided ideas on where funding could be applied to make the most impact and achieve mutual goals for both AWOs and foundations. The findings and recommendations of this study may enable AWOs to better identify and manage their objectives while enabling donors and foundations to better assess AWO performance and outcomes to improve philanthropic decision-making.

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