Since we launched, Animal Advocacy Careers has been conducting some initial research, providing management and leadership training for employees of high-impact nonprofits, and preparing our public-facing content.
We’re pleased to announce that we have now published our careers advice page.
To build understanding of the bottlenecks and job opportunities in the farmed animal movement, Animal Advocacy Careers (AAC) conducted a brief “spot-check” of the job opportunities that were advertised on the websites of 27 different effective animal advocacy (EAA) nonprofit organisations. The results were compared to the findings from an additional search of the currently filled roles at the same organisations. The findings provide weak evidence that EAA nonprofits are struggling to fill fundraising and operations roles. Campaigns and research roles seem to be easier to fill than other role types. Roles based in the US may be easier to fill than roles based elsewhere. In the job specifications for advertised job opportunities, communications skills and English language skills were frequently important. Though remote work was common, flexibility by country of residence was not. Most jobs required experience in related types of roles — the average was 1.8 years of experience required, with operations roles seeming to have slightly lower requirements — but few jobs explicitly required degrees or nonprofit experience. Surprisingly, few jobs were advertised on the 80,000 Hours’ jobs board or the “Effective Altruism Job Postings” Facebook group.
We believe that management and leadership skills can be learned and it seems likely that this learning can occur independently. Hence, we created this spreadsheet to help people get started on the process of reading and reflection to improve their management and leadership expertise. The resources identified using this spreadsheet could be used for entirely independent learning, or discussed with colleagues or coaches. The spreadsheet contains:
View the full spreadsheet here. It is intended to be a working document; we will periodically revisit and update it if we receive new information and recommendations.
See also our discussion of “Deliberate practice and training” in our skills profile on management and leadership (forthcoming).
Several meta-analyses and reviews focusing on either overall training effectiveness or on the effectiveness of management and leadership specifically were identified non-systematically. Identified research provides support for the claim that management and leadership expertise can be taught through training programmes. Additionally, Avolio et al. (2010) have estimated that leadership training programmes will usually have high returns on investment for companies, but it remains uncertain whether such programmes will be cost-effective in an animal advocacy context. Lacerenza et al. (2017) identify a number of moderators that seemed to improve the effectiveness of leadership training; their findings mostly align with AAC’s previous findings, but suggest that face-to-face delivery improves effectiveness. Avolio et al.’s (2009) findings provide reason to doubt that leadership training programmes focused on “transformational leadership” will be more effective than other possible training types.
Research was conducted to determine what the characteristics of good management and leadership are and how we can evaluate whether an intervention has successfully developed these characteristics in its participants. Initially, content on the Effective Altruism Forum and by 80,000 Hours was reviewed. Additional searches of Google Scholar were conducted. Researchers have identified a number of leadership styles, measured through various scales, that are correlated with organisational performance outcomes. Our search findings suggest that the use of contingent reward behaviours is similarly effective to “transformational leadership.” Transformational leadership also has similar results to several newer theories of leadership such as “servant leadership” and “ethical leadership.” However, given that these leadership behaviour types have different correlations with personality factors, they should probably still be seen as different approaches to leadership. We also conclude that if measuring whether an intervention to improve management and leadership expertise has had effects on an organisation’s performance is not feasible, it may be sufficient to measure whether the intervention has improved ratings of participants’ leadership skills on scales that measure skillsets such as transformational leadership.
Research was conducted to determine which features, formats, and designs of training programmes seem most likely to be cost-effective. Summaries of educational research and health behaviour research were reviewed. Additional searches of Google Scholar were conducted. A number of characteristics were identified that seem likely to enhance the effectiveness of training programmes, including the use of spaced repetition, practice, feedback, content-focused education for novices, distance learning, group education, and small group sizes
Initial research conducted by Charity Entrepreneurship suggested that one of the most promising interventions that a new organisation could do would be to experiment with methods to address the talent gaps in the farmed animal movement. The first objective of Animal Advocacy Careers (AAC) is to conduct some deeper research into this and try to analyse what specific talent bottlenecks need to be most urgently addressed.