top of page

Animal Advocate Profile: Liz Wheeler | Philanthropy Officer at Faunalytics

Updated: Sep 5, 2023

This profile is part of the "Animal Advocate Stories" Series. Liz is the Philanthropy Officer at Faunalytics, a nonprofit organisation conducting research and sharing knowledge to help advocates help animals effectively.

Liz Wheeler Headshot

Can you share a bit about yourself, what you're passionate about, and what drives you in your work for animal advocacy?

I'm a passionate animal advocate whose enthusiasm for connecting people and animals together has led me to a career as a professional fundraiser. I am most passionate about farmed animal advocacy and the ways which relationships and communication with policy makers and government can inspire change.

Could you describe your journey in animal advocacy and how you're able to make a meaningful impact in your life and career?

I describe it a bit more in detail below, but I feel that working with Faunalytics has only strengthened my advocacy as I've seen the power and efficacy of using research & data to convince those in power to make positive change for animals. By working with an organization whose programs directly inspire my advocacy feel a sense of Ikigai - an alignment of my passion, mission, profession & vocation.

I love building relationships. I believe the world needs data & research on how to help animals effectively. I am good at inspiring others to give. I feel appreciated by my workplace.

What does your day-to-day life look like in your role?

I've always referred to Faunalytics as the unicorn of employers. The flexibility offered to employees in their work days is optimal for my productivity. It allows me to take an extra hour for breakfast with my rescue chickens if that puts me in a better frame of mind to accomplish my work goals.

As a Philanthropy Officer in a small organization I am the main employee responsible for all of our giving programs including (but not limited to) individual giving, monthly giving, third-party donations, data-entry and stewardship. I make sure each and every single donor is appreciated and acknowledged for how they've helped our work. A large part of my role is also prospecting not only individual donors but foundations and grant opportunities.

From the research step to the application and reporting process, I take the lead on about 30-40 applications each year. I work closely with our Executive Director in ensuring our 2023 Fundraising Plan is executed and goals are met.

What initially inspired you to dedicate your time to animal advocacy? What keeps you motivated to continue?

My journey in animal advocacy started at a young age. My father brought me to a chicken farm where I witnessed dead and dying birds in fifth-lined wire cages. That same year I moved out of my parents home and became vegetarian, not yet understanding the link between the eggs and the chickens' suffering. I didn't know any other vegetarians, let alone vegans. I did, however, begin to think about ways I could help animals. In high school I chose to complete my volunteer hours at my local humane society. From that volunteering, I was hired part-time and then full-time. While working at the humane society I was asked by an associate organization to volunteer, which again, led to a paid position.

That organization was a national animal welfare organization in Canada. I thought it was the way which I'd make change, but over the years I realized most of the staff weren't even vegetarian and the focus was on the welfare of animals, mostly companion animal based. I started listening to a podcast called "Paw & Order" produced by Animal Justice and it opened my eyes to the unbelievable lack of protection for farmed animals in Canada and how they suffer producing milk, cheese, eggs and other by-products.They inspired me, and my partner, to change our diets to fully vegan.

Once I was vegan I could no longer excuse the humane washing organization I was working for and I applied for a position with Faunalytics where my values in protecting all animals, especially farmed animals is aligned with the mission or the organization.

In 2020 I founded Secondhand Stories, a non-profit bookshop raising over $25,000 for farmed animal rescue and in 2021 I was named a finalist of Charity Village’s Top Fundraiser award for launching this initiative. In 2022 I was thrilled to expand her non-profit into a farmed animal microsanctuary of my own, which inspires me every day to do more.

Are there any specific skills or areas of expertise that you find particularly valuable in your role?

As a fundraiser, being outgoing and extroverted is one of the biggest assets you can have. You are a representative of your organization. By having the confidence to start a conversation with anyone you meet, you'll attract funders and be well positioned to start relationships that will last.

Based on your own journey, what suggestions or advice would you give to individuals considering a career in animal advocacy or those seeking similar roles?

It may take several years of trying and failing. Don't let that stop you on your mission. It took volunteering with several organizations, having both terrible and incredible leaders that showed me my worth and strengths, being subscribed and in-the-loop with organizations that I aligned with before the role that suits me best came along. A constant ear to the ground and dedication to not settling is what will get you into your perfect role.

Would you like to get in touch with Liz to learn more about their role and journey? Connect on LinkedIn.

Want to learn more about fundraising roles? Check out our Fundraising Skills Profile.


bottom of page