Wild-Animal Suffering Research is currently funded by a $30,000 grant from Effective Altruism Funds – Animal Welfare. The funding covers the part-time work of three research associates until the end of May 2018. Our administrative and IT expenses are covered by the Effective Altruism Foundation.
We estimate we can use up to $93,660 for the next 12 months in additional funding to continue and expand our research. Additional funding would go to meet the following expenses.
Increase the hours of our research associates
Our three research associates contribute between 10 – 20 hours each per week to the Wild-Animal Suffering Research project. For two of our associates, this is due to our limited funding. We would like to expand our research activities by offering these research associates the opportunity to work up to 40 hours per week.
Increase the hourly rates of our research associates
We have been very fortunate to have talented and passionate research associates willing to work on this project despite being paid below market rate for their skills. Currently researchers earn between $10USD – $15USD per hour (with the variance based on minimum living wages in their country of residence and personal finances). As all researchers are hired as contractors, they do not receive health insurance, retirement contributions, nor accrue paid leave.
To retain these researchers and continue attracting skilled team members, we believe it is important to raise hourly rates to $16USD. This would bring wages to a rate on par with organizations conducting similar work. In addition, we believe it is important for researchers have the opportunity to accrue 20 days of paid annual leave or elect to receive a lump sum following every 12 month period of employment.
Hire a researcher with domain expertise or offer freelance opportunities to researchers with domain expertise
Wild-animal suffering is an unusual cause area in very early days. In building our team, we looked for generalist skills in research, alignment to effective altruism principles, pre-existing knowledge or experience, and intellectual curiosity. Having established our goals and identified promising areas of research, we are now at a point where we believe it would be valuable to have the knowledge and skills of researchers with domain expertise.
We can utilize the expertise of these researchers by hiring an additional part-time researcher or offering freelance opportunities up to the equivalent amount of time per week.
One of our goals is to raise awareness of and promote concern for wild-animal suffering. This requires attendance at events and conferences to stay up to date with progress in animal-advocacy research, give presentations, and speak to academics, research institutes, and other not-for-profit organizations.
We do not have any auxiliary funds to cover conference tickets, flights, and accommodation to attend such events. To send one WAS Research project representative to an average of 5 conferences per year, we estimate a need for an additional $5500 USD.
Guidelines on effective practices for not-for-profits suggest organizations should have a minimum of 3-6 months and no more than 24 months in reserves. At the time of writing, the WAS Research project has 8 months in reserves. However, with plans to scale up our activities, our expenses increase from $2500 per month to $9472 per month. This leaves us with the equivalent of 2 months in reserves. To meet a 12 month average in reserves, we need $93,660 in additional funding.
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