The below framework can be used as a guide when designing an ask. This is a practical guide was created to support organisations with their strategic decision making, ensuring that all elements of the ask development process have been taken into account during any ask designing process.
This checklist is for any individual or organisation to consider before starting a new campaign. You may also wish to use the framework to assess challenges within current campaigns that are not performing as well as you had hoped - perhaps there is a key area of implementation that you are missing.
We have an editable version that we encourage you to make a copy of and utilise when you are thinking of a new ask.
The below list of questions are not exhaustive and it does not contain all questions that feature in the editable version.
We encourage you to share this document with us so that we may support you with your ask formation and help with any more complex areas of research.
Does our organisation have the capacity to take on a new project?
It can be very tempting to start a new project when you receive some unexpected funding or hire a new member of staff or see that other groups are progressing onto a new ask. However, moving your resources to another intervention or spreading your resource across multiple areas is not always the best move.
Define your current campaign/s. How far away are they from completion?
Are we moving resources away from these current campaigns or enforcement of those campaigns?
Do we have funding secured for this type or work or, are we confident that we can obtain funding for this work?
Is this a new area of work for your organisation?
Which advocacy method is most suited to this new intervention?
When switching to working on a new campaign tactic or intervention category, it is important to ensure that your organisation has the scope, training and expertise to carry out such work.
Different advocacy methods can garner drastically different results, it is important therefore to scope and research which interventions may work best for each ask.
Do we feel that our staff have adequate experience to carry out this type of work?
Do we need to invest time in training and or mentoring for our staff before starting work in this particular area?
Is corporate relations the best method?
Is it possible to use pressure tactics for corporate campaigns?
Is legal advocacy the best method?
Has there been a precedent set for this type of work?
Has this specific ask been successful in other contexts or countries?
Many groups focus on starting with raising public awareness of a particular issue, however, this is not always a necessary step. You may be able to run both a public awareness campaign and corporate relations tactics at the same time.
Choosing to work on an ask that has already had some success in a similar context could be a good place to start as long as the previous due diligence questions have been considered.
Are there any barriers to starting our advocacy method right away?
Has this intervention been tried before? Any successes of failures to learn from either locally or globally?
Is public opinion important or relevant here?
Is the ask suitable for our country context?
Is our work likely to set the precedent for this species in this country?
Does the ask work sufficiently well outside of our context? Do we need to consider this?
THE ASK IS
Do we have a specific species we wish to focus on?
Sometimes specific funding limits the ask within which you are able to work. If you have no constraints, finding the right species to work within is important to ensuring that the area you are working within is both neglected and tractable in order to make best use of your time and resource.
Is our funding ring-fenced for a specific species or do we have flexibility to decide on this?
Is our chosen species the best species to work on?
What are the factors to help us decide? e.g. if it is individual lives we are interested in could we swap from sheep to chickens or expand the targeted group from chickens to all farmed birds. Should we narrow the target? e.g. swapping from all farmed fish to Scottish Atlantic salmon
Are there other groups that we can partner with or work alongside?
Allies can be an important tool for most advocacy methods. If you are doing corporate relations, is there a partner who can be the 'good cop' to your 'bad cop' or vice versa? Can you join forces and resources for one huge campaign across your target country?
Are there other animal advocacy groups in your region? Do they work on similar issues/ interventions?
Which groups could we try to ally with? Environmental groups, health groups, social justice groups, local governments, or even farmers or industry groups themselves
STRENGTH OF THE IDEA
For of these questions, try to find the sweet spot between an ambitious ask for greatest impact coupled with the practicality of implementation.
Have we spoken with an animal welfare specialist or accessed Animal Ask's extensive ask list to assess which asks might be most impactful for our target species?
Are there any potential negative outcomes of this ask?
How do we weigh the different possible outcomes against each other?
Is it possible for the industry to implement these changes?
How likely is it that our stakeholders will support this ask?
Will the public likely support this ask?
How complicated is the ask to communicate?
What is the timeline within which this is possible to implement?
Is the ask measurable?
As animal advocates, we want to do the most good for animals in the shortest timeframe, however, some complex asks need a substantial amount of transition time of they are to be successful. it is worth making sure that it is actually possible for farmers to make these changes to ensure the smooth running of the implementation of the ask.
Is it possible for the farmers to implement these changes immediately or do we need to factor in financial support or transition time?
How will this ask affect the price of animal products? How will this affect demand? How will the change in the cost of production affect the difficulty of your outreach?
A key decision organisations often need to consider is the trade off between a more impactful ask that may not be the most popular with their supporters vs something their supporters will definitely get behind that may not lead to as greater impact. Considering these questions can help to determine how suitable an ask is for your organisation to undertake.
How easy is it to mobilise volunteers for this ask?
Will this ask support us with fundraising? Would these supporters have otherwise donated to potentially less impactful causes or projects?
Getting the public and your supporters behind the campaign could be an important element determining the success of your ask.
Have we considered if the public will likely get behind this ask?
Is the ask controversial in our context?
Are there any campaign angles we can consider that might garner more public support?
Asks with multiple elements may by the most impactful for the animals welfare but they are not always the easiest to communicate. Bear in mind that you are going to have to communicate this publicly. Is it easy to understand? Do you use any technical language that may be confusing?
Have we considered how easy this is to communicate to the wider public?
Have we considered how easy this is for a CEO to communicate to their team or their audience base?
As animal advocates we want a reduction in suffering as soon as possible, however without considering a practical and realistic transition for the industry, you may hit challenges sooner than expected.
Which other timelines are present in our country for farmed animals?
Is our timeline complementary to this or clashing?
Planning how to measure the success of the campaign may seem like a simple suggestion but making sure you have a clear theory of change and route to impact is something to take time on. As an example, asks could be measured by using metrics to determine how many animal lives you are affecting.
Do we have pre-campaign metrics to determine how many animal lives we are likely to affect with this change?
How difficult will it be to ensure that the ask is actually implemented?
How much will we need to invest into enforcement to ensure that producers are complying with our requests?
How likely is it that this ask would already be implemented without our help?
Utilising resource in the most effective way possible is key to a successful ask. It is worth taking the time to scope current political landscapes and get a general movement sense of how quickly this issue might change. If a law is likely to be implemented in the coming years for example, it might make sense to pivot to a more neglected area.
Is this ask being discussed at a parliamentary level already?
Are there any continent-wide initiatives supporting this ask?
Are there other groups pushing this ask from a different perspective? Environmental groups for example.
Are there any other elements, specific to our country context that you should consider?
You know the country you are campaigning within better than anyone else. Have a think through other external considerations that may affect long-term or short-term campaigning.
Is there any chance that this ask could further expand the moral circle of the population?
Could this ask have negative effects on other causes areas, such as increasing the risk of infectious disease or damage to the environment? How should we weigh this risk against the direct benefit of the ask?
Could we set the movement back with an ask that was not thoroughly considered enough that the opposition convinced the public in the merit of their methods?