So you want to make a worthwhile donation to help wildlife or homeless animals, but all of the information on the web is so convoluted and confusing that you just give up. It's hard to sift through all of the lies about where your money is truly going, and no one wants to donate their hard-earned cash just to have it go straight into some CEO's bank account.
Luckily, Charity Watch has compiled a list of animal charities evaluated on criteria like percent spent on charitable purpose (60% will get you a "C" grade), and the cost to raise $100. Here are 10 of their top-rated animal charities, so you have a surefire list of places to donate to, knowing that your money is truly going to a good cause.
1. Animal Welfare Institute: A+
While one of their strongest emphases is on the cruelty of animal factories, their initiatives involve everything from efforts to keep whaling illegal to sending representatives to meetings of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. 96% of their financial expenditure goes directly to their programs. No wonder they got an A+.
2. Friends of Animals: A
Among their many accomplishments, their spay/neuter program has facilitated more than 2.5 million procedures as part of the nationwide breeding prevention program. Explore their website here, and donate here if the rest of their accomplishments impress you (they will).
3. Wildlife Conservation Society: A
With a mission to save wildlife and wild places around the globe, the Wildlife Conservation Society also runs the Bronx Zoo, New York Aquarium, Central Park Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo, and Queens Zoo, where they educate millions of visitors about their 500+ conservation projects. It couldn't be more important to get the word out to the masses, so institutions like these five in New York are crucial to wildlife conservation. Visit them here.
4. PetSmart Charities: A
PetSmart Charities wants to end animal homelessness, and they're doing it by investing in over 2,800 animal welfare charities all over North America. Their efforts have facilitated 1 out of every 10 pet adoptions in America - that's over 5 million pets. Visit their homepage for a slew of other truly impressive statistics.
5. Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS): A
Their mission statement sums it up perfectly: "PAWS is dedicated to the protection of performing animals, to providing sanctuary to abused, abandoned, and retired captive wildlife, to enforcing the best standards of care for all captive wildlife, to the preservation of wild species and their habitat, and to promoting public education about captive wildlife issues." They've built and run a captive wildlife sanctuary in California that houses 11 elephants, 22 tigers, 4 lions, 7 bears, and 1 black leopard, with hopes of expansion. You can help support their cause here.
6. The Marine Mammal Center: A-
Since 1975, they've rescued over 18,000 elephant seals, sea lions, whales, sea otters, harbor seals, fur seals, dolphins, harbor porpoises, and others. They strive to educate communities about our relationship with marine animals and the ocean, and each year reach about 30,000 adults and children via their educational programs. Donate here.
7. D.E.L.T.A. Rescue: A-
This is a truly unique operation - a "No Kill, Care-For-Life" sanctuary full of over 1,500 animals, including 800 dogs. Leo Grillo, the president and founder of the organization, personally rescued each and every one of the dog and cat residents that live in his sanctuaries (a cat one is pictured). You can help support the operation here, or visit the Ask The Vet section to learn more about how to care for your own animal.
8. American Humane Association: A-
Since 1877, the American Humane Association has been protecting children, pets, and farm animals from abuse and neglect. Their website is extremely informative regarding their specific accomplishments, and where your money would go if you chose to donate. One notable item is that they sheltered and cared for over 250 animals that were saved during the largest dogfighting raid in U.S. history. They also helped them acclimate to life with humans who love them.
9. Humane Farming Association: A-
The overarching goal of HFA is to stop the cruelty against animals in factory farms. Their presence on Capitol Hill - the Humane Farming Action Fund (HFAF) - is as the nation's only lobbying organization able to put forth enforceable anti-cruelty legislation. If factory farming is something you'd like to stop, make a donation here.
10. Best Friends Animal Society: B+
Along with their sanctuary, located in Kanab, UT, Best Friends is doing everything they can to help further their "Save Them All" mission. It aims to bring the number of homeless pet deaths from 4 million annually down to zero. Learn more about how to get involved here.
(via Charity Watch)
Donating to your local shelter is always a safe bet, too, as they are usually in need of materials and resources to take care of the animals that come through each day. When considering donating to a charity, always make sure that a good amount of their funding goes toward the actual projects that you want to support, instead of advertising, marketing, branding, or someone's pocket. Charity is a wonderful thing - just make sure you pick the right one!