20 Best Animal Charities to Donate to (Complete 2024 List)

20 Best Animal Charities to Donate to (Complete 2024 List)

By
Carla Shaik

Read Time:40 Minutes

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One animal suffers some form of abuse every minute around the world; whether that’s on farms, in homes, living in the wild, or in captivity. Even more worryingly, 200 species have gone extinct in the last 300 years because of animal cruelty, including the destruction of wild habitats. Fortunately, many charities are fighting to protect animals worldwide. So, we had to ask: What are the best animal charities to donate to?

The best animal charities to donate to are the IUCN, the World Wildlife Fund, and Oceana. Charities such as Best Friends Animal Society and the Humane Society fight for the protection of domestic animals through advocacy and on-the-ground action.

Whether you want to improve animal welfare standards around the world, invest in the conservation of threatened species, or ensure that every domestic animal finds a loving forever home, there is a charity for you. Keep reading to learn more about what the best animal charities to donate to are all about, how they work, and what your best way would be to make a contribution.

Here’s What All the Best Animal Charities to Donate to Have in Common

The charities on this list were chosen based on their mission, impact and transparency ratings, and achievements.

They operate all over the world, from North America to Africa, protecting animals and improving living standards.

Many of these charities focus on conserving wild animal species and protecting their habitats. Others focus their efforts on improving legislation to protect companion animals, farm livestock, and all captive animals. 

Yet, they all share the same goal: to ensure every animal around the world is treated with respect, love, and care.

These Are the 20 Best Animal Charities to Donate to in 2024

Below are our favorite animal charities to donate to donate to (you can click on their link to directly jump to their section in this article):

(At the end of this article we’ll also share our six-step approach on how you can select the best charity to support.)

1

IUCN: Enabling Society, Economics, and Nature to Thrive Together

Logo for IUCN
Celebrating 75 years of IUCN around the world

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Their transparency & ratings:

According to their financial report, the IUCN spent 51% of their expenditure on operating costs and 35.2% on education and support. 

“Generating, utilizing, and publishing sound, evidence-based research to advance nature conservation and sustainable development.”

IUCN

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What they do:

The IUCN provides science-based knowledge, tools, and support to animal welfare and conservation organizations, as well as government agencies to protect our natural planet and all its inhabitants. For example, the IUCN Red List is a globally recognized tool to determine the health of the world’s biodiversity. In addition, their Contributions for Nature Platform allows IUCN members to document where their conservation projects are being conducted, creating a database to identify areas in need of support. 

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What they’ve achieved:

Today, the IUCN works across 600 sites in 60 countries to improve animal welfare and conservation around the globe. For example, they have pledged to actively protect and restore more than 210 million acres of natural land and have assessed 142,577 species through their IUCN Red List. The charity has also been integral to the creation of numerous international conventions including the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and the Convention on Biological Diversity.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to the IUCN through their website. You can also support the charity by becoming an IUCN Member or by joining an IUCN Commission

2

World Wildlife Fund: Taking Action for Our World

Logo for World Wildlife Fund
What does WWF do? | WWF

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Their transparency & ratings:

The World Wildlife Fund holds a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

“To create a world where people and wildlife can thrive together.”

World Wildlife Fund

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What they do:

The World Wildlife Fund conserves the world’s most endangered and iconic species by collaborating with like-minded organizations, working with local communities, and campaigning to end wildlife markets. For example, they are working to prevent further deforestation of the Amazon Rainforest by developing forest certification methods, such as the Forest Stewardship Council, to ensure timber and paper pulp is harvested sustainably. They are also creating green corridors in China to link isolated Giant Panda populations and support anti-poaching efforts to protect the Amur leopard; the world’s rarest wild cat.

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, the World Wildlife Fund has grown into one of the largest and most respected conservation organizations in the world. The charity now works across more than 100 countries to protect communities, wildlife, and their habitats. For example, since 1979, they have built 67 Giant Panda reserves, covering around 1.4 million hectares. Furthermore, in 2018, the WWF successfully campaigned for the expansion of the Chiribiquete National Park, in the Colombian Amazon, to 4.3 million hectares. This is now the world’s largest area of protected rainforest, home to 3,000 species of animals and plants.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to the World Wildlife Fund through their website or you can symbolically adopt an animal to fund the work of the charity. You can also visit WWF’s online shop where 100% of the profits go directly to the work of the charity.

3

Oceana: Restoring the World’s Oceans

Logo for Oceana
Choked, Strangled, Drowned: The Plastics Crisis Unfolding in U.S. Waters

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Their transparency & ratings:

Oceana holds a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

“Dedicated to protecting and restoring the world’s oceans on a global scale.”

Oceana

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What they do:

Oceana works to tackle the numerous threats that affect marine life, including habitat loss, overfishing, and the illegal killing of threatened species. They do this by advocating for changes to marine-related government policies. For example, they run campaigns to reduce whale and sea turtle entanglement in commercial fishing gear and work with local fisheries to formulate effective mitigation programs. They also focus on reducing pollution in our oceans by campaigning for businesses to use alternatives to single-use plastics.

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What they’ve achieved:

To date, Oceana has protected nearly 4 million square miles of ocean across Europe and 9 additional coastal countries. They have also won over 225 policy victories for marine wildlife. For example, in 2022, the charity successfully campaigned for a 16,000sq mile increase in vulnerable orca habitats across the coasts of Oregon, Washington, and Northern California. Moreover, in 2023, following campaigns by Oceana, the National Marine Fisheries Service authorized the commercial use of innovative fishing gear that will protect turtles, whales, and dolphins from entanglements across the US West Coast. 

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to Oceana through their website. You can also support the charity by signing one or more of their petitions or by purchasing items from their online store

4

Best Friends Animal Society: Save Them All

Logo for Best Friends Animal Society
Foster-Win! Cat with a broken jaw heals and finds his forever home

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Their transparency & ratings:

Best Friends Animal Society holds a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, as well as a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar

“A world in which every pet has the chance to know love and companionship.”

Best Friends Animal Society

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What they do:

The Best Friends Animal Society cares for and actively finds forever homes for vulnerable or abandoned companion animals at their sanctuary in Utah, including horses, cats, dogs, rabbits, and pigs. They also partner with shelters, spay/neuter organizations, and welfare groups across the US to work towards their goal of ensuring the entire country is a no-kill zone by 2025. In addition, the Best Friends Animal Society acts as an online resource for pet health and training and provides how-to guides for shelters. 

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What they’ve achieved:

Thanks to the efforts of the Best Friends Animal Society, 57% of all shelters in the US are now no-kill. That equates to a 63% reduction in the number of unwanted pets euthanized within a 10-year period. For example, by 2022, the charity had partnered with over 4,200 shelter and rescue centers across all 50 states, with over 550 joining in that year alone. 

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to the Best Friends Animal Society through their website. You can also support the charity by adopting an animal from their sanctuary in Utah or fostering a companion animal in need.

5

Born Free Foundation: Keeping Wildlife in the Wild

Logo for Born Free Foundation
Trapping Exposed: Explore the Dark World of Animal Trapping

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Their transparency & ratings:

The Born Free Foundation holds a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar

“A co-existent future where humans no longer exploit wild animals.”

Born Free Foundation

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What they do:

The Born Free Foundation is dedicated to ending captive animal trades around the world through their hard-hitting campaigns. They also rescue vulnerable animals from low-welfare establishments and either release them back into the wild or care for them at one of their sanctuaries. In addition, the charity works to end the wildlife trade by exposing the harmful impacts of the industry on wildlife populations and by working with local governments to improve the global response to illegal wildlife trafficking. For example, in South Africa, they are working with officials to close down the lion breeding industry

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What they’ve achieved:

Today, the Born Free Foundation works in 14 countries around the world to improve animal welfare practices and protect endangered wild species from exploitation. Across their 13 wildlife sanctuaries, the charity now cares for over 1,200 wild animal species, including 17 rescued lions and leopards and over 120 species of birds, as well as monitor lizards, hippos, and bears. For example, in 2022, they launched a major new project to track and protect 46 elephants and giraffes from wildlife conflict situations in Kenya. In the same year, they provided conservation education to 6,346 students across 97 schools in India. 

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to the Born Free Foundation through their website. You can also support the charity by symbolically adopting an animal or by purchasing items from their online shop

6

Fauna & Flora International: Saving Nature Together

Logo for Fauna & Flora International
Fauna & Flora: Saving Nature Together

Their impact and transparency ratings:

Fauna & Flora International holds a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

“To conserve threatened species and ecosystems worldwide.”

Fauna & Flora International

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What they do:

Fauna & Flora International tackles species and habitat decline, as well as threats to wildlife including poaching and the bushmeat trade. They do this through advocacy, anti-poaching efforts, and by working alongside local communities. For example, in the Pu Mat National Park, Vietnam, they provide technical support and scientific monitoring tools to rangers. They have also launched their innovative situational crime prevention toolkit to address the illegal wildlife trade. Furthermore, the charity is supporting the building of vital wildlife corridors across Kenya, Sudan, and Mozambique to protect the endangered African wild dog

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What they’ve achieved:

Today, Fauna & Flora International actively protects 50 million hectares of wildlife habitat across 48 countries worldwide. To date, they have saved more than 1 million tonnes of carbon from being released into the atmosphere across 94 terrestrial and marine protected sites. For example, in 2022 alone, the charity worked with 109 endangered species, benefiting a further 193 species. In the same year, they protected and released 14,000 turtle hatchlings and conducted 43 projects to better understand and end the illegal wildlife trade. 

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to Fauna & Flora International through their website. You can also support the charity by purchasing items from their online shop.

7

American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Animal Rescue and Protection

Logo for The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
Through Their Eyes | The Full Journey | LP

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Their transparency & ratings:

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals holds a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator. They also hold the Silver Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

“We are their voice.”

American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA)

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What they do:

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) offers training and support to shelters, rescue centers, and clinics across America to improve animal welfare and prevent further neglect of companion animals. The ASPCA also conducts large-scale rescue operations of vulnerable animals and assists law enforcement in building cases against abusers. Moreover, through their advocacy center, the charity works with local, state, and federal legislators to improve animal welfare legislation, including ending puppy mills

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has remained committed to protecting companion animals across America. For example, since 2001, they have distributed more than $200 million to over 3,500 animal shelters, rescue groups, universities, and government agencies. Furthermore, in 2022, the ASPCA Disaster Response Team helped more than 6,700 animals that had been displaced due to natural disasters. Moreover, their Learning Lab attracted more than 28,000 enrollments, reaching animal welfare professionals and students from 1,200 organizations worldwide.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals through their website. You can also support the charity through planned giving or by joining their Heroes Circle

8

Marine Conservation Institute: Saving Wild Ocean Places

Logo for Marine Conservation Institute
Why I Support Marine Conservation Institute - Marshall Behling

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Their transparency & ratings:

The Marine Conservation Institute holds a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator. The charity also holds the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

“Dedicated to securing permanent, strong protection for the ocean’s most important places – for us and future generations.”

Marine Conservation Institute

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What they do:

The Marine Conservation Institute works to safeguard our oceans’ diversity by providing governments with marine reserve protection guidelines through their Blue Parks Initiative. Their Marine Protection Atlas is a real-time global online resource to identify and track fully or highly protected marine areas. The charity also conducts field research in vital biodiversity areas such as coral reefs, to identify new areas in need of protection.

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What they’ve achieved:

The Marine Conservation Institute maintains 27 Blue Parks around the globe, covering over 1.67 million square kilometers of ocean. For example, through their collaboration with the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Marine Conservation Institute has stabilized populations of the critically endangered Hawaiian monk seal. The population has now grown to over 1,400 individuals, with an average growth rate of 2% per year. This growth is enough to double to a safer size within 35 years.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to the Marine Conservation Institute through their website. You can also assist the charity by supporting one of their campaigns or by becoming an Ocean Guardian.

9

Wildlife Conservation Network: Together We Can Save Endangered Wildlife

Logo for Wildlife Conservation Network
Wildlife Conservation Network | About Us

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Their transparency & ratings:

The Wildlife Conservation Network holds a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar

“Protecting endangered wildlife by supporting conservationists who ensure wildlife and people coexist and thrive.”

Wildlife Conservation Network

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What they do:

Alongside their global partners, the Wildlife Conservation Network supports conservationists by funding conservation projects across Africa, Latin America, Asia, Eastern Europe, and ocean habitats. For example, they offer grants and scholarships to small, localized conservation organizations and even provide solar power to allow them to carry out their work efficiently. In addition, their Emergency Relief Fund supports conservationists, communities, and wildlife in times of crisis. For example, their Pangolin Crisis Fund invests in the best projects to stop the poaching of pangolins, which are the most trafficked animal species in the world.

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What they’ve achieved:

To date, the Wildlife Conservation Network has raised over $268 million for 755 conservation projects around the world. For example, throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, they awarded over $800,000 in grants to support 37 projects. In addition, they have awarded 178 scholarships to promising conservationists across 47 countries. These efforts have led to multiple successes including the protection of 122,000 acres of Andean cat habitat and 500 zebras fed during Kenya’s drought. Furthermore, they have provided over 4,700 people with conservation education. 

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to the Wildlife Conservation Network through their website. Alternatively, you can set up a fundraising event to support the charity or purchase items from their online shop.

10

Birdlife International: Protecting Birds and Nature

Logo for Birdlife International
We are BirdLife

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Their transparency & ratings:

Birdlife International holds a Gold Seal of Transparency from GuideStar

“To conserve birds, their habitats and global biodiversity, working with people towards sustainability in the use of natural resources.”

Birdlife International

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What they do:

Birdlife International protects all bird species around the world through their network of bird watchers, scientists, and volunteers. For example, through their innovative Data Zone tool, they track endangered bird species and identify vital biodiversity areas to formulate effective conservation management plans. Furthermore, they have developed AVISTEP, an Avian Sensitivity Tool for Energy Planning that can be used to determine where renewable energy could negatively impact bird populations so that plans can be amended accordingly.

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What they’ve achieved:

Today, Birdlife International is a global organization consisting of over 115 national and international partners and 2 million scientists and bird lovers, working together to save all bird species. Since their founding, they have identified and documented over 13,000 key bird biodiversity areas and are now the official scientific source of information on bird species for the IUCN Red List. For example, in 2021, the charity established 595,000 km2 of ocean as a new Marine Protected Area along the North Atlantic Current, which is home to nearly 5 million birds from 21 species. This area is also one of the most important ocean habitats for migratory bird species in the world

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to Birdlife International through their website. You can also support the charity by becoming a Species Champion or by fundraising.

Animal Welfare Institute: Ending Animal Cruelty Inflicted by People

Logo for Animal Welfare Institute
Take Action for Animals!

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Their transparency & ratings:

The Animal Welfare Institute holds a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator.

“We seek better treatment of animals everywhere – in the laboratory, on the farm, in commerce, at home, and in the wild.”

Animal Welfare Institute

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What they do:

The Animal Welfare Institute engages with policymakers, scientists, the public, and animal industries to end cruelty on a worldwide scale, including the abolition of factory farming and protecting animal species from exploitation. For example, they encourage research institutions and laboratories to adopt the 3Rs (replacement of animals with alternatives, reduction in the number of animals used, and refinement of practices) through education and support. In addition, they are campaigning heavily for the end of inhumane slaughter methods used on livestock for consumption. 

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, the Animal Welfare Institute has been integral to the implementation of numerous animal welfare wins, including the establishment of the Animal Welfare Act, the commercial banning of whaling, and the banning of steel-jaw leghold traps. For example, in 2022, the charity encouraged the American Veterinary Medical Association to strengthen the recommendation for pain relief during and after painful procedures such as tail docking in livestock. In the same year, they funded over 12 organizations that support or fund animal shelters, veterinary clinics, zoos, and rehabilitation centers in Ukraine, to provide desperately needed food, supplies, and care to displaced animals during the Ukraine conflict

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to the Animal Welfare Institute through their website. You can also support the charity by joining one of their animal welfare campaigns.

12

Panthera: Protecting All Big Cats

Logo for Panthera
Panthera’s Story

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Their transparency & ratings:

Panthera holds a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

“Ensure a future for wild cats and the vast landscapes on which they depend.”

Panthera

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What they do:

Panthera partners with like-minded organizations, scientific institutions, and local communities to implement protective strategies for wild cat species in over 35 countries, through their various conservation projects. Their main focus is on the seven species of big cats; pumas, lions, tigers, leopards, jaguars, snow leopards, and cheetahs. For example, their Leonardo Project is the world’s first conservation strategy that encompasses the lions’ entire range by conducting poaching patrols and assisting in the building and maintenance of lion corridors to ensure their safe passage between Africa’s key national parks.

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, Panthera has partnered with over 45 government agencies, including 7 counter-wildlife crime information hubs, across more than 35 countries to protect the world’s 40 wild cat species. For example, they have established the creation of 19,000 synthetic fur products, sparing the lives of thousands of servals, lions, and leopards. In addition, they have taught over 2,100 children about the importance of jaguar conservation and installed over 30,000 motion-activated cameras to track the movements of threatened cat species. 

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to Panthera through their website or you can set up an online fundraiser to raise money for the charity. In addition, you can support the charity by purchasing items from their online shop

13

Jane Goodall Institute: Conserving the Natural World

Logo for Jane Goodall Institute
Make a Difference with the Jane Goodall Institute

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Their transparency & ratings:

The Jane Goodall Institute holds a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator.

“Everything is connected – everyone can make a difference.”

Jane Goodall Institute

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What they do:

The Jane Goodall Institute utilizes scientific technologies and research techniques to monitor wild chimpanzee habitats. They also train local communities to use mobile mapping technologies, empowering them to actively protect surrounding forests and all their inhabitants. In addition, they rescue wild chimpanzees from crime syndicates and place them in sanctuaries until it is safe to release them back into the wild. Moreover, the charity runs environmental education projects for communities to encourage school children around the world to address local conservation issues through their Roots & Shoots program.

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, the Jane Goodall Institute has rescued and cared for 290 chimpanzees and protected 3.4 million acres of wild habitat. They have also engaged local African communities in 130 conservation education programs and trained 179 local people in the use of forest monitoring techniques. Their Roots & Shoots program has reached over 5,800 schools in 100 countries around the world. 

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to the Jane Goodall Institute through their website. You can also support the charity by becoming a Chimp Guardian or by purchasing items from their online shop.

14

Galapagos Conservancy: Conserving One of the World’s Great Ecological Wonders

Logo for Galapagos Conservancy
We Are Galápagos Conservancy

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Their transparency & ratings:

The Galapagos Conservancy holds a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

“As a leader in direct on-the-ground conservation action, we work with partners to save imperiled species, build a more sustainable society, and rewild the complex ecosystems of the Archipelago”

Galapagos Conservancy

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What they do:

The Galapagos Conservancy protects the inhabitants of the diverse Galapagos Islands through restoration and species conservation. For example, they conduct cutting-edge research in the Galapagos Marine Reserve to better understand native species and their habitats. With this information, they then advocate against illegal fishing practices and formulate management plans to ensure these species survive. They also offer conservation grants to like-minded organizations to support targeted research projects that protect vulnerable Galapagos species, like the endangered pink iguana.

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, the Galapagos Conservancy has remained dedicated to protecting the unique species only found on the Galapagos Islands. For example, since 1998, they have actively protected 76,448sq miles of the Galapagos Marine Reserve, which is home to over 3000 species. And in 2022, the charity rehabilitated and cared for 2,389 tortoises at their breeding centers and supported 135 conservation projects across the islands. In the same year, they trained 430 teachers and taught 7,300 students in conservation. 

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to the Galapagos Conservancy through their website. You can also support the charity by making a gift in honor or by volunteering

15

African Wildlife Foundation: Protecting Africa’s Most Threatened Species

Logo for African Wildlife Foundation
African Wildlife Foundation's Vision for Conservation

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Their transparency & ratings:

The African Wildlife Foundation holds a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator

“Working to ensure wildlife and wildlands thrive in modern Africa.”

African Wildlife Foundation

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What they do:

The African Wildlife Foundation trains law enforcement officers and wildlife rangers to combat wildlife crime and poaching efforts aimed at endangered species such as mountain gorillas and Ethiopian wolves. They also build partnerships with local community leaders to maintain localized conservation projects and utilize their research-based technology, such as GPS collars, to track population trends and seasonal movement patterns of endangered species. For example, they are reforesting Acacia trees in West Africa to provide more food for endangered giraffes and expand their habitat.

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What they’ve achieved:

Today, the African Wildlife Foundation works across 9 African countries to protect the most vulnerable species and conserve their habitats. For example, since 2016, the charity has actively protected over 1.3 million hectares of natural land across Kenya, resulting in the stabilization or increase of 7 out of 8 endangered species populations. Furthermore, in the final quarter of 2021, they recovered over 700 kg of illegal bushmeat and increased wildlife trafficking convictions in Tanzania and Kenya by 100%

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to the African Wildlife Foundation through their website, or you can support the charity by setting up your own fundraiser.

16

Sheldrick Wildlife Trust: Working Across Kenya to Secure Safe Havens for Wildlife

Logo for Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
SWT 2020: Saving Wild Lives - Securing Wild Spaces | Sheldrick Trust

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Their transparency & ratings:

The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust holds a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

“The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust exists to protect Africa’s wildlife and to preserve habitats for the future of all wild species.”

Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

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What they do:

The Sheldrick Wildlife Trusts’ Orphan project has achieved worldwide acclaim for its successful elephant and rhino rescue and rehabilitation program. In conjunction with the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), the charity also runs anti-poaching teams, as well as aerial monitoring units, to apprehend poachers who threaten wildlife in the Greater Tsavo Conservation Area, the Meru National Park, and the Mau Forest. In addition, the charity runs mobile veterinary units and a quick response team to tend to injured wild animals across Kenya.

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust has successfully raised 320 elephants and hand-reared 17 vulnerable rhino calves through their orphan project. They also actively protect over 2 million acres of land across Kenya. For example, in 2022, their veterinary units attended more than 11,000 wildlife injury cases and their anti-poaching teams recovered and destroyed 12,582 snares. In addition, the charity has drilled 32 boreholes and provided 8 water bowsers to distribute millions of liters of water to wild animals in need.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust through their website. You can also symbolically foster an orphaned rhino or elephant in their care or purchase items from their wishlist

Marine Mammal Center: Rescue and Rehabilitation

Logo for The Marine Mammal Center
An Introduction to The Marine Mammal Center

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Their transparency & ratings:

The Marine Mammal Center holds a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator. They also hold the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

“Advancing global ocean conservation through rescue and rehabilitation, scientific research, and education.”

Marine Mammal Center

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What they do:

The Marine Mammal Center runs a 24-hour hotline, responding to calls from the public about marine animals in distress. The animals are then given veterinary care at the sanctuary until they are ready to be released back into the wild. In addition, the charities’ research experts work to create new innovative medical techniques and cures for a range of marine animal illnesses, including leptospirosis and cancer. Moreover, their education programs connect students of all ages with marine mammals to inspire a love of the ocean.

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, the Marine Mammal Center has rescued and rehabilitated over 24,000 marine mammals through the assistance of their 13,000 volunteers. For example, in 2022, they provided more than 111,559 hours of service to rescue and care for sea mammals in need. In the same year, they inspired 22,100 students and visitors through their marine mammal science and conservation courses and conducted 16 whale surveys and training sessions to prevent entanglements in fishing gear. 

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to the Marine Mammal Center through their website. You can also support the charity by volunteering at the center or by symbolically adopting a released seal through their Adopt-a-Seal program

18

The Humane Society: Ending Suffering for All Animals

Logo for The Humane Society
One year later: Blind horse's world is completely changed after being rescued

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Their transparency & ratings:

The Humane Society holds a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator. They also hold the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

“We fight the big fights to end suffering for all animals.”

The Humane Society

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What they do:

The Humane Society fights all forms of industrialized animal cruelty through public awareness campaigns and advocacy by collaborating with governments and like-minded organizations. They also respond to large-scale cruelty cases and disasters, providing rescue, veterinary care, and rehabilitation through their Fund for Animals sanctuaries. Alongside their millions of supporters, the charity directly lobbies against harmful industries such as puppy farms, trophy hunting, and animal cosmetics testing

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, the Humane Society has remained dedicated to ending the suffering of all animals. For example, thanks to the advocacy work of the charity, 10 states have now banned gestation crate use and 14 cities have banned new fur sales. In 2022 alone, over 300 dogs were rescued by the charity; the largest dog fighting bust in South Carolina’s history. In the same year, they distributed $23 million worth of pet supplies and food to animals in need and prevented over 3,000 beagles from entering the testing laboratory. 

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to the Humane Society through their website. You can also support the charity by volunteering or by becoming a Humane Hero.

19

Four Paws International: For Animals Under Direct Human Influence

Logo for Four Paws
2 Million Strong: Ending Dog & Cat Meat Trade in Southeast Asia

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Their transparency & ratings:

Four Paws International holds a 3-star rating from Charity Navigator, as well as the Gold Seal of Transparency from GuideStar. 

“A world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy and understanding.”

Four Paws International

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What they do:

Four Paws International advocates for the improvement of legal standards surrounding the care of captive big cats and bears, as well as calling for bans on trophy hunting, canned lion hunting, and the use of wild animals as circus performers. They do this by liaising with governments around the world to update animal welfare legislation, and by calling for transparency among the companies involved in these activities. Their 12 sanctuaries now care for a vast variety of abused and abandoned animals worldwide, as well as animals that have been rescued from disaster and conflict zones. 

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What they’ve achieved:

Today, Four Paws International works in over 30 countries to improve animal welfare standards worldwide. For example, in 2022, their Bear sanctuary in North Vietnam expanded to care for more than 100 bears rescued from the bear bile industry. In the same year, the charity cared for 143 lions, 300 horses, and 24 apes. In addition, the charity rescued and rehabilitated more than 5000 wild animals in need and provided food for 110,000 cats and dogs in Ukraine

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to Four Paws through their website or show your support by signing any one of their petitions.

20

Defenders of Wildlife: Saving North America’s Wildlife

Impactful Ninja Logo
Defenders of Wildlife

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Their transparency & ratings:

Defenders of Wildlife holds a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar. 

“Dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities.”

Defenders of Wildlife

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What they do:

Defenders of Wildlife works on the ground and with government organizations to protect and preserve North America’s wild places and the species that reside in them. They do this by developing recovery plans for threatened species, and by assisting in the creation of wildlife corridors to mitigate human-wildlife conflict. Furthermore, the charity is working with natural resource managers and planners to implement strategies and adaptive conservation plans to help imperiled species cope with environmental changes caused by climate change

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, Defenders of Wildlife has been at the forefront of wildlife conservation in North America. For example, they have developed over 100 collaborative projects to prevent human-wildlife conflicts with grizzly bears and wolves, which have directly impacted population levels. Furthermore, in 2021 the charity successfully advocated for a 640% expansion of endangered orca habitat across the coasts of Washington, Oregon, and California. In the same year, they transferred 56 endangered Yellowstone bison to tribal lands in Oklahoma and Washington, saving them from slaughter. 

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to Defenders of Wildlife through their website. You can also support the charity by honoring someone special or by shopping to defend.

How Can You Select the Best Charities to Support?

The charities on the list are, we deem, the best animal charities to donate to. However, you may have a particular charity you want to support. Let’s look at what you can do to ensure your contribution has the most significant impact.

  • Check out the charity website. Charities that are worthy of your donations are transparent in their mission and their figures. Familiarize yourself with their history, mission, and values. Their website usually is the best place to start.
  • Identify the charity’s mission. Without a goal, the charity is likely to fail. If the charity’s mission isn’t clear, it’s probably worth looking for a charity that does have a clear mission. 
  • Check if the charity has measurable goals. An effective charity has clear goals. You want to know your donation will help the charity reach its goals. But if it doesn’t have targets, it’s likely to fail or squander your gift. The charity should be able to account for its spending and supply evidence of the work they do.
  • Assess the successes or goals the charity has achieved. You wouldn’t invest in a business if it kept missing its targets. In the same way, charities are like this too. If no one is assessing a charity’s progress in reaching its targets, the chances are they’re not making a substantial positive change.
  • Check the charity’s financials and stats. Trustworthy organizations will publish financial statements and reports each year. Some might be exempt from having to do so, but they should be able to provide them to public members who are interested in donating.
  • Locate sources who work with or benefit from the charity. Word of mouth and first-hand experience of a charity’s work lets you know the charity’s quality. If you’re able to do so, check out the charity for yourself or speak to someone familiar with it. This way, your donation will go to the right place. 

How Can You Best Support These Charities?

After you’ve made your decision, it’s time for you to decide on how you’d like to help the charities you’ve chosen. Check how you can help—each charity runs specific programs that have unique aims. Find out what the aim of such programs is and whether they are right for you. 

Here are a few ways you can help your chosen charity:

  • Donate money. You can find donation pages on the website of most charities. Your donation can be a one-time payment, or you can set it to be deducted regularly at different intervals. You can mostly pay via credit card, but some charities also take PayPal or Bitcoin payments.
  • Buy their official merchandise. Charities can also raise money by selling merchandise. So, you can support them by buying the mugs, shirts, caps, pens, pencils, and any other such items they may be selling. Ideally, you should buy as much as you can to share and spread the word about the charity’s activities.
  • Engage in volunteer work. As you’ve seen from our descriptions above, some charities engage in a lot of local and grassroots programs. You can help by taking on and organizing the program in your local area.
  • Help their fundraising efforts. You can spread the word about the charity in your workplace, school, church, etc., and hold creative fundraising drives on social media or offline within your small circles.
  • Share their stories. Most charities have compelling stories that you can share with your audience to attract more people to the cause.

Final Thoughts

Now it is up to you to select the charity that resonates most with you. And whichever charity you end up choosing and contributing to, we are sure that they will immensely appreciate your support. Hopefully, the information within this article has made this selection process a bit easier for you to support charities dedicated to animals—based on the causes that matter most to you.

Stay impactful,

PS: Finally, I want to leave you with a thought-provoking TED talk from Dan Pallotta, a leading philanthropic activist and fundraiser, about what is wrong with the way we think about charities—and what we can do about it:

The way we think about charity is dead wrong | Dan Pallotta

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