How to Choose the Best Animal Charities

Many animal charities want your money, so take your time in choosing among the best ones and the particular causes they support. Unfortunately, some animal charities are more reputable than others, so do some research before giving your charitable donation.

Types of Animal Charities
Look for internationally renowned charities that have a long history and a positive reputation. Often they will support a specific species (such as endangered animals) or a region (such as a threatened rainforest). Many national animal charities look out for specific community needs concerning animals, such as prevention of animal cruelty, aid to animal shelters or even zoo funding. Find a cause you are passionate about to help you narrow down the choices.

Do Your Research
Before you commit to helping charities, take advantage of the charity watchdog organizations that monitor, rank and otherwise review charitable organizations. Animal Charities of America is a nonprofit group that screens top animal charities in the country. Charitynavigator.org and Give.org are two other groups to review. You can also check with the Better Business Bureau for any complaints against a particular animal charity. When a charity gets an all-clear nod from such watchdog groups, it's generally safe to start helping charities on their lists.

Investigate the group's financing and spending as well. A well-established charity should give at least 75 to 80 percent of its funding toward the main program. Other expenses are generally for administrative costs, education and lobbying efforts.

Quick Tips for Choosing the Best Charity for Animals

  • They have a clearly defined mission.
  • They offer measurable goals, that is, how they measure continued success.
  • They provide a list of achievements that coincide with your interests.
  • They give details about their financial records.
  • They stay away from high-pressure fundraising tactics.
  • They send out professional literature and have an informative Web site.

Animal charities often tug at the heart-strings in an effort to get your donations, so try to look past that to how the charity operates and how they will use your money for their cause.

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