There are so many animal welfare charities out there, all doing great work saving, helping, and re-homing pets, and all asking for your support. But how do you decide which ones will really value and make good use of your money? Learn useful tips for selecting the best animal welfare groups for you.
More than 23 million American households—that’s practically 1 in 5 families—adopted a pet during the pandemic, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). Even the White House got a new pup when the Bidens adopted Commander!
Perhaps You Got a Pandemic Puppy as Well
Little Benny was huddled in a kennel, frightened. A pointer/lab/beagle mix, he was cute as a button and in desperate need of loving companionship and a caring home. His floppy ears loved being scratched, and he adored kids. Hounds2Home, the rescue organization caring for him, was accepting applications. He was adorable! You applied, and after being granted a “Meet & Greet,” your application was approved, and you took Benny home. And now you want to support Hounds2Home Rescue because they did such a great job bringing you and your new best friend together!
Choosing how to support animal welfare organizations is not always so straightforward. Maybe you are an animal lover, but due to a variety of circumstances, you cannot actually house a pet. Instead, you choose to find an organization worthy of your support. BUT THERE ARE SO MANY! There are national groups such as the ASPCA, but then there are also thousands of smaller regional and local groups who do great work.
What Should I Look for in a Nonprofit?
If you are looking to support animal welfare, here is a list of the top eight expert tips for deciding which charities to support this year.
1. Conduct Research
Before you offer money to any charitable organization, take some time to do your research. Figure out which organizations align with your values and make the most impact.
There are many great charities out there, but that does not mean they are the right fit for you. So, how can you decide?
- Make a list of the organizations you are aware of and decide if you prefer to make an impact locally or more broadly.
- Be realistic about how much you can donate.
- Do your homework and read up on different animal welfare groups, rescues, and shelters.
- Examine the overhead costs of various organizations.
- Ask friends and family for recommendations.
- See if there is a way to volunteer with the nonprofit of your choice.
- Consider how well they communicate goals and results.
- Think about the long-term impact of your donation.
- Ask questions! The more you know, the better decisions you will make.
2. Consider Your Budget
There are many organizations out there that are doing amazing work, and you do not need to spread your money thin by supporting them all. Instead, take some time to find a few animal welfare organizations that are the best fit for you and your family.
Don’t be afraid to get creative with how you give back, either. There are many ways to offer support, from donating money and goods to volunteering your time and skills.
3. Consider the Size of the Organization
When you are looking at different nonprofits to support, it is important to consider the size of the group, rescue, or shelter. Are they a small grassroots organization or a national charity with a big budget?
There are pros and cons to both. Smaller organizations may be more personal and have a direct impact on the community they serve, but they may also be limited in their capabilities. Larger groups may have more resources, but they can also be less accountable and harder to track how your money is being spent.
4. Consider Effectiveness
While deciding which groups to support, you should consider how effective they are. After all, no one wants his hard-earned money to go to waste. So, how do you determine effectiveness? There are a few things to look for:
- Wellness: Are they efficient with their money? Do they have good governance structures in place?
- Effectiveness: Are they making a difference in the world or community? Do they have a solid plan for how they are going to achieve their goals?
- Use of Donations: Some charities have high administrative costs, and that means that your donation may not be directly affecting an animal’s day-to-day quality of life.
5. Consider Transparency
Consider how much information you can find about the organization, rescue, or shelter online. Learn how much of their budget is allocated to administrative expenses versus specifics like medical care, food, and housing.
Charity Navigator is a great resource for evaluating nonprofits. It has a rating system that ranges from one to four stars, and it breaks down how each charity scores in seven different areas. It is a great way to look at overall performance.
6. Consider the Mission
The organization’s mission is the goal it is attempting to achieve. It is something you both care deeply about.
For example, some animal rescues focus on re-homing cats and dogs in general while others focus on caring for older dogs or difficult-to-place dogs. Most shelters house animals hoping to reunite them with owners, but some also perform euthanasia when they become full.
7. Consider Track Record
Of course, you should also make sure that the organization you’re choosing is reputable and has a good track record to ensure your money will be used wisely. Has it made a positive difference in the lives of the animals it has helped? Are there obvious achievements in their history?
8. Consider Location
The location matters because while there are many wonderful animal welfare organizations around the world, contributions to a foreign organization are not tax-deductible. It may be worth exploring where the organization is registered to be sure you can take full advantage come tax time.
Follow Your Heart…Wisely
As humans, it feels good to support organizations that are in alignment with our values. It is fulfilling to think that what cannot be done alone can potentially be done via a group of dedicated people who have developed the many nonprofits that help pets and animals all over the world. There is power in numbers, right?
There are plenty of resources out there that can help you make an informed decision. Take some time to do your research, and then choose the organization that speaks to your heart. Be sure to consult with your financial advisor about any ongoing or legacy donations you may want to include in your estate plan.
Written by Lafond Wanda. Exclusively for Merriman.com.
Lafond Wanda is a professional content writer, copywriter, content strategist, and communications consultant. She started young with her writing career from being a high school writer to a university editor, and now she is a writer in professional writing platforms Rated by Students and Top Writing Reviews—her years of expertise have honed her skills to create compelling and results-driven content every single time.
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