25 Best Animal Charities to Donate To This Holiday Season

25 Best Animal Charities to Donate To This Holiday Season

30th Nov 2019

It’s hard to deny that animals make the world a better place to live. This holiday season consider giving to a charity in the name of the animal loving people on your list. Here’s a list of 25 incredible animal charities that would be grateful to receive donations, which you can deduct from your taxes, - it’s a win-win.

1. African Wildlife Foundation

Based in Nairobi, Kenya — with offices in Washington, D.C. — the African Wildlife Foundation was founded in 1961 to work for wildlife conservation, land and habitat protection, community empowerment, and economic development in Africa.

AWF protects a variety of species — including many facing extinction — by helping local people and wildlife learn to live together. Some of the foundation’s work includes training rangers, using sniffer dogs and empowering communities.

Almost 87 cents of every dollar donated goes toward conservation programs in Africa. During the 2016 fiscal year, AWF had 12.3 million acres of land under improved conservation management and supported research and conservation projects for 60 species.


In 2017 and early 2018, AWF’s canine units made over 100 busts, uncovering raw and worked ivory, pangolin scales and skins, lion bones, sable antelope horns, rhino horns, hippo teeth, and more.

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2. Best Friends Animal Society

Since its founding in 1984, Best Friends Animal Society has helped reduce the number of pets killed in U.S. animal shelters by 91 percent. Located right along the Utah-Arizona border, the Utah-based organization has a sanctuary for unwanted pets in the scenic Angel Canyon — just outside the city of Kanab — which typically houses approximately 1,600 dogs, cats, horses, mules, birds, rabbits, goats, pigs and more.

A leader in the no-kill movement, BFAS has been touted as one of the best pet rescue groups to support due to their goal of making every animal shelter in the U.S. no-kill by 2025. If you’re looking to adopt a pet, visit a Best Friends Pet Adoption Center in Los Angeles, New York, Atlanta, Salt Lake City or one of the almost 2,000 rescue organizations and shelters in its No More Homeless Pets Network.

3. Animal Welfare Institute

Founded in 1951, the Animal Welfare Institute works to reduce animal cruelty in many forms, such as animals being used for experimentation, cruel slaughterhouses, and the torture of fur-bearing animals via steel jaw leg-holds and wire snares. Based in Washington, D.C., this charity also strives to protect endangered species and their natural habitats, among other initiatives.

Known for putting the majority of their funding back into action, a breakdown of the Animal Welfare Institute’s spending puts program expenses at 90 percent, administrative costs at 8 percent, and fundraising overheads at just 2 percent.

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4. Snow Leopard Trust

The Snow Leopard Trust works to protect this endangered cat in five of the 12 countries the animal can be found in — China, India, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia and Pakistan — which contain 75 percent of the world’s population of the species. Founded in 1981, the SLT serves as the top global authority on the study and protection of the endangered snow leopard.

Headquartered in Seattle, some of the Trust’s initiatives in 2016 included training 40 wildlife rangers, educating 5,000 herder families in community conservation programs and sending 300 children to eco-camps.

Snow Leopard Trust✔@snowleopards

Happy #IndependenceDay, #Kyrgyzstan!

5. The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International

The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund was founded in 1967 to help conserve and protect African gorillas and their natural African habitats. To support their cause, the organization promotes the continued research on gorillas and their endangered ecosystems, provides education on the significance of these animals, and offers assistance to local communities. Headquartered in Atlanta, the charity has thus far prevented the extinction of the mountain gorilla.

The Gorilla Fund is one of the best charities to donate to because 87 percent of every dollar donated goes toward the nonprofit’s programs. The 1987 film “Gorillas in the Mist” shared the story of Dian Fossey — portrayed by Sigourney Weaver, who received an Oscar nod for her role — and generated $61.1 million at theaters worldwide, according to

Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund✔@SavingGorillas

Young silverback Segasira enjoys a nice rest. He's definitely living his best gorilla life!

6. Friends of Animals

Based in Darien, Conn., Friends of Animals has been protecting animals throughout the world from cruelty and exploitation since 1957. Advocating for the affordable spaying and neutering of household pets is a cornerstone of its mission.

Friends of Animals operates the only nationwide breeding control program in the U.S. Widely heralded as one of the best animal charities, it has facilitated the spaying and neutering of more than 2.5 million animals since its founding.

Additionally, Friends of Animals has partnered with Primarily Primates to create a sanctuary for mistreated and abandoned animals. The organization also assists in anti-poaching initiatives in Africa, runs a Wildlife Law Program to defend wildlife and their habitats, leads anti-fur campaigns and provides animal rights education.

Friends of Animals@FoAorg

#Update: We have filed a legal brief in federal court asserting that USFWS is contributing to a decline of #elephants + opening the door to #hunters with two new policies that were issued without public notice:

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7. Humane Farming Association

Humane Farming Association was founded in 1985 to protect farm animals in the U.S. from cruelty and abuse; guard the public from the mishandling of antibiotics, hormones and other chemical substances commonly used on family farms; and safeguard the environment from the effects of industrialized animal factories.

Based in San Rafael, Calif., donations fund the group’s anti-cruelty investigations, legislation, media campaigns, and hands-on emergency care and refuse for abused farm animals. Deemed the most successful animal rights boycott in the U.S. by The New York Times, the group’s National Veal Boycott has reduced annual veal consumption from a high of 3.4 million calves to the current level of well below 500,000.

8. EcoHealth Alliance

EcoHealth Alliance is committed to protecting wildlife and public health from the rise of disease. Based in New York City, the organization was founded in 1971 and is formerly known as Wildlife Trust. It works in the U.S. and more than 20 countries across the world on a variety of projects, including those in the biosurveillance, deforestation and pandemic prevention categories.

The nonprofit’s “One Health” approach makes it stand out from the crowd, as this multidisciplinary method strives to solve health issues caused by global changes and human-animal interactions. If you choose to donate on World Animal Day, your funds will assist EcoHealth Alliance’s programs and outreach to protect wildlife, environmental and public health worldwide.

9. The Marine Mammal Center

Headquartered in Sausalito, Calif., The Marine Mammal Center has rescued and treated more than 20,000 marine animals — mainly elephant seals, harbor seals and California sea lions — since its founding in 1975. The hospital has the capacity to treat up to 200 marine mammals at once, and at least 800 per year.

In addition to rescuing and rehabilitating sick and injured sea mammals, the organization’s researchers study the animals, publishing their findings in peer-reviewed scientific journals. The nonprofit also provides educational programs to approximately 100,000 visitors to its Sausalito headquarters each year. Donations benefit the foundation’s marine mammal patients.

10. Wildlife Conservation Society

As one of the best animal charities, the Wildlife Conservation Society uses its donations to help save wildlife and habitats throughout the world. Founded in 1895 — then named the New York Zoological Society — this animal charity uses science, conservation efforts and education to make a difference. By 2020, it aims to conserve the largest wild places on Earth in 16 priority regions, which is home to more than 50 percent of global biodiversity.

Headquartered in the Bronx, N.Y., 85 percent of the charity’s fiscal year 2016 expenses were spent on programming for its parks — the Bronx Zoo, Central Park Zoo, Queens Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo and the New York Aquarium — and the field.

11. PetSmart Charities

If you’re searching for dog rescue charities for World Animal Day, PetSmart Charities could be a great option. With a commitment to end pet homelessness, the organization invests $45 million in more than 3,000 animal welfare groups across North America, including all 50 states and Canada. The charity was founded in 1994 and is headquartered in Phoenix.

In 2015, PetSmart Charities funded more than 214,000 spay and neuter surgeries and provided emergency relief to more than 9,200 pets. The nonprofit used 90 cents of every dollar to help pets, making it one of the best animal charities.

12. Performing Animal Welfare Society

The Performing Animal Welfare Society was founded in 1984 to protect performing animals, giving those that are abandoned, abused and retired a peaceful place to live. The organization ensures captive wildlife is kept under the best standards of care while educating the public about issues that impact captive wildlife and lobbying the USDA and Congress for the passage of legislation to protect these animals.

PAWS garnered over $1.2 million in donations during 2017, which support its sanctuary operations and the daily care of animals. The charity is headquartered in Galt, Calif.

13. National Fish and Wildlife Foundation

Established by Congress in 1984, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation partners with the public and private sectors to protect fish, wildlife, plants, and habitats in all 50 states and U.S. territories. Based in Washington, D.C., the NFWF has completed more than 16,500 projects since its founding and raised more than $4.8 billion in funding. Only seven percent of the budget goes toward administrative costs, leaving 93 percent for programs expenses.

14. Ruffed Grouse Society

Based in Coraopolis, Pa., the Ruffed Grouse Society strives to enhance the woodland habitat of the ruffed grouse, American woodcock and other types of wildlife in North America. Founded in 1961, RGS also runs an Under Broken Wings program that gives disabled kids the opportunity to grouse hunt.

The charity’s total revenue for 2016 reached $4.2 million, including $833,983 in donations and $619,816 in membership dues. Donations can be made to the general fund or you can opt to direct your contribution to a specific cause supported by the nonprofit.

15. The Jane Goodall Institute

A global nonprofit, the Jane Goodall Institute is committed to increasing the understanding, welfare and conservation of apes and improving the planet. Specifically, the charity supports conservation efforts in East Africa and the Congo Basin.

Some of the charity’s projects include 3.4 million acres of habit covered under Conservation Action Plans, 130 community programs and 290 chimpanzees and gorillas under care in a sanctuary managed or supported by the nonprofit. Founded in 1977, JGI’s U.S. headquarters is located in Vienna, Va. Donations help protect chimpanzees and conserve natural resources.

16. Pollinator Partnership

Founded in 1997, the Pollinator Partnership is the largest nonprofit in the world committed to protecting pollinators and their ecosystems and promoting conservation efforts. Headquartered in San Francisco, the charity works throughout North America and globally to safeguard birds, bees, bats, butterflies, moths, beetles and other pollinators.

The charity’s work has resulted in many notable accomplishments, including issuing the first scientific-based report proving the major pollinator decline in North America in 2006. If you choose to donate on World Animal Day, your funds will benefit the pollinators protected by the nonprofit.

17. WildAid

WildAid is committed to putting an end to the illegal wildlife trade. Based in San Francisco, WildAid works to convince consumers not to buy wildlife products.

The nonprofit garners nearly $300 million per year in pro bono support from the media. In addition, it has a 100 percent rating on Charity Navigator, so you can be confident your World Animal Day donation is going to a good cause.

18. Turtle Island Restoration Network

Going strong in its current form since 1987, the Turtle Island Restoration Project rescues sharks, marine mammals and seabirds from a variety of threats, including climate change, industrial overfishing, and the destruction of coastal and riverine habitat. Based in Forest Knolls, Calif., the nonprofit mainly focuses on protecting oceans and marine wildlife and saving California’s endangered coho salmon.

Some of its numerous accomplishments include shutting down a Mexican sea turtle slaughterhouse — saving 50,000 sea turtles per year — and rescuing 15,000 coho and steelhead trout since 1990. Donations help fund the charity’s work for sea turtles, whales and marine wildlife worldwide.

Adrian Ciurea /

19. Bat Conservation International

Bat Conservation International strives to protect the more than 1,300 species of bats and their habitats worldwide. During the next five years, BCI plans to work to respond to bat conservation crises quickly and effectively to help prevent the extinction of at-risk bats and the bat population as a whole.

Based in Austin, Texas, BCI was founded in 1982, and since then the organization has saved the lives of millions of bats, assisted in major conservation efforts, supported training for graduate students in 62 countries and trained hundreds of wildlife managers from more than 20 countries.

Donations help the group fund bat conservation and education projects worldwide, such as research and conservation efforts at wind-energy sites to reduce the number of bat fatalities.

Bonnie Taylor Barry /

20. American Bird Conservancy

The American Bird Conservancy is committed to saving native birds and their habitats across the Americas. Since its founding in 1994, the organization and its partners have planted more than 5.1 million trees in 12 countries as part of habitat restoration efforts. In 2016 alone, ABC and its partners assisted with more than 60 projects in 10 countries.

Headquartered in The Plains, Va., ABC spent more than $10 million on bird conservation programs and $801,213 on education and outreach in 2016, according to its annual report. Your donations help save birds and their habitats throughout the Americas.

Branislav Nenin /

21. Wags and Walks

Unlike many other animal rescue groups, Wags and Walks saves dogs of all sizes, ages and breeds. Based in Los Angeles, this nonprofit was founded in 2011 by Lesley Brog, to help decrease the number of dogs euthanized in shelters.

Since its inception, Wags and Walks has saved the lives of more than 3,000 rescue dogs; they found forever homes for 740 pooches in 2017 alone. One of the most heartwarming animal charities out there, all donations go towards helping rescue homeless dogs from shelters and providing them with medical care, food and boarding.

Melissa Sue /

22. The Humane Society of the United States

The leading animal advocacy organization in the country, The Humane Society of the United States helps more than 100,000 animals per year. The nonprofit’s work includes animal rescue and care, animal advocacy, and providing training and services to local shelters and rescue groups.

Some of the Humane Society’s top accomplishments include lobbying to make malicious animal cruelty and dogfighting a felony in all 50 states, lowering the euthanasia rate for healthy, adoptable cats and dogs by 80 percent since the 1970s and working with several leading department stores and designers to go fur-free.

Established in 1954, the group is headquartered in Washington, D.C. Donations help protect animals suffering from cruelty and neglect.

Lena Ivanova /

23. Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation

Based in Sherman Oaks, Calif., the Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation was established in 2011 to focus solely on rescuing abused and neglected animals. Many animals cared for by the group have been beaten, kicked, shot, run over or used for gang initiations.

Under the direction of founder Marc Ching, the nonprofit has also become a leader in ending the brutal dog meat trade in Asia. He regularly embarks on rescue trips to Asia, going undercover at slaughterhouses in an attempt to save dogs and raise awareness of the issue.

Scharfsinn /

24. Dogs Without Borders

Dogs Without Borders is a Los Angeles-based rescue organization. Powered by volunteers, the nonprofit has saved the lives of more than 4,000 dogs since it was founded in 2006.

If you live in the area and are thinking about pet adoption, consider working with the group. You can even foster a dog to get to know them first, and all supplies — including food, flea medication, leash, collar, tags and vet bills — are covered.

Donations help keep this rescue afloat. You can give cash on World Animal Day or purchase supplies from their Amazon wishlist.

Crystal Alba /

25. RedRover

Established in 1987, RedRover works to bring animals out of crisis and strengthen their bond with humans. Based in Sacramento, Calif., this charity provides emergency sheltering, disaster relief services, financial assistance and education. The nonprofit doesn’t have a permanent animal shelter, but it provides resources and support to people who need assistance caring for animals. Your donation will help animals in imminent crisis and support those who have nowhere else to turn for help to support their animals.

Barri Segal contributed to the reporting for this article.