TABLE OF CONTENTS
Nature is in trouble. According to the UN Global Assessment Report, it is being destroyed at a rate tens to hundreds of times higher than the average over the past 10 million years. For example, the biomass of wild mammals has fallen by 82%, natural ecosystems have lost about half their area and a million species are at risk of extinction.
From deforestation to increasing ocean temperatures, human activity threatens delicate ecosystems that are vital to the health of all life on earth. Animal and environmental nonprofits are critical to addressing these issues. As first responders, clinics, research initiatives, shelters, and leaders of education programs – animal charities are taking action to protect the animals as well as the environment.
Wild animals aren’t the only ones in danger too. The situation is also concerning when it comes to companion animals. One of the largest challenges facing animal welfare organizations today is the sheer number of companion animals in need of assistance. Every year, approximately 6.3 million companion animals arrive at one of the community animal shelters nationwide. Needless to say, increased investment in animal nonprofits is greatly needed.
Below we list trustworthy animal nonprofits ranked highly by Charity Navigator (a free online nonprofit assessment service). We also listed several other animal charities with formidable impact reports, trusted by many donors and grant-giving organizations.
Below is a list of the best animal nonprofits that you can donate to:
ASPCA’s mission, as stated by ASPCA founder Henry Bergh in 1866, is “to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States.” The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals® (ASPCA®) was the first humane society to be established in North America and is, today, one of the largest in the world. To this day, they have assisted over 545,000 animals.
The ASPCA assists animals in need through:
- direct medical care
- on-the-ground disaster and cruelty interventions
- behavioral rehabilitation
- animal placement
- legal and legislative advocacy
- advancement of the sheltering and veterinary community through research, training, and resources
The ASPCA works to keep more animals in loving homes by protecting animals from harmful situations through community engagement, preventative action, and providing resources and care when needed.
2. Best Friends Animal Society
In 1984, a group of friends who have been leading advocacy and rescue work for years decided to realize a vision that they had long shared: to create a sanctuary for abandoned and abused animals. Thirty years later Best Friends has grown into a big movement aiming to “save them all”. They want to make every shelter and every community “no-kill” by 2025.
Best Friends is leading the “no-kill” movement by:
- running lifesaving community programs for dogs and cats
- providing support and training for animal shelters and rescue groups
- mobilizing community members on behalf of pets in need across the country
Today, they work with national network partners and pet lifesaving centers.
3. The Humane Society
The Humane Society “fights the big fights to end suffering for all animals”. They are focused on ending the worst forms of institutionalized animal suffering. To accomplish this, they work with governments, as well as the private sector and multinational corporations and organizations. They run public awareness and consumer education campaigns. They respond to large-scale cruelty cases and disasters around the world, providing rescue, hands-on care, logistics, and expertise when animals are caught in crises. Finally, through partnerships, training, support, collaboration, and more, they’re expanding the capacity of animal welfare advocates and organizations in the United States and globally.
They have the world’s greatest roster of experts in animal welfare, rescuers and caregivers with years of experience, state directors working on animal issues around the country, and passionate advocates pushing for policy change, as well as several affiliated animal sanctuaries providing direct care and medical help for animals in need.
4. World Wildlife Fund
WWF envisions a future in which people live in harmony with nature. To achieve this, they work to:
- conserve and restore biodiversity
- reduce humanity’s environmental footprint
- ensure the sustainable use of natural resources to support current and future generations
Their new strategy puts people at the center and organizes their work around six key areas: forests, marine, freshwater, wildlife, food, and climate. They work globally at every level—in the field, in the local community, as well as with governments and big businesses. They focus on actively engaging a variety of stakeholders—in business, civil society, and academia. They are the world’s leading conservation organization and work in 100 countries around the globe.
5. Animal Welfare Institute
The Animal Welfare Institute was founded in 1951 with the mission to alleviate the suffering inflicted on animals by humans. In the beginning, the organization worked to end the cruel treatment of animals in experimental laboratories, but later their work expanded. AWI promotes strong enforcement of laws to protect companion animals. They develop resources to help law enforcement officials prosecute animal abusers and help social service agencies address the relationship between animal cruelty and family violence. Furthermore, the organization seeks an end to cruel methods of housing, handling, transporting, and slaughtering farm animals. They promote pasture-based farming systems that allow animals to express natural behaviors, as an alternative to factory farming. Also, AWI works to strengthen national and international wildlife protection and foster humane, nonlethal solutions to conflicts with wildlife, and fosters species-appropriate housing, compassionate care and handling, and minimization of fear, distress, and pain for animals in research.
6. The American Humane Society
The American Humane Society was founded in 1877 when delegates from 27 humane organizations from 10 US states joined together. American Humane Society envisions a nation where no child or animal will ever be a victim of willful abuse or neglect.
They also issue animal welfare certifications to ensure the humane treatment of animals.
The American Humane Society also boasts the slogan “First to Serve”. They aim to be the first to serve animals whenever and wherever animals are in need. Their emergency first-response units and rescue vehicles are deployed to help animals in times of crisis. Furthermore, their American Humane’s Pet Provider program assesses the condition, well-being, and welfare of small mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates, and aquatic life at pet provider locations and animal suppliers.
7. Humane League
The Humane League states as their mission “We exist to end the abuse of animals raised for food.” They began as a small grassroots organization in 2005—protesting foie gras in Philadelphia but have since grown into a global organization. The Humane League runs large campaigns targeting big corporations. So far, they have managed to get over 400 companies in the US to commit to eliminating eggs from caged hens. They have distributed over 7 million veg eating guides and distributed over 2 million in grants.
A lot of their work focuses on campaigning for better conditions for animals being raised for food, ending some of the cruelest practices in the industry. The organization works a lot on educating the public. Over 10 million people in 2021 have seen some of the undercover factory farming footage on their website. In 2021, THL UK lobbied the UK Government to improve the slaughter legislation for farmed fish, giving fish the same protection that land animals have. They also conduct actionable interdisciplinary research to inform their strategies.
8. Jane Goodall Foundation
In July 1960, at the age of 26, Jane Goodall traveled from England to what is now Tanzania and took an unorthodox approach in her field research, immersing herself in their habitat and the lives of chimpanzees. The rest is history.
Today, the goal of the Jane Goodall Institute is to preserve African great apes and their habitats, with an emphasis on chimpanzees. The organization supports sanctuaries and law enforcement efforts to reduce illegal trafficking. The Foundation also works to inform the public about the importance of protecting endangered species in the wild. One of the main goals of the Foundation is to contribute to the preservation of great apes and their habitats by combining conservation with education and the promotion of sustainable livelihoods in local communities. GL has also built a Forest Watcher app that makes it easier to download, locate, verify and report on forest loss alerts, and developed an online course for their youth action program.
9. Snow Leopard Trust
Snow Leopard Trust was founded in 1981 by Helen Freeman. The Snow Leopard Trust aims to protect snow leopards through community-based conservation projects that are based on a scientific understanding of snow leopard behavior, needs, habitats, and threats. The Snow Leopard Trust has partners and staff members in China, India, the Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, and Pakistan as well as in the United States and Europe. They also launched the Snow Leopard Enterprises, an award-winning, conservation-focused handicrafts brand that helps create sustainable economic opportunities for families in snow leopard habitat and reduces the motivation behind poaching.
To reduce the motivation behind poaching and retaliation killing, the organization also runs a livestock insurance program that gives local communities access to compensation for animals lost. The Snow Leopard Trust is also partnering with the Kyrgyz government to better train and recognize law enforcement officials, protected area rangers, and local community members in the snow leopard habitat for their fight against poachers.
10. Pollinator Partnership
Pollinator Partnership is the largest nonprofit organization in the world dedicated exclusively to the protection and promotion of pollinators and their ecosystems. Pollinator Partnership’s mission is to promote the health of pollinators, critical to food and ecosystems, through conservation, education, and research.So far, they have impacted over 30 million acres of agricultural landscapes through research and influenced over 280,000 acres of managed timberland to support honey bees and native bees.
The organization has created the BeeSmart™ School Garden Kit, which is geared towards students in grades 3-6 – over 200 Kits have been distributed over the past 2 years, as well as the BeeSmart™ Gardener App.
RSPCA is the world's oldest and largest animal welfare charity, with the primary focus on rescuing, rehabilitating, and rehoming or releasing animals across England and Wales. They’ve been operating since 1824. They have rehoming centers, wildlife rehabilitators, and animal hospitals which are funded by donations to the national RSPCA, as well as their local branches. These separately-registered charities work under guidelines set by the national RSPCA and are primarily funded by local donors. They have over 150 branches that are run as separately-registered charities to the national RSPCA.
They work to:
- campaign to change animal welfare laws
- engage at an industry level to effect change for animals in laboratories
- improve farm animal welfare
- educate young people and adults about the needs of animals
- provide up-to-date, scientifically-backed advice and information about the needs of animals
RSPCA was the first organization to introduce a law to protect animals.
12. Friends of Animals
Friends of Animals (FoA) is an international nonprofit animal advocacy organization incorporated in the state of New York in 1957. The organization advocates for the rights of nonhuman animals, free-living and domestic. Their goal is to free animals from cruelty and institutionalized exploitation around the world.
Friends of Animals has started as the most comprehensive low-cost spay-neuter program in the US but has grown since. It now places critical habitat, wildlife protection, and veganism at the core of animal advocacy. FoA is on the front of providing sanctuary for animals that were victims of exploitation in the exotic pet trade and research and entertainment industry. Their advocacy work includes legal initiatives as well as policy and legislative outreach on such issues as banning fur sales and prohibiting trophy imports.
13. Alley Cat Allies
The mission of Alley Cat Allies is to transform and develop communities to protect and improve the lives of cats. Alley Cat Allies connects experts, grassroots organizers, attorneys, and researchers, to pursue three main goals:
Reforming public policies related to cats
Alley Cat Allies educates, trains, and mobilizes grassroots advocates to hasten strategic, lifesaving change for cats in their communities.
Saving the lives of cats in shelters
Alley Cat Allies works with shelters to implement systemic change, transparency, and accountability within the U.S. animal control system to end the killing of cats.
Changing attitudes toward cats
Alley Cat Allies works to inspire a shift in society’s view of cats—all cats—through education and accurate information.
Among other initiatives, they also run the Trap-Neuter-Release program. In a Trap-Neuter-Return program, community cats are humanely trapped (with box traps), brought to a veterinarian to be spayed or neutered, vaccinated, ear-tipped (the universal sign that a community cat has been neutered and vaccinated), and then returned to their outdoor home.
14. Marine Mammal Center
The Marine Mammal Center is leading the field in ocean conservation through marine mammal rescue, veterinary medicine, science, and education. They are guided and inspired by a shared vision of a healthy ocean for marine mammals and humans alike.
Since 1975, they've rescued more than 24,000 marine mammals along 600 miles of California coastline and the Big Island of Hawai’i. Their veterinary experts develop new clinical techniques to improve marine mammal rehabilitation and care. Each year, their education programs and hands-on training reach more than 100,000 children and adults.
Support Animal Nonprofits Making a Difference
With so many animals in desperate need of care, donating to nonprofits that care for animals and therefore our common habitat is sorely needed! To support animal nonprofits making a difference, consider donating them your time and/or money. If you’re an animal nonprofit looking for ways to increase your donations and ensure financial sustainability for your charity, the simplest thing to do is to set up online fundraising forms with an online donation platform like GiveForms.
Then, all you need to do is share the link, and the rest is taken care of. The process becomes hassle-free for both you and your donors. Online donation forms are also shareable, which increases your chances of reaching your fundraising goals!