The Best Animal Charities You Should Know About

The Best Animal Charities You Should Know About
Paul Souders / Getty Images

Want to truly make a difference in the lives of animals all around the globe? Consider making a donation to a charity that serves animals! You get to help homeless, endangered, and at-risk animals and get an extra tax write-off. It's a win-win, right?

Choosing the right charity can be tough -- How much of the charity's proceeds really go to the animals? Which charity will have the greatest impact? -- so we've done the work for you. Check out these nine charities that benefit domestic animals, farm animals, endangered and at-risk species, aquatic life and more!  

  • 01 of 09

    Your Local Shelter or Rescue

    The Best Animal Charities You Should Know About
    Smiling dog


    A quick Google search can help you find animal shelters and rescues in your area. Shelters and rescues most commonly serve cats and dogs, but some take in other domesticated animals, like rabbits, hamsters, or guinea pigs, too.

    If you can't afford to make a financial contribution, consider donating some gently used goods or volunteer time! Call ahead to see what your local shelters or rescues need most, but blankets, toys, food, and cleaning products are almost always needed. 

  • 02 of 09

    Best Friends Animal Society

    The Best Animal Charities You Should Know About
    Cats at play


    Founded over 30 years ago, Best Friends Animal Society is the United States' largest no-kill shelter for companion animals such as cats, dogs, and horses.

    Best Friends Animal Society not only offers shelter to homeless pets in Los Angeles, Atlanta, New York, and Utah, but it also works with local shelters to teach people about the need for spay and neuter, breed discrimination, and puppy mills. Their goal? To reduce the number of animals killed in shelters each year and, eventually, to "save them all". 

  • 03 of 09

    The Humane Society

    The Best Animal Charities You Should Know About
    Seal pup -- Alaska, Bering Sea 

    The Humane Society is one of the most well-known animal welfare programs in the world, and for good reason: Not only does the Humane Society have a number of programs designed to support domesticated animals, but they've launched initiatives against wildlife hunting, animal testing, and factory farming, too. 

    Some of the Humane Society's accomplishments include shutting down puppy mills, strengthening laws regarding animal welfare and providing care and protection to animals in need through their veterinary and rehabilitation centers, wildlife support units, and Animal Rescue Team.  

  • 04 of 09

    Farm Sanctuary

    The Best Animal Charities You Should Know About
    Sheep on a farm


    With sanctuaries in Watkins Glen, New York, Los Angeles and Orland, California, Farm Sanctuary provides shelter and care to animals rescued from factory farming operations. In fact, Farm Sanctuary is the United States' first shelter for farm animals.

    Farm Sanctuary not only provides shelter to over 1,000 rescued farm animals, but promotes law and policy changes to support animals farmed for food, educates the public on welfare issues surrounding factory farms, and offers volunteer opportunities at each sanctuary location. 

    Continue to 5 of 9 below.
  • 05 of 09

    Friends of Animals

    The Best Animal Charities You Should Know About
    3 monkeys


    Established in New York City in 1957, Friends of Animals' original goal was to protect cats and dogs by offering spay and neuter procedures and they have achieved that goal: It's estimated that the organization has assisted in the spaying and neutering of over 2.5 million pets. 

    Since its founding, Friends of Animals has taken an active role in advocating against animal homelessness, testing, hunting, and fur-collecting, as well as protecting and supporting wildlife and wildlife habitats around the world. 

  • 06 of 09

    David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

    The Best Animal Charities You Should Know About
    Adopt an Orphan

    David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust 

    Operating one of the world's largest sanctuaries for orphaned elephants, giraffes, and rhinos, the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust promotes the conservation, preservation, and protection of wildlife through anti-poaching and educational initiatives.

    Want to "adopt" an orphaned animal? The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust offers a digital foster program where you can support an elephant, giraffe, or rhino in need! If you pledge $50 or more, you'll receive monthly updates about your foster animal (or animals) and a custom watercolor of your foster handmade by the organization's CEO, Angela Sheldrick.

  • 07 of 09


    The Best Animal Charities You Should Know About


    Did you know only 4% of the world's oceans remain unaffected by human activity? Overfishing, pollution, and the loss of sea life have devastated the ocean's ecosystems–and much of the world's food supply. 

    Oceana, an organization aimed at protecting the ocean and boosting the world's food supply, uses science-based facts and global education to advocate change, promote laws and policies designed to protect the oceans, and reduce pollution.  

  • 08 of 09

    World Wildlife Fund

    The Best Animal Charities You Should Know About

    Todorov.pedar.p/Wikimedia Commons CC by SA-4.0)

    With over five million supporters and a presence in over 100 countries worldwide, the World Wildlife Fund (aka the World Wide Fund for Nature) is, perhaps, one of the best-known advocacy groups on the planet. Their platform is the preservation of wildlife and reduction of human impact on the environment–and they've made a serious impact Since 1995, the WWF has invested over $1 billion in conservation initiatives.

    Today, the WWF's focus is on restoring 36 different species, such as elephants, tunas, and whales, among others, and reducing the ecological footprint in six key areas, like carbon emissions and fishing. 

    Continue to 9 of 9 below.
  • 09 of 09

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

    The Best Animal Charities You Should Know About cats and dogs

    CC0 Public Domain/PXHere.xom 

    Founded in 1866, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (otherwise known as the ASPCA) was North America's very first humane society–and they've maintained their platform of cruelty prevention ever since. In fact, the ASPCA has helped over 47,000 animals, performed over 89,000 spay and neuter procedures, and donated $12 million to other animal welfare programs.