5 Tips for Animal Rescue Donations

‘Tis the season of giving and non-profit groups all over the world are asking for your money. It can be extremely overwhelming and sometimes it’s hard to know who to support and how to research the organizations you might be considering as recipients of your charitable donations. 

Before you click on the donate button, open your checkbook or sign up for a volunteer shift with any organization, I highly recommend that you clarify your goals, values and areas of interest AND research any organizations you are considering for your charitable support. 

Because this is a dog blog, and for the purposes of this post, I am going to discuss how to select animal rescue, advocacy and welfare groups for donations, but the tips below are applicable for any charitable giving you are planning at any time of the year. 

Tips for selecting the right organization for giving.

Identify your area of focus. 
Are you interested in animal welfare, child hunger, homelessness, veteran’s issues, education, the environment or some other area of need? Ask yourself these questions:

  1. What matters most to me at this time?
  2. Do I want to support a local, regional, national or international organization, or a combination?
  3. What size organization(s) do I want to support?

Animal Rescue Donations: 5 Tips for How to Give Wisely Click To Tweet 

Determine your giving budget. You’ve heard it before but, as someone who has worked in the non-profit sector, I can promise you that every little bit does help so don’t worry if you only have a small budget for donating. Do not overextend yourself financially.


Identify & Research Organizations. Once you’ve narrowed down the general area(s) where you want to concentrate your giving, start to research the organizations where you think you want to donate.

Ask around. Check with friends and relatives you trust and get recommendations about organizations they support and then dig a little deeper.

Visit the organization’s website to read about their stated mission, programs, and community activities. For example, because I am a pit bull advocate, I always check for the following: does the rescue or organization list pit bull type dogs under “adoptable dogs”?; do they have a strong commitment to reducing euthanasia rates for healthy, adoptable pets?; do they have an active TNR (trap, neuter, release) program for feral cats?, etc. In short, I make sure that the organization’s goals and stated mission are in line with my values. 

Check the organization’s standing on Guide Star where you can see income, assets, mission statements and ratings. If an organization is either not listed or is listed but with little information, follow up with direct questions to the organization.

Keep in mind that some organizations are quite large and may have several programs that you like and others about which you are less enthusiastic. You can direct your donations to a specific project or program that you want to support. 

If an organization refuses to answer questions, pressures you for a donation or anything feels off, walk away. There are plenty of reputable nonprofit organizations for you to support. Similarly, if you’ve heard anything in the media that might call the organization’s practices into question, such as PeTA, pay attention, ask questions and research more and walk away if there are any inconsistencies.



Non-monetary giving. Remember that organizations can also use your time and/or in-kind support. So if a financial donation isn’t possible, consider volunteering, fostering or offering professional expertise or doing a supplies drive based on the organization’s needs.

charitable donations can be monetary, volunteer-based or in-kind



Coordinate your efforts with others. When we participated in the Hounds, Holidays & Hot Buys Gift Guide & Giveaway, we partnered with five other bloggers and more than 20 brands to create a dog-centered gift guide and several giveaway prizes for our readers. As a group we decided it was essential to support an animal rescue group and realized that by working together we could do so much more.

We selected Best Friends Animal Society – Utah as our 2016 charitable donation recipient for several reasons: 

1. One of the participating bloggers, Kristin from The Daily Pip, visited Best Friends – Utah and had an incredible volunteer learning experience. (Read Kristin’s reflections on time spent visiting Best Friends and her experience at Dogtown)

From Best Friends Animal Society

Lotti (Photo Credit: The Daily Pip)

2. The Best Friends website and their profile on Guide Star clearly state their financials, mission, goals, and programs.

Jed (Photo Credit: The Daily Pip)

3. Personally, I support the Best Friends Dogtown area of the sanctuary as an example of how to correctly do sanctuary work – a harder and much more expensive undertaking than most realize, but we’ll talk about that in another post.

Best Friends Dogtown Dog (Photo Credit: The daily Pip)

4. Ruffwear, one of the giveaway sponsors, was already working with Best Friends and several of the other sponsors immediately hopped on board with monetary and/or in-kind donations in support of Best Friends.[/five_sixth_last]

Considering a charitable donation? Support Best Friends – Utah

Any other tips for approaching the season of giving? Do you have a favorite charity for volunteering or donating? 


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  1. Pawesome Cats December 9, 2016 at 2:13 pm - Reply

    It’s a nice thing to give back at Christmas – we’ll be baking for the volunteers this week. We’ve dropped off a variety of food donations and other items throughout the year for the cats and dogs.
    Pawesome Cats recently posted…What to do if Your Cat is DehydratedMy Profile

    • SimonDawg December 9, 2016 at 3:20 pm - Reply

      Those are awesome ways to give back! Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

  2. Joely Smith December 9, 2016 at 3:03 pm - Reply

    Love this article! My husband and I were just discussing where to donate today! You made a lot of new points we had not considered and agree with many we had. Great validation and new information. Thank you1
    Joely Smith recently posted…How The Microsoft Pro Is The Best Holiday Gift For Those On The Go Plus $500 GiveawayMy Profile

    • SimonDawg December 9, 2016 at 3:17 pm - Reply

      I’m so glad the article was both validating and informative! That makes me smile πŸ™‚ Have a happy holiday season!

  3. The Daily Pip December 9, 2016 at 8:23 pm - Reply

    Awe, love seeing Lotti and Jed in this post!! Great tips. With the exception of Best Friends, I usually try to give to smaller organizations.

    • SimonDawg December 11, 2016 at 6:24 pm - Reply

      Thank you again for letting me share your pictures and posts for this piece πŸ™‚ I generally focus on smaller organizations as well. Looking forward to our group trip to Best Friends!

  4. Ruth Epstein December 9, 2016 at 10:33 pm - Reply

    Great post and that is why I also set up the auction site so that rescue organizations can hold online auctions free of charge and it gets out to more people. If you want more info PM me

    • SimonDawg December 11, 2016 at 6:25 pm - Reply

      Thank you for all that you do to support rescues! πŸ™‚

  5. Dash Kitten Crew December 9, 2016 at 11:11 pm - Reply

    We always spread our giving, this year we are supporting Mr Alaa in Aleppo where the nightmare he faces is a daily thing we can hardly believe; our local shelter and some small auctions to help little rescues and people in need.
    Dash Kitten Crew recently posted…My Shining Year The Most Unusual Gift for BloggersMy Profile

    • SimonDawg December 11, 2016 at 7:05 pm - Reply

      What a great cause to support this year! I am in awe of that man and what he has accomplished. My heart aches for what he and the animals are having to endure.

  6. Cathy Armato December 11, 2016 at 8:53 am - Reply

    What a great post, thanks for these tips, & thanks for providing the Guide Star link! There are so many great charities out there, I wish I had more money to give!Love & biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them
    Cathy Armato recently posted…Santa is Coming To Town!My Profile

    • SimonDawg December 11, 2016 at 7:31 pm - Reply

      I’m glad you liked the post! I’m with you – I wish I had more to give. πŸ™‚

  7. agirlandherhusky December 11, 2016 at 11:22 am - Reply

    We are trying to collect pet and cleaning supplies that a rescue needs to donate at the place where I work. We have a list of things they need and we have shared it with our customers in the hope that they will bring things to donate.
    agirlandherhusky recently posted…FidoBiotics Review, probiotics for dogsMy Profile

    • SimonDawg December 11, 2016 at 6:30 pm - Reply

      That is fantastic! I’m sure the rescue will appreciate your efforts. I love the idea of workplace donation projects πŸ™‚

  8. Beth December 11, 2016 at 3:51 pm - Reply

    What a terrific post!

    Most of us want to help, but it can be scary to give money away and not know if it going to what it should be. Guide Star is a wonderful resource.

    I love Best Friends and all the good that they do!
    Beth recently posted…Fetching!My Profile

    • SimonDawg December 11, 2016 at 6:28 pm - Reply

      Thank you! There are so many possibilities out there and it’s hard to know where to focus our dollars. I’m glad you found this helpful.

  9. Tonya Wilhelm December 11, 2016 at 4:31 pm - Reply

    Thank you for this post. It always feels like charities are asking for money around the holidays and I always feel bad that I cannot donate to them all. This helps in determining what I personally should be looking for. Thanks.
    Tonya Wilhelm recently posted…Dog Product Reviews For Active Dogs: Bike Tow Leash ReviewMy Profile

  10. FiveSibesMom December 11, 2016 at 9:06 pm - Reply

    Excellent post. Pet lovers are very kind-hearted generous and supportive souls, and for many it can be a daunting task selecting a recipient. It’s always important to research and know who you are giving your money, too. Such an important post that I’m pinning to share over on my Pinterest board!
    FiveSibesMom recently posted…Fond Memories of Christmas Past on a #FiveSibes Flashback Friday!My Profile

    • SimonDawg December 14, 2016 at 12:14 pm - Reply

      Thanks! I think you’re right that animal lovers are so willing to give and sometimes they forget to do the research to make sure their money is going where it’s needed. Thank you for sharing! πŸ™‚

  11. Talent Hounds December 11, 2016 at 9:24 pm - Reply

    So important and practical – do your research. Make the most of the giving season and help as many as you can. We try too by shopping, volunteering, donating etc.

  12. Robin December 11, 2016 at 11:50 pm - Reply

    I agree with you whole-heartedly about researching before you give. There are a lot of organizations out there that do incredible things, but they aren’t always the ones with big outreach budgets. Sometimes the ones that you see advertised the most aren’t putting the funds where you think they are. All of the Best Friends groups seem to be great! I’ve always heard great things about them.

    • SimonDawg December 14, 2016 at 12:38 pm - Reply

      I try to support the smaller, local programs whenever I can because, you are so right, they rarely have the outreach and marketing budgets that enable them to reach new donors/volunteers.

  13. Tenacious Little Terrier December 12, 2016 at 1:15 am - Reply

    I always check Guidestar too. Usually we try to support local organizations especially the animal ones.
    Tenacious Little Terrier recently posted…The Gift of Positive Training with a Veterinary BehavioristMy Profile

    • SimonDawg December 14, 2016 at 12:11 pm - Reply

      We try to support local as well but I always check out the organizations on Guide Star.

  14. Bryn Nowell December 12, 2016 at 9:18 am - Reply

    This is the perfect post to help illustrate how to identify a charitable cause that best fits a person’s interests and should be the recipient of a donation. You’re right, nothing is too small. Even a bag of clean, gently used towels and blankets can go a long way. Every little bit counts.

    Thanks for sharing this. I’m so glad we were able to give to Best Friends during the holiday season.
    Bryn Nowell recently posted…WIN Puzzles and LEARN About Enrichment for DogsMy Profile

    • SimonDawg December 14, 2016 at 12:34 pm - Reply

      Thanks! I too am glad that we were able to support Best Friends!

  15. Kia December 12, 2016 at 10:07 am - Reply

    These are all awesome tips. I’m sure this will be helpful for everyone willing to give to rescues. I am gonna share πŸ™‚

    • SimonDawg December 14, 2016 at 12:16 pm - Reply

      Thank you for sharing! I hope it helps folks as they navigate all the requests for their time and money during the holiday season (or any time ;-))

  16. Carol Bryant December 12, 2016 at 2:00 pm - Reply

    I am so glad you shared that folks should do their research. One time I got totally ripped by a supposed rescue group that was a scam. They were shut down but I feel so bad for all the valid rescue groups who get affected by scammers. Great listing here for pet parents.
    Carol Bryant recently posted…The Dog Wedding DVD FundraiserMy Profile

    • SimonDawg December 14, 2016 at 12:10 pm - Reply

      Sadly, I think people get misled more often than we hear about. There are so many scams out there!

  17. Kim December 13, 2016 at 10:27 am - Reply

    What a great and important blog post.

  18. Danielle Sullivan December 13, 2016 at 12:17 pm - Reply

    These are all great questions to ask yourself before you make a donation. I always like to know who is on the receiving end and want to make the most of what I give. These are very helpful guidelines.

    • SimonDawg December 14, 2016 at 12:07 pm - Reply

      Thank you!! I’m glad the post is helpful. πŸ™‚

  19. Sarah December 21, 2016 at 2:58 am - Reply

    Some really good tips here – Christmas always seems to pull on the heartstrings and make you want to help more, but then of course more people are vying for your charitable attention! Next year I definitely want to be more involved with our local dog charity.
    Sarah recently posted…Best automatic dog feeder with timer 2017My Profile

    • SimonDawg December 21, 2016 at 11:12 am - Reply

      Thanks! Glad you found the tips helpful πŸ™‚ Happy holidays!

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