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?