You want to help, but not sure who deserves your hard earned money. With so many animal charities to choose from, it can be difficult to know which are worthy of your donations, particularly when some run really shady businesses. Our Top Dog Tips Awards Program editorial team spent many hours to pick out 10 of the best animal charities of 2018 worthy your support.
Selection Criteria for the Best Animal Charities List
The animal charities listed below (in no particular order) have all been selected based on a number of criteria, including the service they provide, the ethics they uphold, and how efficiently they utilize their patron’s donations as well as their overall rating through CharityNavigator.org, a website that provides pertinent information on charities worldwide.
Other ranking criteria for the best animal charities are based on factors such as financial data, accountability of the animal charity, transparency of the charity, program performance, financial compensation of charity heads, and how the charity compares to similar organizations.
The below listed animal charities utilize their own resources and people to run the charity and raise money from different legitimate sources. Like with any other legit charity, it's easy to verify where the funds are coming from and how all those funds are spent. None of their activities are hidden and the charities maintain complete transparency.
In comparison, these best animal charities differ from illegitimate ones in that our team was unable to find any red flags: no mismanagement of staff or funds, no name changes, no signs of fraud or hidden activities that are difficult to track down, no banned practices, no lawsuits or strictly forced regulations placed upon the charities by the government or the state as applied to charities or their board members.
Top Dog Tips Awards Program
The 10 Best Animal Charities of 2018
- Website: www.pawschicago.org
- Goal/Slogan: Pets are worth saving
PAWS Chicago is the single largest no-kill organization in the city of Chicago. Their aim is to reduce homeless pets by finding and implementing solutions designed to cut down and eventually eliminate how many animals are euthanized annually. Founded in 1997, PAWS Chicago has influenced the city so much that homeless pet populations euthanized per year have dropped some 80%.
As a company, PAWS Chicago is very transparent in their financials and the majority of their funding is the result of contributions, gifts, grants, and fundraising events. Approximately 66% of the total revenue for PAWS Chicago goes to cover expenses of the company directly as per IRS records.
PAWS Chicago is one of our favorite best animal charities for fundraising efforts. They are continually running special events, competitions, and programs that both educate the general public about animal care and raise funds for their facility. Plus, it has to be mentioned that their impact on the local community has been astonishing.
Israel Guide Dog Center for the Blind
- Website: www.israelguidedog.org
- Goal/Slogan: Improving the quality of life for blind people
The Israel Guide Dog Center for the Blind is one of the highest rated best animal charities out there. Built in 1991, Israel Guide Dog Center for the blind trains guide dogs that assist the blind in Israel to be more mobile and independent so that they may have an improved quality of life. In 2013, the organization also grew to provide companion dogs for special needs individuals including those with PTSD and autism.
As a company, IGDCB is very transparent in their financials and the majority of their funding is the result of contributions, gifts, grants, and fundraising events. Of the money raised by IGDCB annually approximately 93% goes directly to organization expenses as per IRS records.
We like the Israel Guide Dog Center for the Blind charity for a number of reasons, but most significantly for their transparency as a charitable company, their accountability as a charity, and their financial responsibility when it comes to allocating their funds.
League for Animal Welfare
- Website: www.lfaw.org
- Goal/Slogan: Choose no-kill. Choose the League.
The League for Animal Welfare is a privately funded non-profit who are dedicated to providing care for lost, unwanted, and neglected cats and dogs in greater Cincinnati. They do this by providing a no-kill animal shelter as well as by educating the public in responsible pet care choices. Founded in 1949, the League for Animal Welfare runs one of the biggest no-kill shelters in the Cincinnati area.
As a company, the League for Animal Welfare is very transparent in their financials and the majority of their funding is the result of contributions, gifts, grants, and fundraising events. As of the latest IRS data made available by the LFAW, their annual expenses are exceeding their total annual revenue, yet they continue to raise funding and awareness.
LFAW is on our list of top best animal charities to support this year not only because of their responsibility, accountability, and transparency but also because they don’t just focus on rescue; they also promote responsible pet care to make an ongoing difference in the community.
Last Chance for Animals
- Website: www.lcanimal.org
- Goal/Slogan: Alleviating animal suffering and exploitation
Last Chance for Animals was founded in 1984 with a mission to protect animals from the pain inflicted by humans due to exploitation and forced suffering. They spread awareness of the various methods used to exploit animals (including animal testing and experimentation) through educational programs that inform the general public of the importance of making informed lifestyle choices.
As a company, Last Chance for Animals is very transparent in their financial records. Of their total annual revenue, the vast majority was garnered from contributions, grants, and gifts, as well as through federated campaigns. According to the last available data from LCA and the IRS, their annual expenses exceeded their annual revenue by just under 37%. Although not particularly auspicious from a business point of view, this shows LCA’s dedication to fighting for their cause.
LCA is a great charitable cause and one of the best animal charities out there because they use their resources to do everything they can to spread awareness of animal cruelty, going beyond the average “only buy animal-friendly products” slogan. LCA goes on to truly educate consumers about the impact of their conscious lifestyle choices by showing, telling, and exemplifying.
Can Do Canines
- Website: www.can-do-canines.org
- Goal/Slogan: Our assistance dogs fetch amazing things
Can Do Canines was incorporated as the Companion Dog Connection in 1987 and have since been dedicated to training dogs with the skills necessary for people with disabilities to have a better quality of life. The dogs that they train are provided to clients in need at no charge. In addition, Can Do Canines work with local shelters to train shelter dogs as assistance dogs and they work with the Waseca Women’s Federal Prison and Fairbault State Prison for puppy raising and prison dog training programs.
As about as charitable and supportive of the community as a company can get, Can Do Canines is also exceptionally transparent with their financials. Most of their funding is the result of contributions, gifts, grants, and federated campaigns. 86% of Can Do Canine’s income goes directly toward the company’s expenses annually according to the most recent data made available as per the IRS.
Can Do Canines is a charity worth recognition because of their efforts to provide for individuals in need without charge. By training service dogs and giving them to individuals with disabilities, CDC is improving the quality of life of many and deserves a place on any list of best animal charities out there.
- Website: www.redrover.org
- Goal/Slogan: Bringing animals from crisis to care.
Red Rover is a multi-faceted charitable organization that assists animals and pet owners in crisis. The RedRover Responders program ensures that pets displaced by natural disasters are sheltered, cared for, and reunited with their owners. They also rescue animals that are involved in hoarding, abuse, and puppy mill situations.
The RedRover Readers program is designed to educate children about the human-animal bond through stories and related discussion. The RedRover Relief program is designed to provide pet owners both with guidance in caring for their pet and financial assistance when needed to obtain urgent veterinary care.
As a company, RedRover is very transparent in their financials and most of their funding comes from contributions, gifts, grants, and membership dues. According to the latest available IRS records for RedRover, the company shelled out more in expenses during the fiscal year than they brought in in revenue. Again, this may not be a great business model from a capitalist's point of view, but it shows a true dedication to helping animals and their owners.
RedRover is something a little different when it comes to best animal charities listed here because there have many branches to their organization and specialize in different areas. What we like best about them is that they don’t just focus on homeless pets; they also look out for pet owners in crisis with their own beloved animals.
Animal Legal Defense Fund
- Website: www.aldf.org
- Goal/Slogan: Winning the case against cruelty
The Animal Legal Defense Fund was founded by a group of attorneys in 1979 with the idea of better enforcing current animal anti-cruelty laws as well as holding people responsible for the humane care of animals throughout America. With over 100,000 members and hundreds of animal law attorneys on staff, ALDF continuously works to advance the protective coverage of animals under current laws to provide free legal assistance to prosecutors in cruelty cases, and to educate the public in regard to animal cruelty law.
As a company, the Animal Legal Defense Fund is quite transparent in their financials and almost all of their funding is the result of contributions, gifts, and grants. According to the most recent available data from ALDF and the IRS, just over 72% of the company’s annual revenue went to the expenses of the company leaving an excess of 28% for the year.
ALDF is a necessity and should feature on any best animal charities list because of their efforts in holding animal abusers responsible for their actions. By enforcing humane animal treatment laws and working to have them strengthened, ALDF plays a significant role in deterring animal cruelty in the future.
American Veterinary Medical Foundation
- Website: www.avmf.org
- Goal/Slogan: Dedicated to developing resources to advance the science and practice of veterinary medicine.
Founded in 1963, the American Veterinary Medical Foundation is a branch of the American Veterinary Medical Association whose aim is to advance the field of veterinary medicine (in both science and practice) in an effort to improve both animal and human medicine. This is done through research, service, education, and advocacy. Through their funding of these programs, the AVMF helps veterinarians to help animals.
As one of the largest and oldest veterinary medical organizations globally, the AVMF is considerably transparent in terms of their financials and the majority of their funding is the result of contributions, gifts, grants, and related organizations. According to the most recent available records from the AVMF and the IRS, the AVMF allocates around 87% of their annual revenue towards company expenses per year.
What is it that we love about the AVMF? Without the AVMA and their supported charity AVMF, none of us would have access to professional veterinary care for our pets in the United States. By furthering research and supporting veterinarians throughout the nation, AVMF is dedicated to providing our pets with the care they need and deserve, thus it's one of the best animal charities you shouldn't feel bad about supporting this year.
Puppies Behind Bars
- Website: www.puppiesbehindbars.com
- Goal/Slogan: Training inmates to raise service dogs for wounded war veterans and explosive detection canines for law enforcement
Puppies Behind Bars is a service dog training organization that trains prison inmates to raise future service dogs for wounded war veterans. Their dogs are also sometimes used as explosive-detection dogs for law enforcement depending on their drive. Puppies are placed with (and live with) prison inmates during their training period as they learn skills to mitigate symptoms of illness or injury related to their future handler’s experience in the war zone. These dogs go on to change the lives of their future handlers as well as provide prison inmates a productive outlet and marketable skill for the future.
As a company, Puppies Behind Bars is exceptionally transparent in their financials. The majority of their funding is the result of contributions, gifts, grants, federated campaigns and fundraising events. Around 54% of the program’s annual revenue goes towards paying company related expenses annually according to the company’s most recent available IRS data.
Puppies Behind Bars is by far one of the most incredible and best animal charities on this list simply because of how many lives they touch in the process of caring for and training animals. A single “case” in their program helps an unwanted shelter dog, a prison inmate, and a soldier in need.
- Website: www.muttville.org
- Goal/Slogan: Senior Dog Rescue
One of our personal favorite animal rescue organizations, Muttville is dedicated to changing the perception and treatment of senior dogs in the world. They accomplish this by rescuing and rehoming senior dogs locally as well as by providing educational information globally about the care of older dogs. Additionally, Muttville provides support for those who already support senior dogs. One of our favorite aspects of Muttville is that they advocate for the “unadoptable” senior dogs and while they wait for their forever homes, these dogs are homed in a cage-free housing facility.
As a company, Muttville is exceptionally transparent with their financials. The majority of their funding is the result of contributions, gifts, grants, and fundraising events. Just under 75% of the company’s annual revenue goes to paying expenses of the company during the fiscal year according to the most recent available IRS records.
Why do we have a soft spot for Muttville? Because as many animal charities as there are, there are few that center only on the needs of homeless senior pets. They target a population most in need and really work hard to educate animal lovers on the many great aspects of adopting a senior dog, making them one of the best animal charities to support.