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How I Decide What Charities to Support

Posted by at 5:24 AM | Permalink | Comments (6)


I am sure that I am not the only one who receives phone calls and mailings from charities requesting donations, and I am sure that I am not alone in feeling uneasy about the economy and the future. While many of us cannot afford to give more right now, we can educate ourselves to give smarter. I have three main criteria that I use to sort out the charities that I will support from those I will not.

First off, I will not donate to any organization that might use my money for animal research. The only way I can be sure that they are cruelty-free is if they have been approved by the Council of Humane Giving. I refer organizations to PETA’s Caring Consumer Web site and tell them that if they are on the approved list of organizations that do not test on animals, then I will consider donating to them. Otherwise, they should not contact me again until they have received the Humane Charity Seal.

Second, I will not donate to any animal or environmental organization that is pro-hunting, pro-trapping, or pro-fishing. These groups include the African Wildlife Foundation, the Nature Conservancy, Safari Club International, the Sierra Club, the Wilderness Society, and the World Wildlife Fund. I continue to receive membership requests from these groups, and I always send them back with “meat’s no treat for those you eat” PETA stickers on the donation form.

Third, I will not donate to any organization that pays its president, CEO, or staffers huge annual salaries. This information can be found on Charity Navigator. Enter the organization’s name in the “charity search” box and scroll down until you see the compensation of the top executives. It’s quite eye-opening to compare the $37,000 compensation of PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk to the salaries of the leaders of other groups.

These are my personal criteria. I am sure that every reader has their own preferences based on their own experiences, but I think that PETA should be at the top of everyone’s list. PETA puts animal rights on the map and continues to be the most effective at uncovering injustice, putting pressure on animal exploiters, and helping us all to be better, kinder, and more compassionate people.

What’s your personal criteria for giving?

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6 Comments

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    Patty Bowers says...

    May 11th, 2012, 10:58 pm

    EXCELLENT! And SO important! I totally agree, you need to know the values and ethics behind the people & charities you support. Remeber when Mitt Romney tied his dog’s kennel to the top of his car and drove for 14 hrs.? And then the dog “disappeared” on their vacation? I would NEVER vote for him just on that fact alone, depite the fact that my values are way different from his. Always go to the deeper levels when making decisions.

    Rob says...

    May 13th, 2012, 4:28 pm

    This is great information and shall share it with my family and friends!

    bridget morran says...

    May 14th, 2012, 5:07 am

    Perfect! These criteria are brilliant, especially the mentioned search tools. I hope they also work for UK charities. Keep up the good work!

    Lea Harris says...

    May 15th, 2012, 9:40 pm

    This is all really good to know- please add “Ducks Unlimited” to that list! Thank you. I am a founding member and the unpaid president of the board of directors for our no-kill animal shelter, Haines Animal Rescue Kennel.

    Lydia Stone says...

    May 20th, 2012, 10:00 am

    Thank you giving me more criteria to use when selecting charities to donate too. I have a stack of requests from over 30 organizations and to realize that some i have already supported promote hunting makes me mad. I guess not every charity that promotes nature and animal conservation values it as much I as do. The stack will now get smaller and in the future the amount of money I have donated in the past will go to more deserving organizations.

    kelly kilishek says...

    May 22nd, 2012, 9:27 am

    Wow what a great article. I get mass mailings from animal welfare organizations and it can be really overwhelming. I would love to give to them all but haven’t won the lottery yet. The information I received from reading this really helps me decide the best organization to give to.

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