For the past few years, my family and I have been donating in each others names for our big Christmas gifts. Each year I go through numerous charities because there are so many that need help, and I want to spread our donations around as much as possible.
If you are looking for a good organization to send a donation to for the holidays (or any day of the year), here are my top picks.
I have volunteered with a few of them, and others I have followed and donated to in the past.
1. POI and Orangutan Crisis Foundation’s Emergency Fire Appeal
I put the Emergency Fire Appeal at the top because it is helping a problem that has been raging through parts of Indonesia and Malaysia since July and is considered to be “the worst crime against humanity of the 21st century.”
The fires that are spreading through parts of SE Asia are horrible and are not expected to stop any time soon. Not only have they killed 19 people and affected over 500,000 with respiratory issues, but they are also projected to wipe out at least 20% of the world’s remaining orangutan population along with many other endangered animals.
The Orangutan Crisis Foundation and Palm Oil Investigations are working to raise money to help aid rescuers who are risking their lives to save the wildlife in jeopardy. The money will go towards fire fighting and medical equipment, relocation cages, sanctuaries, and eventually habitat restoration.
2. Tasikoki Wildlife Rescue Center
I spent 4 weeks working at Tasikoki, and in that time I was able to see how much work has to happen to keep the rescue center running. More and more animals are rescued from the illegal wildlife trade and brought to the center almost every day, and with each animal comes added costs. They do not want to turn away any animal in need and have been working nonstop to keep the rescue center up and running.
With your donation you will help buy food for all the animals, supply tools for building and maintaining enclosures, cover relocation costs, and much much more.
3. Elephant Nature Park
Of course I had to add Elephant Nature Park to the list. My love for volunteering began at this very park, and has continued to grow every time I work on one of ENP’s projects, so I want to help them as much as I possibly can even when I’m not there.
One of the best ways to show support for ENP is by sponsoring an elephant at one of their programs; Elephant Nature Park Sanctuary, Cambodia Sanctuary, or Surin Project. With your sponsorship you will help provide food, medical care, and shelter for the elephants.
4. Best Friends Animal Society
I have been following Best Friends and donating to them for a long time now, and before I left the US, I stopped off in Kanab, Utah to work at their sanctuary.
Best Friends has been the largest no kill rescue facility for the past 30 years, and they have started programs all over the US that have helped save the lives of thousands of domesticated animals. They rescue dogs, cats, rabbits, parrots, pigs, goats…..you name!
Your donation will help with the upkeep of their sanctuary as well as fund their outreach programs to help educate more people on the importance of proper animal care and controlling the animal population by spay and neutering.
5. David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
David Sheldrick began protecting Kenya’s wildlife in the late 1940s until his death in 1976. He saved the lives of countless animals that roamed Tsavo East. After his death, his wife, Dame Daphne Sheldrick, and many other loyal followers carried on his legacy and have continued to fight for the survival of Africa’s wildlife.
Now DSWT has an orphanage for elephants, rhinos, and many other young animals where they raise them until they are ready to go back into the wild. They also patrol Tsavo East via plane daily looking for poachers and any unfortunate animals that have been harmed by the poaching industry. I follow DSWT on Facebook, and I can tell you that their emergency veterinary team has saved the lives of many elephants and rhinos that have been harmed by snares and poisoned darts.
Your donation will help fund the day to day operation of the DSWT which include veterinary care, medical supplies, food and shelter for the orphans, fuel for their planes, and much more.
6. Tropical Research and Conservation Center
The 6 weeks that I volunteered with TRACC taught me so much about marine conservation. Before going there, I had no idea we could even rebuild the coral reefs. Even in my 6 weeks I could see a huge difference.
Since TRACC has been working on Pom Pom Island, more and more marine animals are coming back to the once desolate area.
Even with volunteers, the day-to-day operations are not cheap. TRACC needs donations for SCUBA gear and fuel for their boats. Pom Pom Island is a small piece of land about an hour off the mainland, and they have to bring in food and water at least 2 times a week for the volunteers and staff.
TRACC has also started a new program to bring sharks back into the area, and donations will also help buy baby sharks that will be relocated to Pom Pom Island and hopefully grow up to maturity.
7. Thandi’s Endangered Species Association
3 years ago I volunteered in South Africa and met one of the most motivated women I have ever crossed paths with. Her name is Angie and she is the founder of Thandi’s Endangered Species Association.
Back in 2013 when Angie was volunteering at Kariega Game Reserve, 3 rhinos were poached. Sadly 2 passed away, but one strong female managed to beat the odds and is now the face of rhino conservation. Her name is Thandi and she recently had her first calf named Thembi.
Since 2012, Angie has been working hard to spread awareness about rhino poaching and the deterioration of Africa’s wildlife not only to her home country of England, but many other places around the world. She has raised thousands of dollars to help fight the trade and continues to fight for our wildlife.
Donations to TESA will help buy tracking collars and micro chips to help monitor the animals. They will help pay the expenses of skin graphs and other medical treatment for the animals that have been poached, and they will also help fund outreach programs.
8. Shark Water
Another organization I worked with in South Africa was the White Shark Project. They worked closely with the South African Shark Conservancy to help track and restore Africa’s population of sharks.
As scary as they may be, sharks are a necessary part of our oceans. Their numbers are declining, and without them, our oceans would be thrown off balance. Sharks are our regulators, and we desperately need them to keep our world balanced.
By donating to Shark Water, you are helping spread the word about the importance of one of earth’s most misunderstood creatures. It took over 5 years to make the documentary, and now we all have to work together to make sure it’s contents reach the masses.
9. Performing Animal Welfare Society
PAWS is another organization that I have been following for quite a long time. Almost 2 years ago I attended one of their conferences and was blown away by the hidden abuse of the animal tourism and entertainment industry.
Paws is dedicated to rescue and give sanctuary to animals who have been forced into a life in the entertainment industry. Once the animals are rescued they will live out their days as comfortably and naturally as possible at PAWS’s sanctuary in California.
Your donation will help provide these animals with the life they truly deserved.
10. Wildlife Friends Foundation of Thailand
Wildlife Friends Foundation of Thailand works around the clock to help save Thailand’s wildlife. They rescue animals that have been captured for the tourism industry as well as animals that are intended to be sold on the black market.
WFFT also works hard to fight illegal hunting in many of Thailand’s national parks. They have given veterinary care to animals that have been harmed by hunters and poachers, and they rescue animals from abusive environments.
Once rescued the animals will live as naturally as possible at WFFT’s sanctuary.
Donations will help with the upkeep of the sanctuary and with all the equipment costs, veterinary costs, and funding for outreach programs.
If you have any questions about any of these charities, please do not hesitate to ask. I will be more than happy to answer your questions.