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Best charities to save animals from extinction

Author: Maciamo Hay (last updated in November 2021)

Many people wonder what is the real impact of money donated to charity. The overhead costs such as fundraising, management, and general expenses can soak up anywhere between 1% and 30% of the money donated. A charity's effectiveness depends on a variety of factors that are too complex to assess for the average donor. Fortunately there are organisations like Charity Watch, Charity Navigator and GuideStar that review and rate charities' financial health, efficiency, and many other vital aspects like sustainability, transparency, good governance, accountability, and integrity. We have reviewed and selected the best rated environmental charities who aim to protect endangered animals and the world's rainforests, which are home to 50% of Earth's plant and animal species.

Charity Main activities Charity Watch rating Charity Navigator rating GuideStar rating
African Wildlife Foundation Protecting endangered animals in Africa. B+ 90.06 -
Amazon Watch Protecting the rainforest and advance the rights of indigenous peoples in the Amazon Basin. 97.17 Platinum
Environmental Defense Fund Reducing pollution, slowing global warming, fighting deforestation in the Amazon, protecting the oceans. B+ 86.78 Platinum
Global Witness Fighting environmental and human issues related to the exploitation of natural resources. 100 Gold
The Nature Conservancy Land and ocean conservation, fighting deforestation. A- 85.32 Gold
Rainforest Action Network (RAN) Preserving forests, protecting the climate and upholding human rights. A- 84.94 Platinum
Rainforest Trust Conservation of tropical habitats of threatened species. 100 Platinum
Stand.Earth Protecting endangered forests in the USA and Canada. 87.95 Platinum
WildAid Reducing the demand for wildlife products and apprehending poachers and smugglers. A 96.48 Silver
Wildlife Conservation Society Protecting wildlife and their habitat around the world. A 94.50 Silver
World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Species conservation, fighting biodiversity loss and unsustainable use of natural resources, reduction of human impact on the environment. 84.23 Platinum

Here are a few other charities to consider that were not rated by CharityWatch or Charity Navigator because they are Europe-based.

Even a small amount is better than nothing if millions of people do it. And keep in mind that donations to such charities are tax deductible (in most developed countries), so that's money you will (partly) get back.

Another way to contribute for free is through activism by signing huge world-wide petitions on websites such as Avaaz, who deal with the world's biggest environmental and social issues. You can also sign petitions to protect the world's rainforests at the Rainforest Action Network and Rainforest Rescue, and to protect the environment in the USA and Canada at Stand.Earth. They do get results and the more people sign those petitions the more effective they will become. Don't miss your chance to help!

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