Like it or not, here come the holidays. That means, for many of us, spending cash. This time also inspires many to give to others. According to charity navigator, 38% of donors claim they are likely to give at the end of the year. And of course, there’s Giving Tuesday (Tuesday after Thanksgiving). Last year, 700,000 participants raised $116,000,000. That’s pretty amazing.
This time of year also leaves many of us feeling strapped and overwhelmed. But if you have a desire to help, here are some ways to give to animal causes that fit various budgets.
Give a Direct Monetary Donation
No amount is too small. Donate as much money as you feel you can part with. Add your favorite animal charity, local, national, or global, into your planned allotment. It could be a shelter, a rescue, or an advocacy group. Even if you have little to give, it helps. If you need help finding a cause, visit Charity Navigator.
Shop for Charity
Do you shop on Amazon? I do. So do over 300 million others. Various charities have public wish lists. Shoppers can purchase items that Amazon sends directly to the charities. You can go here to access the wish list for the ASPCA.
Or you can visit amazon and type in the name of a charity + wish list into the search bar to find out if your favorite has one. You can also search by clicking on lists-> find list or registry.
The ASPCA wish list has many items that vary in prices. They include toys, dishes, food, treats, litter pans, and more. There’s something for almost all budgets. A counter displays how much of each item they need and how many they have. Next time you shop on Amazon, have a look.
Important: when you make a purchase, be sure you select the charity’s shipping address when you check out.
Another way to give through shopping is with Amazon Smile. Shopping through Amazon Smile costs you nothing extra. A percentage of what you spend on eligible items goes to the charity you choose. There is a lot of controversy surrounding Amazon Smile. Some feel participating in this program makes buyers less likely to donate larger, more helpful amounts directly to charities. Also, not every item purchased is eligible. I do agree with these naysayers, to a point. However, this allows those who’ve left zero in their budget for charities to still give. Some is better than none.
If you don’t have or want to spend money, consider donating your time. Contact your local shelter or animal advocacy groups to find out what you can do. They’re always in need of volunteers. If you have any time at all that you’re willing to donate, these organizations are happy to take it. You can volunteer for one-time events or commit to a certain amount of hours per month. My local humane association has positions that require varying time commitments. Volunteers serve as dog walkers, feeders, poop scoopers, kitten snugglers, event attendees, and more.
Foster a Homeless Pet
Bringing a pet into your home requires a bit more time and money. But if you’ve got them, please think about it. Every year, shelters euthanize millions of homeless pets because there isn’t enough room for them. Fostering is a perfect opportunity to provide a loving, safe environment for a homeless animal that may otherwise lose their life. Find a shelter or rescue close to you. They’ll set you up with an animal that fits into your home life. Be sure you know what you’re taking on and that you’re ready. Some animals have behavior issues or special needs. Some are great with other animals and with children. If you already have pets, talk to your veterinarian about appropriate vaccinations. Perhaps when you’ve fostered once, you’ll fall in love with the good you’re doing for these beautiful animals and want to do it again and again.
Adopt a Pet
If you’d like to bring a new love into your life, consider adopting an animal before purchasing one. Every single animal that leaves a shelter is a life saved. This also frees space in the shelter so they can help other homeless animals. Giving a living being a home and love for the rest of its life is the ultimate gift. But before you do, consider that this is for the life of the animal and requires a huge commitment. Too many animals are surrendered and re-surrendered because their humans couldn’t hang.
Whether or not your budget is tight, let your generosity shine by giving what you can of your time, money, and love. The animals of the world need all the help they can get, and almost everyone has at least a little something to give.