Most people love animals. Those Sarah McLachlan commercials (you know the ones) wouldn’t be so effective if we didn’t. Sadly, the animal world is facing a lot of problems. But, there are many ways that you can help. If you’re an animal lover, you have many opportunities to get involved and start helping animals. After all, there are so many different types of causes that affect animals and different types of animals, meaning there are many different opportunities to get involved.

The first step is choosing what kind of animal charity you want to assist. For example, do you want to help with wildlife or domesticated animals. Even those wide categories have subdivisions. You can get as specific as picking an individual breed or species if you’re particularly drawn to one type of animal. Besides that, what are the ways to help animals in need?

One of the easiest ways to help your favorite animal cause is to simply donate. Most charities will tell you that every little bit helps, so even a few dollars a month can make a difference. Of course, the most difficult part is finding a charity to donate to. Don’t worry, finding one isn’t tough, there are a lot out there to choose. The difficulty can lie in selecting your favorite. It all comes down to finding the cause that speaks to you most.

Don’t worry, finding a charity isn’t tough, there are a lot out there to choose. It all comes down to finding the cause that speaks to you most.

The largest animal charity is the World Wildlife Fund. While they’re most famous for their efforts protecting endangered animals, they have many others environmental efforts. It’s also a highly-rated charity, with 74 percent of donations going to programs that help animals. The rest goes to things like fundraising and administrative expenses including paying employees. This is a great organization to donate to, since it covers so many areas of conservation.

There are many other charities that could really use your donation, as well, like the Wildlife Conservation Society. The Humane Society is a national group that has chapters all over the country. While many focus on helping domesticated animals, they’ll also help with wildlife and rehabilitation centers and emergency rescue facilities. One way you can maximize the importance of your dollar is to donate to a local or smaller charity, though you should always research before donating. Websites like Charity Navigator are great for making sure you’re donating to a reputable charity and your money will go where you want it to.

Raise Awareness

If donating isn’t an option — and if you’re on a fixed income it isn’t always possible — raising awareness is a free way you can help support animals. Much like donations, there are a lot of methods of support, not only in the causes you can support but the ways you can go about it. Spreading the word of conservation causes can mean a few different things, which makes it an option for anybody, no matter your availability or capabilities.

If you’re looking to directly influence policies that can help animals and conservation efforts, there are fewer better ways than contacting your representatives. By sharing your support for conservation and pro-animal causes at the local, state, and federal level, you’ll add your voice to the millions of other Americans doing the same. While it may seem like one voice can’t do much, by joining to the millions of others, the message grows into a roar. Luckily, finding your senators or representatives isn’t difficult, and they’re usually receptive to a respectful, informed, and passionate message or phone call from constituents.

If there’s a fundraiser you support, share a link to it on your Facebook page to make your friends aware.

Another way to make your voice heard is by sharing your support on social media. This is perhaps the simplest way to get involved in animal conservation. If there’s a fundraiser you support, share a link to it on your Facebook page to make your friends aware. If you’ve been involved with wildlife conservation before, you can share your stories. You can even publicly take a pledge to show your support for animals. Social media is an incredible way to support causes close to your heart!

Volunteer Time

If you want the most direct option to help animals, you can always volunteer to help. No matter what you’re aiming to do, there’s a charity out there that could use your help. Locally, you could volunteer at a local animal shelter. Many of these groups rely on volunteer assistance to keep the doors open and perform important maintenance and care. Volunteering with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is also a viable way to support our furry and scaled friends. If you’re a fitness fan, a fun run can help raise money for great causes.

International volunteering will take you to the animals and directly support the efforts of conservationists.

Do you want to explore the world and get right in the thick of conservation efforts? You could always try a volunteer abroad option. These opportunities will take you to the animals, where you’ll work at animal sanctuaries or wildlife centers where you can directly support the efforts of conservationists around the globe. While you’ll often need to pay for the program to cover travel, room, and board, these opportunities will give you a unique experience to get up-close and personal with endangered or exotic animals like lions or pandas.

You can also stick to the Americas if traveling that far isn’t an option for you. It can be hard, but ultimately rewarding work that can change your life. Just make sure to check with your doctor before traveling to make sure that you’re healthy enough for the adventure.

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Animal conservation is a popular cause for a good reason. Animals are great, and they need our help as some populations and habitats are rapidly depleting. By doing our part to help these efforts, we can ensure that wildlife is around for our grandchildren and their grandchildren to enjoy.

Further Reading

The World Bank — Act now to save wildlife: 5 actions that make a difference