Note: This article reflects Animal Charity Evaluator’s 2020 recommendations
Our team has personally spoken with many Canadians who feel a deep sense of grief about the amount of animal suffering in the world. Animal suffering is a huge problem, and huge problems can feel daunting.
As more research is conducted into how best to help animals, the massive suffering they experience is becoming more solvable.
Donating to an effective charity is, for many Canadians, the most impactful thing they can do to alleviate animal suffering and contribute to solving this problem.
Which charities are the best?
To make your effective giving easy, this article highlights the four charities that have been chosen by Animal Charity Evaluators (ACE) in 2020 as making the biggest difference to animal welfare per dollar donated:
- Albert Schweitzer Foundation (ASF) conducts corporate and vegetarian outreach campaigns, and is pioneering corporate outreach campaigns on behalf of fishes.
- Wild Animal Initiative strives to understand and improve the lives of wild animals, by supporting pioneering research into responsible ways to reduce wild animal suffering.
- The Humane League runs a variety of programs that advocate for farmed animals, including corporate outreach, online veg advertising, and individual outreach.
- The Good Food Institute (GFI) promotes and develops competitive alternatives to animal-based meat, dairy, and eggs. GFI supports cellular agriculture and cultured meat companies in a variety of ways.
We also include information about four other high-impact giving opportunities to help animals:
- Animal Charity Evaluators (ACE) has evaluated more than five hundred charities so that it can recommend outstanding opportunities to help the most animals.
- Animal Equality works to end cruelty to farmed animals, through educating the public on factory farming, inspiring compassionate eating, working with companies to change policies, and engaging policymakers to take action for animals.
- Sociedade Vegetariana Brasileira (SVB) is a 2020 ACE Standout Charity that promotes plant-based diets and works with health professionals to spread relevant knowledge.
- Anima International is a 2020 ACE Standout Charity that runs corporate campaigns, releases undercover investigations, and engages in online and offline ad campaigns and outreach. Their team works to build the animal advocacy movement’s capacity.
What makes these charities exceptional?
These highlighted charities are assessed by charity evaluation experts or other trusted sources as doing work that’s cost-effective, transparent, focused on impact, and evidence-based.
A charity may be considered highly effective because its interventions are well studied. Other charities may do work that doesn’t yet have a strong evidence base but has been assessed as highly valuable in expectation. A charity ranked as a “Standout Charity” or “Top Charity” by Animal Charity Evaluators (ACE) comes with an impact report that rigorously assesses its strengths and weaknesses.
This article highlights eight charities, but no doubt there are many more doing good or even great work. Nonetheless, given the scale, urgency, and importance of animal suffering, it’s essential to support effective charities that have rigorous evidence or reasoning pointing to the effectiveness of their work.
Why should I donate to an effective animal charity?
Here are four reasons to prioritize impact by supporting an effective charity:
- Have an extraordinary impact without extraordinary effort. Many people care deeply about animals, but aren’t able to devote their career or free time to eliminating animal suffering. Other people might feel that a big impact is only possible through huge donations. Effective giving helps many people have more impact than they’d hoped or thought possible.
- Do far more good with your dollar. It can cost very different amounts to help different animals. For example, there are fantastic opportunities to do great good for farm animals on a per-dollar basis, in part because their numbers are so large and so little is currently spent to help them. ACE estimates that for every one dog or cat euthanized in a shelter, about 3,400 farmed land animals are confined and slaughtered.
- Avoid missed opportunities. Animal suffering is a large problem with limited resources available to solve it. If donations drive less change than they could because they’re directed to efforts that are merely neutral or good instead of outstanding, animals aren’t saved that could have been.
- Help more animals. Animal suffering exists in part because humanity dictates that many species are not worthy of care. To be part of the solution, we can expand our consideration to more species. To act on this, we can donate based on how many animals a charity helps and how much it helps them, rather than on which species benefit.
What’s the best way to donate?
You can donate directly on the charity’s website, but if you are paying taxes in Canada, we recommend donating through RC Forward instead. If you donate through RC Forward, you will receive a valid tax receipt and will be able to claim up to 49% of the donation amount in tax deductions. For most of the top charities in this blog post, tax credits aren’t available by donating directly through their websites.
You can make a small donation easily with your credit card. If you are making a donation over $1000, feel free to reach out to our friendly team to get advice on how to minimize transaction fees.
Unsure where to give?
Deciding where to donate can be difficult. If you want to help animals but are unsure of where to donate, the RC Forward Animal Welfare Fund could be a great option for you. Your donation will support the charity or charities that currently offer the best opportunities to maximize your positive impact on animal welfare, based on recommendations by experts.
The top 8 effective animal charities Canadians can support
Through RC Forward, you can easily learn more and support these high-impact charities.
Albert Schweitzer Foundation
“Albert Schweitzer’s fundamental maxim – Reverence for Life – is also the guiding philosophy behind the work of the Albert Schweitzer Foundation. We strive for a society in which animals are no longer exploited and in which life is truly revered.”
— Albert Schweitzer Foundation
A 2020 ACE Top Charity, Albert Schweitzer Foundation advocates for farmed animals and promotes a vegan lifestyle. Donations support corporate campaigns, efficient lawsuits, international expansion, and traditional animal welfare campaigns, which are used as interim steps on the path towards more progressive topics.
Your donation to the Albert Schweitzer Foundation would support
- Corporate outreach
- Legal advocacy
- Corporate campaigns
“We help animals, particularly farmed animals, as effectively as possible, by using our decades of experience and the available evidence to increase the impact of our work. We specialise in conducting investigations and corporate campaigns as well as securing legal milestones for animals.”
— Anima International
A 2020 ACE Standout Charity, Anima International envisions a world where animals are not treated as products.
Your donations to Anima International would support
- Movement building
- International campaigning teams
- Meat reduction
- Strengthening animal protection
- Impact research
The Humane League
“Real social change happens in collaboration with others. After all, this is a movement that’s bigger than ourselves. That’s why we share resources, train other nonprofit organizations, and cultivate a welcoming, collaborative, and changemaking community.”
— The Humane League
The Humane League exists to end the abuse of animals raised for food by influencing the policies of the world’s biggest companies, demanding legislation, and empowering others to take action and leave animals off their plates.
Your donation to The Humane League, a 2020 ACE Top Charity, would support
- Life-changing animal welfare policies that impact millions of animals each year
- Work to hold corporations accountable when they refuse to adopt progressive animal welfare policies or fail to meet their own policy deadlines
- Efforts to educate consumers about the realities of factory farming and increase the reach of The Humane League’s veg advocacy resources
The Good Food Institute (GFI)
“Our impression, from a variety of sources, is that GFI has been involved in one way or another in a large portion of the major developments in the plant-based and cell-cultured meat sectors since their founding.”
— Animal Charity Evaluators
The team at GFI, a 2020 ACE Top Charity, works with scientists, investors, and entrepreneurs to make groundbreaking good food a reality. GFI’s focus is on cultivated meat and plant-based alternatives to animal products: foods that are more delicious, safer to eat, and better for the planet than their outdated counterparts.
Your donation to GFI would support progress on the development of plant-based and cell-cultured meat technologies, through the following activities:
- International expansion
- Research grants
- Legal advocacy
- Corporate outreach
Animal Charity Evaluators (ACE)
“Our mission is to find and promote the most effective ways to help animals. We conduct research to identify some of the most impactful animal advocacy interventions—as well as the effective charities that use them—and then we promote those findings to the public.”
— Animal Charity Evaluators
The team at ACE has selected projects and goals that will enable them to continue supporting the effective animal advocacy community in accomplishing its shared objective: to help as many animals as possible.
Your donation to ACE would support
- Conducting in-depth research and charity evaluations
- Building educational resources
- Public outreach
“Since its foundation in 2006, thousands of people have come together to change and save lives. From a handful of committed activists to a global team of thousands with offices in eight countries, we have come a long way.”
— Animal Equality
With a global presence, Animal Equality is working to end the global crisis generated by animal agriculture. This organization is dedicated to educating the public and to the implementation of policies that protect animals.
Your donation to Animal Equality would support
- Undercover investigations
- Educational outreach
- Corporate outreach
- Legal advocacy
Wild Animal Initiative
“Ultimately, we envision a world in which people actively choose to help wild animals — and have the knowledge they need to do so responsibly.” — Wild Animal Initiative
The team at Wild Animal Initiative strives to understand and improve the lives of wild animals. Because this goal will only be possible through sound science, this nonprofit supports pioneering research into responsible ways to reduce animal suffering in the wild.
Your donation to Wild Animal Initiative, a 2020 ACE Top Charity, would support
- Conducting and publishing scientific research to catalyze conversations in academia
- Educating scientists, students, funders, and wildlife managers on the opportunities available in this growing field
- Securing institutional funding for groundbreaking wild animal welfare research
Sociedade Vegetariana Brasileira (SVB)
“Given their focus on effectiveness and their ability to assess areas of success and failure, we think that donors who are interested in bringing about large-scale change for animals in Brazil should consider donating to SVB.”
— Animal Charity Evaluations (ACE)
An ACE Standout Charity since 2018, Sociedade Vegetariana Brasileira (SVB) was founded in 2003 and has grown into a high-impact organization with twenty-five employees working to reduce meat, dairy, and egg consumption, and to make vegan products more accessible to Brazilians.
Your donation to SVB would support
- Promotion of plant-based diets through outreach and other activities
- Education of health professionals about the benefits of plant-based diets
- Distribution of plant-based school meals