Where Do Donations to animal rescues actually Go? 

Nikki Waterson - 13 Jan 2021

Have you ever wondered how animal rescues, animal shelters and animal; sanctuaries use donations? What impact does a donation actually have on the dogs, cats, pets and wildlife most in need?

When first setting up Paws for Giving a couple of years ago, it was a question I had to ask - when you choose to donate 50% of your profits to a cause, you would be crazy not to look into the nuts and bolts of how those causes are funded, and how they use their funds.

I realised back then that I wouldn’t be the only one who was interested in this information. So here it is, my breakdown of what happens to donations made to registered (I’ll explain this more as we go on!) animal shelter and rescue charities.

Why knowing where donations go is important

To date, your own experience in donating to animal charities may have meant choosing a dollar value and entering your card details online. Or perhaps you went a step further and purchased some extra tins of pet food during your weekly shop, then dropped them off after a quick Google of ‘dog food donations for rescues near me’.

And maybe you haven’t done these things. It could be that you would love to, but don’t have the spare change to donate. Or perhaps you see the responses to a request for donations on Facebook and it seems like others are donating and your contribution would be negligible.

I’ve been in your shoes, and these are all very real barriers to donating.

Sure, we all know that, theoretically, donations are important. After all, rescues are always asking for donations on Facebook, Instagram or their websites.

Maybe these requests were related to a sick cat in need of vet care at a pet shelter, or a dog with behavioural issues in need of intensive training at a dog rescue, or a general drive for donations to rebuild depleted food supplies for a wildlife sanctuary.

But there is a difference between seeing the requests for donations and actually understanding the operational costs for animal rescues to keep doing what they do.

So my goal in this blog is to arm you with the knowledge of the ways in which donations to Aussie animal rescues are used.

How to find Out Information About Aussies Animal Rescues

The first place I always start my search to find out more about any Charity in Australia is the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC).

The ACNC is the regulatory body for all Australian Charities and Not-for-profit organisations, and you can find a huge amount of publicly available information on every registered organisation on their website.

To keep things really simple, I have put together a step-by-step guide on exactly how to find where donations to a Aussie animal rescues go. But if you are looking for more of a general overview of where donations to Aussie animal rescue organisations go, this blog post has you covered.

Where do monetary donations to animal Rescues go? 

In general, whilst we may expect the largest chunk of our monetary donations to be used to feed, medically treat and care for the animals - there are a number of other ‘behind the scenes’ areas of the business which also rely on this financial support.

For example, monetary donations can go towards:

  • Buying direct animal care related supplies including food, enrichment aka toys, formula, accessories like leads and collars.
  • Veterinary costs for pets that need to be desexed and wormed routinely before adoption, as well as the fact that some pets come in worse for wear, and may require expensive treatments, medications or surgeries to save their life.
  • Community program delivery, education and outreach programs. Including buying materials, tools and supplies to carry this out.
  • Administration, accounting, financial record keeping and data management.
  • Marketing, whether in-house or having someone volunteer their expertise, there are always still going to be marketing costs for placing advertisements, updating websites, and creating marketing strategies for things like fundraisers and events.
  • Fundraising, creating or sourcing products to sell to supporters to raise funds, marketing fundraisers as already mentioned, and hiring spaces, equipment, consultants or contractors to get a fundraiser off the ground.
  • Training in everything animal shelter related, for people as well as pets!
  • Renting office, land, shed, storage, market stall or shop space. 
  • Paying utility bills, have to keep the lights on after all!
  • Funding transport costs, pet flights, vehicle repairs and maintenance.
  • Purchasing all kinds of small and large equipment, vehicles or even property.
  • IT, web design, software development and outsourcing.
  • And rarely, paying full-time staff a living wage!

So whilst your donation may not be fully spent on the animals directly, what the rescues do spend these funds on is equally as vital in saving animals.

Just think… If your local dog rescue for example didn’t have enough money to put fuel in the tank, there’s a chance they would be unable to take a sick pup to a vet appointment.

Or if a wildlife sanctuary was short on donations, they might not have enough money to pay a yearly subscription to their accounting software, they might be unable to keep up with their accounting and maintain that transparency we so appreciate!

Where do item donations to animal Rescues go? 

The answer to this question is more obvious. After all, there’s only so many things that your local pet rescue can do with your donated dog blankets, for example. But the important thing worth mentioning about item donations is the flow-on effect they have on the receiving animal rescue.

For example, if you donate cat food to your local pet shelter, that shelter now no longer needs to spend money to buy the cat food that you donated. The money that they may have spent on that cat food can now be spent on something equally vital, like veterinary costs for an emergency surgery.

The golden rule when it comes to making item donations to any kind of Aussie animal rescue is:

Check with the rescue directly about what items they want, before you donate anything.

Otherwise your item donations might end up in the bin, or taking up space where something else could be stored!

A Handy List of Item Donations that Animal Rescues May be interested in

Some ideas of items animal rescues may appreciate (confirm with the rescue first!) 

  • Tinned or dry cat and kitten food - dog food tends to be the most donated product with feline foods forgotten!
  • Meaty or fishy treats (pet approved of course).
  • Crates, blankets and beds.
  • Grooming supplies.
  • New and old toys (tennis balls, frisbees, flickers - just make sure the old toys are still in decent condition). 
  • Collars, leads and harnesses. 
  • Dog and cat coats and pyjamas, and thundershirts (for those anxious pups).
  • Hats and sunglasses for the dog walkers.
  • Newspapers, puppy pads, kitty litter or poop bags.
  • Cleaning supplies. 
  • Clickers or dog whistles.
  • General office supplies.
  • Well-kept old furniture you don’t need anymore. 

As mentioned, if you’re considering donating any of the above list to a rescue, make sure give them a call first.

Some rescues may have a policy against accepting certain items or they may be desperate for one thing in particular, so it’s always worth checking out. Plus, if they have a wishlist, the items on it may surprise you!

Alternatively, if for example you’re quite crafty, artistic or love a bit of woodwork, you could donate your creative projects to a rescue for them to use for fundraising.

Check out our article on 7 Easy And Inexpensive Ways To Donate To Animal Rescues for a range of helpful tips and resources on how you can support Aussie animal rescues, without breaking the bank!

In Conclusion...

The answer to the question of ‘Where do your donations go?’ is…

Lots of places!

As we’ve discovered, both your monetary and item donations to animal rescues are absolutely crucial to supporting a rescue’s operations. It’s only through our backing and voluntary aid that they can continue with their fantastic work of caring for our lovely furry friends. So the more we can support them, the more of an impact they can make.

I hope you’ve found this blog post informative. Reach out if you have any questions, and remember, 50% of the profit from all from Paws for Giving sales
 goes directly to a rescue, so it’s well worth making the change in the way you buy gifts for your loved ones! 

Together, we can pull together and achieve so much for our furry pals. Every dog, cat or other furry friend deserves to live a life full of love, health and happiness. And you know what? There’s nothing holding us back from making this a reality.  

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