Filed under: Animals

Cheers to Charity: Helping Around the Holidays

Comment (1) November 19, 2013

Pine trees.  Gilded glass ornaments.  Big gold boxes wrapped with shiny red ribbons.  The image of the holidays we have is one of people cozying up next to the fireplace stockings in their knitted reindeer sweaters with a plate of gingerbread cookies in one hand and a present in the other.

For most of us, our biggest worry is whether to buy the green scarf or the blue scarf for our mother-in-law, or which Lego kit was the one our son wanted.  Yet for many others, presents are the last thing on their minds this holiday season – they’re just thinking about how to last the winter months with enough food and warm clothing.

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Top 5 Volunteer Opportunities in Austin

Leave a Comment September 17, 2012

Want to volunteer or intern at a great Austin non-profit? Whether you’re new to Austin and want to learn about the city’s charities, trying to change up your routine with some local charity work, or just want to volunteer or intern at a neighborhood non-profit, everyone knows that the best way to find the right place for you is from the people who’ve been there!

Here’s a list of volunteers’ and interns’ favorite Austin charities. Every non-profit on this list earned has an overall score of 4 or greater out of 5 on GreatNonprofits.org, and must have been reviewed by at least 10 volunteers. If your favorite Austin non-profit or volunteer gig is missing, find it on GreatNonprofits.org, write a positive review, and show your co-volunteers how to start adding reviews and get it on the list! (more…)

Top 5 Volunteer Opportunities in Dallas

Comments (9) September 12, 2012

Want to volunteer or intern at a great Dallas non-profit? Whether you’re new to Dallas and want to learn about the city’s charities, trying to change up your routine with some local charity work, or just want to volunteer or intern at a neighborhood non-profit, everyone knows that the best way to find the right place for you is from the people who’ve been there!

Here’s a list of volunteers’ and interns’ favorite Dallas charities. Every non-profit on this list earned has an overall score of 4 or greater out of 5 on GreatNonprofits.org, and must have been reviewed by at least 10 volunteers. If your favorite Dallas non-profit or volunteer gig is missing, find it on GreatNonprofits.org, write a positive review, and show your co-volunteers how to start adding reviews and get it on the list! (more…)

Top 10 Volunteer Opportunities in LA

Comments (4) September 4, 2012

Want to volunteer or intern at a great LA non-profit? Whether you’re new to Los Angeles and want to learn about the city’s charities, trying to change up your routine with some local charity work, or just want to volunteer or intern at a neighborhood non-profit, everyone knows that the best way to find the right place for you is from the people who’ve been there!

Here’s a list of volunteers’ and interns’ favorite LA charities. Every non-profit on this list earned has an overall score of 4 or greater out of 5 on GreatNonprofits.org, and must have been reviewed by at least 10 volunteers. If your favorite Los Angeles non-profit or volunteer gig is missing, find it on GreatNonprofits.org, write a positive review, and show your co-volunteers how to start adding reviews and get it on the list! (more…)

Top 10 Volunteer Opportunities in Chicago

Leave a Comment August 27, 2012

Want to volunteer or intern at a great Chicago non-profit? Whether you’re new to Chicago and want to learn about the city’s charities, trying to change up your routine with some local charity work, or just want to volunteer or intern at a neighborhood non-profit, everyone knows that the best way to find the right place for you is from the people who’ve been there!

Here’s a list of volunteers’ and interns’ favorite Chicago charities. Every non-profit on this list earned has an overall score of 4 or greater out of 5 on GreatNonprofits.org, and must have been reviewed by at least 10 volunteers. If your favorite Chicago non-profit or volunteer gig is missing, find it on GreatNonprofits.org, write a positive review, and show your co-volunteers how to start adding reviews and get it on the list! (more…)

Top 10 Volunteer Opportunities in New York City

Comment (1) August 27, 2012

Want to volunteer or intern at a great New York City non-profit? Whether you’re new to New York and want to learn about the city’s charities, trying to change up your routine with some local charity work, or just want to volunteer or intern at a neighborhood non-profit, everyone knows that the best way to find the right place for you is from the people who’ve been there!

Here’s a list of volunteers’ and interns’ favorite New York charities. Every non-profit on this list earned has an overall score of 4 or greater out of 5 on GreatNonprofits.org, and must have been reviewed by at least 10 volunteers. If your favorite New York non-profit or volunteer gig is missing, find it on GreatNonprofits.org, write a positive review, and show your co-volunteers how to start adding reviews and get it on the list! (more…)

Top 10 Volunteer Opportunities in San Francisco

Comment (1) August 27, 2012

Want to volunteer or intern at a great San Francisco non-profit? Whether you’re new to San Francisco and want to learn about the city’s charities, trying to change up your routine with some local charity work, or just want to volunteer or intern at a neighborhood non-profit, everyone knows that the best way to find the right place for you is from the people who’ve been there!

Here’s a list of volunteers’ and interns’ favorite San Francisco charities. Every non-profit on this list earned has an overall score of 4 or greater out of 5 on GreatNonprofits.org, and must have been reviewed by at least 10 volunteers.

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SPCA International Going to the Dogs?

Comments (15) June 15, 2012

CNN investigates SPCA International

CNN investigates SPCA International

Is SPCA International going to the dogs? Because the money apparently isn’t. CNN exposed today that while the charity raised $14 million in 2010, only about $60,000 went to local shelters and only about 3% of the $14 million went to a questionable program called “Baghdad Pups,” designed to safely transport home dogs that are used in service by the military.

According to CNN, SPCA’s own communications director admits that only 26 out of almost 500 animals transported were actually service animals, such as bomb-sniffing dogs. Apparently, these 26 dogs were also not affiliated with the military, but were in fact owned by a contractor building roads in Iraq and Afghanistan. The contractor insists that the dogs had been offered homes, SPCA insists otherwise. A representative of the program has previously been investigated by the state of California for questionable spending at another nonprofit specializing in homeless dogs.

You may remember another recent investigation launched by CNN looking into the fundraising practices of the Disabled Veterans National Foundation, who claimed to be helping vets, while they gave millions of fundraising dollars to Quadriga Arts, the same direct marketing company that SPCA International owed more than $8 million to in 2010. This sparked a recent senate investigation. Disabled Veterans National Foundation was earning negative reviews on GreatNonprofits.org  well prior to the investigation. Management of SPCA International has run into issues before with Quadriga. In fact, Quadriga has a lien on the US-based charity due to a debt of $2 million from the Montreal SPCA.

What you can do

SPCA International has no reviews on GreatNonprofits.org, however, many other local and national animal organizations are highly recommended on our site, where you can browse and review top-rated animal nonprofits. Similar concerns were voiced by reviewers of the ASPCA. We urge you to read through reviews of an organization before you select one to volunteer at or donate to. Many of these organizations devote their time and resources to helping homeless dogs in innovative ways.

We would love to hear your comments about how to best help homeless dogs.

San Francisco Fights Panhandling with Puppies

Leave a Comment June 15, 2012

homeless puppy san francisco panhandling

Trading homeless puppies for panhandling in San Francisco

San Francisco is bringing new meaning to the phrase “begging for a puppy.” In fact, the city is hoping that its panhandling population will trade one for the other. The city has long battled its panhandling problem with everything from outlawing sitting on the sidewalk to local employment programs with not much luck. Now that already overpopulated  local animal shelters are seeing a huge influx in surrendered dogs due to the economic downturn, a new program pairing problem pups with certain panhandlers might be part of the solution. (more…)

Undiscovered Green Nonprofits Stand Out in Usual Contest

Leave a Comment May 6, 2012

When we here at GreatNonprofits announced the winners of the 2012 Green Awards, we saw some fascinating trends.  The organizations with the most reviews are far from the usual suspects; the leading nonprofits are small and local and frequently boast uncommon and niche missions.

One of the contest winners was the Bat World Sanctuary, based in Mineral Wells, TX. The nonprofit, dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of bats has racked up 144 reviews and have nearly a five-out-of-five star average. The Sanctuary works to protect wild bat colonies and provides sanctuary for non-releasable bats.

Reviews ranged from kids who got help with school projects through the nonprofit, to wildlife rehabilitators. One reviewer stressed the importance of the organization’s educational component, “I feel that Bat World Sanctuary is doing a great deal to educate the public on the importance of bats, along with protecting these incredible creatures.” Another reviewer mentions needing help identifying bats, writing “The only group that responded to my plea for information was Bat World Sanctuary.”

The contest, which allowed local environmental nonprofits to be honored through online volunteer, client and donor reviews, was created as a way to bring attention to under-the-radar organizations doing exemplary work to promote sustainability and the environment.   More than 130 nonprofits participated.

Another winning organization, WiserEarth, hopes to spread the messages of sustainability by offering a website covering eco-issues in Spanish, French, Chinese, German, Italian, Portuguese and Indonesian. Volunteers help with translation. Reviewers were impressed with the global and local opportunities the site provides:

“I am passionate about the potential impact nonprofits can have then they work together to build movements, instead of trying to “own” the cause or work themselves. As such, I was incredibly happy to work with WiserEarth to collaborate on local groups and events around the world that meant local organizations could come together, share knowledge, and grow together. WiserEarth’s collaborative approach is refreshing and promising!”

The Professional Animal Retirement Center shows 15,000 people around their sanctuary every year. Visitors learn about more than 45 exotic and endangered former “pets” and retired performers, and about conservation of endangered species and habitats.

“I love visiting,” writes one reviewer. “It was such an up close experience in seeing the animals, and the care that is tendered them is so very clear.”

Mindy Stinner, Executive Director at Conservators’ Center, another winning organization, says she entered the contest to get feedback from volunteers. The reviews the organization received “brought some of our hardworking employees and volunteers to tears,” she says. More importantly though,  the reviews highlighted what people like most about the enter, which Stinner says has helped it better refine what it does to ensure that visitors walk away determined to spread the word.

The results of this contest is consistent with the overall ratings of nonprofits on the website.  Small and local nonprofits consistently get higher satisfaction ratings from volunteers and donors than larger and national ones.

Why is this?  We believe that smaller organizations provide meaningful opportunities for volunteers to do real programmatic work – not just stuff mailers.  They also provide more hands-on opportunities for donors.  Donors might be able to visit the nonprofit, or meet with the staff or participate as a volunteer on a project.  Smaller organizations are probably also a lot more “high-touch” – they can respond quickly to donor or volunteer requests or feedback.

And most importantly, the work of local organizations is more visible in the community where donors and volunteers live.

A sort of Zagat guide of candid reviews of nonprofits, GreatNonprofits.org provides a platform for those who want to share their experience and also functions as a library of honest, user-generated content to aid potential volunteers and donors in their search for the right nonprofit.


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