Defenders of Wildlife

Rating: 3.35 stars   40 reviews

Issues: Animals

Location: 1130 17th St Nw Washington DC 20036 USA

Mission: Defenders of Wildlife is a solution-oriented organization dedicated to saving rare animals and plants, conserving habitat, and building a broad constituency for protecting wildlife and wild places. We harness the skills and expertise of more than 100 scientists, wildlife specialists, educators, activists, economists, and attorneys to work in the halls of Congress, state legislatures, the courts, local communities, and more than a dozen offices in North America. We develop and encourage conservation of entire ecosystems and interconnected habitats while protecting predators that serve as indicator species for ecosystem health. Through this multi-pronged approach of education, advocacy, research and litigation, we specifically work to protect native animals and plants, restore and preserve habitat, and advocate for conservation legislation.
Geographic areas served: North America
Programs: Defenders of Wildlife's operating programs include: (1) Species Conservation, including restoration/protection of wolves and bears in their natural habitat and wild bird conservation; (2) Legal actions and Endangered Species Act reauthorization; (3) Habitat Conservation, including the Habitat for Bears Campaign, Alaska wolf protection and forestry issues; and (4) Oregon Biodiversity Project, a state conservation effort through public education and joint activism joined with the development of technological instruments to survey state biodiversity.
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EIN 53-0183181
202-682-9400
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Community Reviews

Rating: 3 stars  

5 people found this review helpful

There is a very large discrepancy between what Defenders say is spent on the program and what Charity Navigator reports. One very large expense that concerns me is the compensation for the CEO. In my view, this is too high for any charity. Note, that if you want to make a bundle maybe working in banking is the way to go and not for a charity.
I, like many others, am also concerned about the number of mailings soliciting funds. Why can’t Defenders use email as a way to “notice members” and cut down on the cost. Too many of the letters confuse members about their dues. I have long felt this is intentional to “double bill” and overlap memberships.
On the other hand, no other charity that I know of as been a better champion for the wolf. Defenders have done great work in not only the re-introduction but also the protection for the wolf.
I have now written a formal letter to the board asking them to review their mail solicitation policy and to review the executive compensation. My membership and continued support will depend on the action the take. As for now, based on the recent killing of the well-known Alpha female wolf in the Yellowstone pack, I will retain my membership and increase my contribution. This senseless “trophy killing” may have been legal but it is not only deplorable, misguided, and immoral. Let’s stop the hunt!!

Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

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Unsure

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When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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Review from CharityNavigator
Rating: 1 stars  

5 people found this review helpful

I had no idea that these guys spent so little on programs and so much on fundraising and administrative costs..It must have changed recently. I'm throwing their stuff in the recycle bin as soon as I'm done this rating

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Unsure

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

No

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Unlikely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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Review from CharityNavigator
Rating: 2 stars  

6 people found this review helpful

Up until today I had an automatic monthly donation set up and had for years. Today I began researching all of the organizations I currently donate to and am thinking of donating to. I would rather donate to an organization that pays it's CEO/president a minimal compensation rather than one so exorbitant. Defenders of Wildlife pays one of the largest salaries of any of the groups I researched today. I'm canceling my donation.

Was your donation impactful?

Unsure

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Unlikely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Unlikely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 2 stars  

3 people found this review helpful

When I was a regular donor, there was no way to identify your membership renewal...there's no place on the form to add your membership number. Hence, I got duplicate memberships because I didn't renew EXACTLY as I did the year before. When I decided to cut back expenses, Defenders refused to stop sending requests for $$ after sending many requests...I send their form back in the postage-paid envelope.

Was your donation impactful?

Unlikely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

No

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

No

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

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Review from CharityNavigator
Rating: 1 stars  

Like many of the other reviewers, I have found Defenders to be lacking in the management of their funds and totally unresponsive to suggestions as to how to improve their efficiency. Specifically, I do not like their executive pay scale or the constant mailings. I have written to them three times to remove my name from their mailing list to no avail. I have informed them that my decision to no longer support them is based on the information and reviews on Charity Navigator, but they don't seem to care. So be it! There are many other environmental organizations who do excellent work.

Was your donation impactful?

Unlikely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

No

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

No

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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Review from CharityNavigator
Rating: 2 stars  

I used to donate to this organization, but now send my donations to other wildlife organizations that don't inundate me with mail, and sent gifts that I have declined. The organization does good work, but have lost control of their donation request process.

Was your donation impactful?

Likely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Unlikely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Unlikely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

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Review from CharityNavigator
Rating: 3 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

I am grateful for the information provided by Charity Navigator, and I personally mostly look at program, administrative and fundraising expenses, including the president's salary, as well as reviews (I don't agree with giving so much importance to the rest). According to these criteria, Defenders is not performing well. I too have been solicited for extra donations for the wolves, and I am disturbed to read comments by donors on this issue. I have found a charity called "Wildlife Conservation Network" in California, which seems to be doing the kind of work I thought Defenders was doing, and I decided to make the switch.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I just donated

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

perhaps be more honest

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Review from CharityNavigator
Rating: 1 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

Pretty tired of them taking credit for work that they are barely involved in. They are touting themselves as the leader in washington's wolf issue, and we all know that groups like Conservation Northwest and Wolf Haven are much more involved on the ground for real change. It's sort of crappy of them to fundraise on that message.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

not really

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Slow down the fundraising juggernaut and ask them to be honest about the other groups they are riding over.

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Rating: 2 stars  

4 people found this review helpful

I use to love donating to this charity, but had questions regarding how they raise monies to protect the wolves and also their adopt a wolf cub program. It seems that there are countless mailings, and in my mind, I am thinking "what a waste of trees!" I donated every year until recent hard times have made it difficult for me to continue donating to my favorite charities as much as I have in the past. I notified them that I wanted to cancel my monthly donations in their Adopt a Wolf Cub Program. They complied. However two months after I opted out of the program, my credit card was charged for a monthly donation amount. I called them and asked AGAIN, to remove me from the program. After a month went by, my credit card was charged for another monthly donation. I went through all the phone numbers they list to try to connect with someone who would cancel my membership and monthly donations. I did end up with someone who assured me that the matter would effectively be taken care of. However, I constantly have to be on my guard, watching my credit card monthly statements to be sure that no more charges are being levied against my account. It's sad because I love animals and want to see the wolves protected. But to this date, the slaughter of wolves in Wyoming and Montana from airplanes is still being done, and I see no real effective action on the part of Defenders of Wildlife.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

their office mismanagement. While they were courteous when I called to complain about the two unauthorized charges against my credit card, the fact is that I'm disappointed with the way the mishap was handled.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

stop the continuous paper mailings and use e-mail to get the word out on this organization's mission. They offer all kinds of "gifts" to donors who subscribe or donate. Another waste of money. People who care and want to help our national wildlife don't really need a tee-shirt, an umbrella, a calendar, etc. for joining the organization. Money spent on "gifts" would be best spent by this organization on actual efforts to protect the animals they represent.

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Review from CharityNavigator
Rating: 1 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

Defenders of Wildlife recent disappointed members by their lack of sufficient protection of wolves in Montana and Idaho. The following is a quote from:
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/7881510/opinion_defenders_fails_to_defend_wolves.html?cat=48

'Last Friday, the 18th of March, will be a day forever emblazened into the minds of wolf advocates and supporters throughout the nation, as it was on this day that Defenders of Wildlife and 9 other plaintiffs in the two delisting lawsuits to restore federal protection to wolves, sold out these passionate advocates."
"For an organization that took in over $28million last year, according to their ***IRS filing for 2009, I personally think they could do a lot better if perhaps they didn't pay out 43% of their contributions in salary and compensation, including over $360,000 in annual compensation for Rodger Schlickeisen, CEO of Defenders of Wildlife and another $2.5 million for the other 14 officers of Defenders of Wildlife. I think perhaps its time we took a good hard look at these organizations, and especially the money they generate in highly lucrative salaries, and start asking some tough questions."

Best to read the whole article.

This organization will not see any more donations from me until they demonstrate that they are actually what they say they are and not just an organization of high salaried impostors.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

They have not performed as expected. They had a fine reputation, but their recent "compromise" in allowing culling of wolves is just not acceptable.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Please update your information on your web site rating of Defenders of Wildlife, since the most recent salaries and expenses is not current, it appears.

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Review from CharityNavigator