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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animals, Protection of Endangered Species, Wildlife Preservation & Protection, Wildlife Sanctuaries

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.

Community Stories

31 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

3

Donor

Rating: 5

I love wolves and want to help protect them. The work they do on behalf of wolves and other wildlife is very important and they are relentless in the face of heavy opposition.

3

Donor

Rating: 5

Defenders is one of the most effective animal rights and environmental organizations.

2

Donor

Rating: 5

I'm thankful there's a group like Defenders to help all the animals that can't help themselves.

3

Donor

Rating: 5

I count on Defenders to do the work I, as an individual, cannot do alone.

2

Donor

Rating: 5

I have designated Defenders as a beneficiary in my IRA because it remains focused and committed to saving wolves and other species and the habitats they need to survive.

2

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been a member since I was 17, and I am happy to leave my Roth IRA to Defenders of Wildlife to care for wolves and other at-risk species after I am gone.

Donor

Rating: 5

I support Defenders of Wildlife and have included them in my will because I believe they have the foresight to do what is necessary to protect our wildlife and preserve our heritage.

8 Martin S.

Donor

Rating: 2

I have been a long-time contributor to Defender, especially for their work with wolves. However, I've noticed that Defenders like to use the plight of the wolf as a fund-raising opportunity and they don't do much to help the wolf. I am very disappointed with their reaction to the wolf plight. They need to spend more on programs rather than fundraising.

Review from CharityNavigator

4

Donor

Rating: 3

I have made donations to Defenders for quite a while, and I have met a number of people working there.
There is no doubt in my mind that those that I have spent time with are extremely devoted to the conservation of wildlife. However, I am troubled by the Charity Navigator rating and Ms. Clark's explanation of accounting changes. I understand the concept of a 'membership organization', but I hope that defender's can increase their efficiency and improve their score despite the rating changes. It makes it more difficult for me to recommend this organization when people ask me to explain the two star rating.

Review from CharityNavigator

7

Donor

Rating: 3

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!!

Review from CharityNavigator