Left your run for Christmas presents a bit late? Or perhaps you’re just “not feeling it” this year. Or the thought of spending money on a whole lot of money on gifts seems simply wasteful and that is just not where you’re at.

We can relate. If you can too, but you’re still feeling the pressure to buy gifts, or perhaps you really want to give something truly meaningful, then why not consider a donation to a worthy charity on your loved ones’ behalf?

Charity donation is the perfect gift idea and as a bonus stress relief, it can be done online, so it nixes the angst of driving, parking, queues, or wasteful gift wrapping! It’s honestly a wonderful way to be part of the festive season while meeting your inner need to make the world a bit brighter.

With this in mind, here’s our round up of a few truly Christmas-worthy charities. Some are household names, while others you may not have heard of. Some work at the coal face of activism, while others work at a grass roots level seeking to change law and educate the next generation. But they all have one thing in common – they use their resources to arm people with the tools they need to drive change.  And if that isn’t what the Christmas spirit is about, we don’t know what is! Happy (and conscious) shopping!

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)
This international powerhouse whose campaigns regularly make front page news, is the largest animal rights organisation in the world. PETA focuses its attention on four key areas where animals suffer: in laboratories, in the food industry, in the clothing trade and in the entertainment industry. Their work spans public education, cruelty investigations, research, animal rescue, legislation, special events, celebrity involvement and protest campaigns.

 

ACT Asia
Established to help Asian cultures evolve into caring societies, respecting all forms of life, Act Asia’s educational campaigns work with three defined groups, these being children, consumers and professionals. While using different campaigns and approaches for each of these targets, all activity actively promotes compassion for animals, kindness towards people and respect for the environment in China and throughout Asia.

 

Four PAWS
As one of the largest international animal protection charities in the world, Four Paws’ main objective is to create a world without animal suffering, by implementing effective campaigns and projects that provide solutions for animals in need. Well known for their tireless work in fighting the bile trade and freeing bile bears, they also work in addressing the tiger trade and have actively campaigned major fashion houses to join the fur-free fashion movement.

 

IAPF (International Anti-Poaching Foundation)
Founded by former marine, Damien Mander (who gave a rousing TEDX talk on poaching and veganism), IAPF defends African wildlife (such as elephants, rhinos and gorillas) by targeting poachers using advanced military strategies and technology. In recognising that across Africa, anti-poaching tactics had remained largely unchanged for decades and as a result, the war against poachers was being lost, IAPF took a new, military approach. In addition to its “on the ground” work, IAPF also works alongside partners who specialise in community engagement and development, research and development, wildlife rescue and biodiversity.

Animals Australia
Australia’s leading animal protection organisation, whose investigations and campaigns have global acclaim, continues to unite millions of people who believe in a world where animals are free from cruelty. Animal Australia’s work is focused around investigations that expose animal abuse wherever it occurs (such as the Live Export trade), and public awareness initiatives designed to empower and inspire people to adopt cruelty free lifestyle choices. When making a donation, you can choose which area you wish to support, such as factory farming, live export or cruelty-free living.

World Land Trust (WLT)
An international conservation, WLT’s mission is to protect and sustainably manage the world’s most biologically significant natural ecosystems by conserving their biodiversity, with emphasis on threatened habitats and endangered species. Through a network of partner organisations around the world, WLT funds the creation of reserves and provides permanent protection for habitats and wildlife.

 

Friends of Animals (FoA)
An international organisation, FoA advocates for the rights of non-human animals to be free from cruelty and institutionalised exploitation around the world. It places critical habitat, wildlife protection and veganism at the core of its animal advocacy. In addition to legislative work in getting laws passed to protect animals, FoA also operates an animal sanctuary, Primarily Primates, in Texas (USA) which cares for more than 400 primates, birds and other animals that have been victims of the exotic pet trade, research or the entertainment industry.

 

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS)
With its instantly recognisable skull bone logo plastered on the side of ships, tee shirts and everything in between, these guys are hard to miss, as the force of their will to do great things. While the activism undertaken by Sea Shepherd can polarise, there’s no disputing that the “Defenders of the Ocean” have galvanised a passionate ground swell of activists and supporters. Their mission? To end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife in the world’s oceans in order to conserve and protect ecosystems and species. After all, as their founder, Captain Paul Watson, once said, “if the oceans die, we die”.

 

Voiceless – the animal protection institute
Working to equip the youth of today with resources required to be tomorrow’s change makers, Voiceless is at the forefront of the Animal Law movement in Australia. Their multi-faceted educational program for law students increases knowledge and awareness of animal protection issues in our legal systems, while their animal protection education (APE) resources are designed by educators for educators and are aligned with the Australian high school curriculum. APEs investigate key animal protection issues and ethical and legal concepts, helping students understand the relationship between human and nonhuman animals.

 

The Jane Goodall Institute
While Jane Goodall is famous for her ground-breaking work with chimpanzees, there’s a lot more to this charity that you see on the surface. In addition to protecting chimpanzees, the Jane Goodall Institute aims to inspire people globally to conserve the natural world we share with other beings and improve the lives of people, animals and the environment. Its wide-ranging work focuses on restoring critical habitat to save chimpanzees from extinction; improving health for women and education for girls; cultivating local livelihoods in harmony with nature and helping young people become an informed generation of conservation leaders.

Main image courtesy of Four PAWS.