ChristmasThe holiday season is the giving season. Giving Tuesday, the Tuesday that follows Black Friday and Cyber Monday, has been a new call to giving in the past few years and there are the staples like the Salvation Army bell ringers and the angel trees throughout town. But animal welfare charities are some of the most overlooked in the nonprofit industry so if you are looking to give this might be the year to consider helping animals.

More than 30 percent of the projected $380 billion in total annual donations to nonprofits this year will be made in the month of December and 10 percent of which, $30 billion, will be donated during the last 48 hours of the year. But in 2014, only 3 percent of charitable giving went to animal welfare organizations.

Animal shelters like Flagler Humane Society have animals to care for throughout the year and not just during the holidays. One of the best ways to support these organizations is to consider making donations in a person’s honor in lieu of gifts.

There is even a Facebook page called “Donate to charity instead of giving Christmas presents” that’s dedicated to the idea and spreading the word about it. Its description says, “This is just a page that hopefully will spread the idea of, instead of filling our lives with useless things, filling someone else’s life out there with hope. I personally have more than I need and want to do something for Christmas that makes a difference.”

Volunteerism goes up during this time of year as well, but again animal organizations always need help throughout the year. From interacting with the animals, to doing maintenance on buildings and vehicles to even laundry there are countless opportunities to help anytime. Another great way to help is to join an organization’s monthly giving program to ensure the animals you care about are cared for all year long.

But the best way you can help an animal shelter during the holidays is by adopting your next family member. It might not change the world, but it will change the world for that one animal.