Many rescue groups like the one I volunteer with survive solely on donations. They are completely volunteer run, so no paid employees. Every penny they take in goes directly to help the animals. The biggest expense by far is for vet bills. Even though there are many wonderful veterinarians out there who will offer a reduced cost for rescue groups, the expense is still very great. Part of the cost can be recovered through adoption fees, but a much larger part needs to come from donations and fundraisers. We don't get money from large groups like the Humane Society, or from the government. It all comes from individuals making small donations at adoption events, or from the various fundraisers we try to hold in the community.