Whether you run an animal shelter or work (or volunteer!) at one, you know that although the adorable dogs and cats bring in plenty of visitors, sometimes it can be tough to bring in funds. Like any charity, there’s overhead to take care of and last-minute costs that come up. You’re doing good work taking care of the animals, but you need to have some support on your side to help you do that good work.
That’s why fundraisers ought to be one of the backbones of your animal shelter! Everyone likes supporting the animals, and with a bit of creativity you can put on an event that’s both memorable and successful.
Here are five of our favorites:
Bark in the park
Nothing could be better than an outdoor get-together to celebrate all things canine! Organize a small festival in your town where dog lovers can get together with their four-legged friends, and sell tickets for people to attend (and bring their pups, of course). Make sure to publicize it well across social media – everyone loves the chance to see a gathering of dogs, particularly if there’s a costume aspect, an obstacle course, or a tricks competition.
You could also incorporate smaller fundraisers into this event, like a raffle for pet accessories and toys, or a bake sale with an animal theme (treats for both humans and pets!).
Get snap happy
If social media is any indication, everybody loves taking photos of their beloved pets. Why not make it easy for them by providing a prime opportunity to get professional photos done? Your animal shelter could set up a photo area on location (which can bring in some extra foot traffic to your shelter) and arrange for a photographer to take photos of pets for a fee.
Don’t forget to also have a donation jar available and staff on hand to explain the good work that your shelter is doing! Make sure that the shelter is accessible – a pet owner coming in to get Fido’s photo taken may end up leaving with a new friend.
Sure, there’s the classic “get your pet’s photo taken with Santa” that’s a can’t-miss when it gets close to the holidays (think of all those adorable Christmas cards!), but The Humane Society also suggests events like “Howl-o-Ween” (costumes!) or “Mardi Paw” that play off seasonal occasions.
Also, you can consider the seasonal climate where you are, and host something like an ice cream social (dogs like frosty treats too!). Bring together the community to have some sweet things and meet each others’ pets.
Organize a pet wash
Sure, this one might not go over so well with most cats, but for dogs, a pet wash could be barking up the right tree. Gather together all the supplies you’ll need and charge pet owners a small fee to give their pet a good bath. Especially useful in the summer months or when it’s damp outside (nobody likes that wet-dog smell)!
Additionally, you can include separate, smaller fundraisers with a pet wash – a bake sale, selling pet toys and collars, and so on.
Take a walk on the wild side
…with an animal-themed marathon or charity walk! Encourage participants to gather pledges and do the race while wearing an animal costume, even if it’s just ears and a tail. This could be an event for all ages – think of how cute kids would be in animal onesies! – with a walking component for those who don’t want to run a marathon. And of course, dogs would be welcome to walk the course along with their owners.
These ideas are just scratching (get it?) the surface of what fundraising events your animal shelter could hold. Equip yourself with some good peer-to-peer fundraising software and get ready to make an impact!