Animal shelters play a critical role in keeping animals safe. They are a haven for abandoned and abused animals. Running an animal shelter is no easy feat. It costs money to cater to the animals’ health, food, and general welfare. So how do you run an animal shelter without breaking the bank? You fundraise. Traditional fundraisers cost lots of money and take longer to set up, but you can implement other creative strategies to save you both time and money.
Here are some useful and inexpensive fundraising ideas that are worth a try:
1. Dog walk
One of the cheapest ways to host a dog fundraiser is the good old dog walking idea. All you need are a few volunteers plus a clearly mapped out, safe route. Pet owners interested in your cause can bring their dogs and pay to have them walked or you could create a pick-up route and help them take care of the day’s dog walking for a fees.
Check out how Every Dog – Dog Training and Consulting is doing this to urge dog owners to donate funds while learning something new with their pets. Their special Take the Lead dog walk fundraiser is open to everyone, with an instructor leading the training exercises focused on good leash manners, social skills, and training with distractions.
2. Dog washing and/or grooming
Another easy and fun way to raise funds for an animal shelter is by holding a dog washing and/or grooming day. Just like a dog run, this event is relatively easy and inexpensive to plan. All you need are a couple of professional dog groomers and a clean, animal-friendly space. Pet owners seeking to contribute to your cause can bring their pooches and pay to have them washed or groomed. The pet owners get their dogs cleaned up, and you raise funds for an animal shelter. Win-win for everyone!
See how Canine & Co. is crafting their own dog wash fundraiser to support two charities: Candlelighters and Huddersfield Feral & Strays. Fifteen-minute dog washatons, raffles, games, and snacks are provided throughout the entire day.
3. Sale of merchandise
What things have the potential to trigger impulse buying in pet owners and animal lovers? If you have the answer to this question, then you can have a successful animal shelter fundraiser by selling merchandise.
When selling items, go for items such as t-shirts, bags, and caps that include your rescue’s logo. Selling such wearable merchandise helps creates awareness for both your organisation and your mission. Just make sure that the print is something that resonates with dog owners.
Alternatively, you can sell fast-moving pet products such as dog collars or toys for a higher margin. Most pet owners won’t mind buying from you for a slightly higher price if you make it clear that it’s for charity.
4. Bark park
Besides having a catchy name, bark parks provide the perfect setting for an animal fundraiser. Bark parks are parks that invite dog lovers and their pets to socialise and play. When using a bark park for a fundraiser, you can organise fun games that dog owners can partake in with their pets, and charge a small fee. Most dog owners will be willing to pay a fee to play fun games with their dogs, especially when the funds raised go to a noble cause such as an animal shelter.
Skinner Bark Park offers a safe place for its community dogs to socialize off-leash. Aside from asking for online donations, they hold seasonal events to raise money for the park’s cleaning and maintenance fees.
5. Bake sales
For your next animal shelter fundraiser, why not appeal to dog lovers’ taste buds? Bake sales make for a great fundraising idea because they combine two amazing things—snacks and dogs! With a bake sale, you can utilise your creativity and sell dog-themed muffins and cakes. All you need is a good baker and a clean, spacious place where pet owners can hang out with their dogs as they enjoy the snacks. It’d help if you can bake to save on hiring a baker. You can supplement your bake sale by selling your muffins and cakes online or even taking custom orders and charging more for them.
6. Partnering with schools
School-animal shelter partnerships make for a great fundraising strategy, but they require a lot of planning. How this works is that an animal shelter partners with a school and assigns a pet to each class. Children can then raise funds for pet supplies while bonding with their new pet. This fundraising strategy is beneficial to both the school and the animal shelter involved. The school gets a positive image within the community while teaching children about responsibility towards animals. The animal shelter, on the other hand, gets exposure and funds to cater for the animals.
Raffles are an inexpensive and fun way to raise funds for almost any cause. Knowing your potential donors’ need is crucial in raffling since you need to raffle off things that interest them. In the case of an animal shelter, you’d need to raffle things that appeal to pet owners such as dog toys and grooming packages. You can sell raffle tickets at a low price, then announce the winners at a small party preferably in a dog park.
Darna Animal Sanctuary‘s unique raffle appeals to dog owners who would like a tattoo or watercolour painting of their pet. The funds raised will help secure a new sanctuary and build fences that will hold the animals in.
8. Dog sitting services
Most dog owners are in constant need of a pet sitter, which makes pet sitting a great animal fundraising strategy. Whether you run an animal shelter or you are an animal lover fundraising for a local shelter, you can pet sit to raise funds. All you need is some marketing skills to promote your pet sitting services. Alternatively, you can start by pet sitting for pet owners who know you or ask them for referrals.
9. Pet photo shoots
Pet owners love keeping photos of their pets, even more so when the pictures are taken professionally. Why not capitalise on this to fundraise for an animal shelter? To get started, you’d need a photo booth, a digital SLR camera, and some photography skills. If you have access to a park with decent scenery, then you can eliminate the need for a photo booth and turn it into an outdoor photo shoot. Not only will a pet photo shoot help you raise funds for a noble cause, but it will also provide the participating pet owners with something to remember the day by.
Topeka Spay/Neuter Project partnered with a professional photographer to take beautiful photos of pets and their owners in exchange for a nominal fee that would provide food, medical care, and shelter to unwanted kittens.
Planning a fundraiser is not easy, but you can turn it into an inexpensive and fun affair for everyone involved. Whether you are an animal shelter owner or just someone who is passionate about animals, you can implement any of these nine easy ideas. Go ahead and be inspired to fundraise for the animal shelters in your locale today!
Cover photo by Justin Veenema on Unsplash