Fundraising is vital to the operation of any animal welfare organization. Lately, we’ve heard about several fundraising events that are equal parts engaging, successful, and most importantly, pretty replicable no matter how bootstrapped your organization may be. Below is a list of some of our favorites along with some tips on how you can do them yourself.
Don’t see your go-to event on the list below? We love hearing about all the fun ways you’re successfully raising money for your organization. Reach out to us on Facebook and let us know what you’re up to!
1. Doga (Dog Yoga)
What’s more stress-relieving than a Saturday evening yoga class? A Saturday evening yoga class with puppies, of course. Wright-Way Rescue in Morton Grove, IL hosts monthly Doga (dog yoga) classes featuring some of the shelter’s most adorable—and adoptable—pups. Tickets are $20 each and all proceeds go straight to Wright-Way, making for a fun and affordable workout for potential adopters and a perfect opportunity for adoptable dogs to let loose as well.
Let’s not forget that cats are natural yogis, so this is a great idea for cat-focused rescues as well. Yoga4Cats hosts frequent yoga fundraisers featuring flexible felines!
Do it yourself: As long as you have the space at your shelter or a partnership with a local studio, an instructor (be sure to check with your volunteers and adopters to see if anyone is a certified yoga instructor who’s willing to spare a couple hours!), and a group of volunteers available to handle the animals and supervise the class, you’re good to go! Pro tip: Ask participants to bring their own mats so it’s one less thing for you to worry about.
2. Group Walks
Walks are an important part of every dog / owner relationship, so they’re a perfect fundraising opportunity for your organization. Every year, Best Friends Animal Society hosts Strut Your Mutt, a series of charity walks across the country that encourages participants to fundraise either for Best Friends itself or a participating animal welfare organization of their choice. Last year, Best Friends raised $2 million and 350 organizations participated in the event.
Do it yourself: If you can’t participate in Strut Your Mutt, it’s pretty easy to organize a group walk on your own, especially if you use Meetup or Facebook events to get the word out. But before you pick a dog-friendly trail that can accommodate a large group, make sure that you go through proper legal channels to ensure that you can indeed host a fundraiser in that area (reaching out to a local parks department is a good start). If a charity walk isn’t possible, you can host a trainer for a loose leash walking workshop at your shelter as a fundraiser instead!
3. Painting for Pets
Paint and sip classes are super popular these days, and many rescues are jumping on the trend as a fun fundraising opportunity. NOVA Pets Alive in Chantilly, VA, for example, teamed up with a Muse Paintbar for an evening that allowed participants to let their creative and charitable juices flow. $18 of each ticket went towards NOVA Pets Alive’s lifesaving efforts, and participants got to take home their masterpieces as souvenirs!
Do it yourself: No paint and sip studio nearby? Any sort of arts and crafts fundraiser could be a worthwhile event for your organization, be it drawing, photography, origami, calligraphy, or even making balloon animals—whatever will garner interest and give participants a chance to take their creations home is fair game.
4. Dog (or Cat!) Movie Trivia
If you’re like us, you’ve probably seen Beethoven and Homeward Bound more times than you can count. Brother Wolf Animal Rescue in Asheville, NC hosted a Dog Movie Trivia adoption event for movie buffs and dog lovers alike. Tickets were $10 and all proceeds went back to Brother Wolf.
Do it yourself: Team up with a local bar that hosts trivia nights already or even host it at your shelter if you have a physical space!
A gala is a classic fundraising event—but there are different ways that you can put one on to raise money for your organization. Animal Haven in New York, NY is known for its star-studded annual gala (past attendees include Jon Stewart and social media celebrity Marnie the Dog), while AMA in Brooklyn, NY hosts themed galas like its Mad Hatter’s Ball.
Do it yourself: A gala doesn’t have to be anything overly fancy or costly—a theme party with plenty of snacks, drinks, and adoptable animals is pretty much a recipe for success.
6. Pet Photo Shoots
You probably know that getting that perfect, Instagram-worthy photo of your pet isn’t without some effort. Photo shoot fundraisers are a great way for participants to get a professional photo of their pet and also donate to a good cause. Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando has put on a series of sold-out pet photo shoots, where $50 of the $75 sitting fee goes to the shelter.
Do it yourself: If you don’t have access to a local pet photographer, you can always set up a photo booth at your shelter or favorite outdoor spot and share your own expert pet photography tips with eager pet parents!
7. Summer Pool Parties
Ever wish you could bring your dog to the community pool? Kansas Humane Society’s Dog Days of Summer event helps make that wish come true. The pool’s chemical levels are adjusted to accommodate the dogs’ comfort and safety, and there are different time slots for small and large dogs. The majority of the $10 suggested donation per dog goes straight to the Kansas Humane Society.
Do it yourself: Host a puppy pool party of your own with lots of kiddie pools for pups to romp around in (don’t forget the towels!). It’s a great way for dogs to keep cool and socialize!
8. Monthly Donation Plans
Muddy Paws Rescue recently started Most Valuable Pal (MVP), a giving program that allows donors to provide consistent support to the organization on a monthly basis. Since implementing the program, they’ve already seen a 200% increase in monthly donations!
Do it yourself: If you have an existing donor management system, you can set up your own monthly giving program in minutes! Be sure to brand and market it in a way that will help drum up interest. Give it a cute name and promote it through your newsletter and/or social channels!
Fundraising shouldn’t have to be a giant undertaking just to be successful. In addition to fundraising events, you can seamlessly raise funds for your organization with Shelterluv’s donation boost feature, which allows adopters to tack on a donation to their adoption or purchase during mobile checkout. With donation boost, we’ve been able to convert 30% of adopters into donors and raise over $600,000 for our customers!
Fundraise in seconds with Shelterluv. Try it for yourself—text “dog” or “cat” to 650-353-4048 for a demo of donation boost!
Update 9/4/2020: For socially distant fundraising ideas, check out some ideas here!