5 Easy Ways to Raise Funds For An Animal Shelter
Unless you are the SPCA or some other nationally-owned organization, the fact is that animal shelters are often staffed by only a few people who are mostly volunteers. So choosing a fundraiser that will help the organization without burdening the already hard-working volunteers is key. After all, you don’t want to take your focus off the shelter to shift from saving animals to making money, right?
Postcards and calendars
An animal shelter has a wonderful resource to draw on when it comes to raising funds: the many beautiful animals it has rescued from terrible fates. You can use their pictures on post cards or calendars, which can be sold to help raise money for the shelter. You can use these products as year round fundraisers to sell at the shelter, or through your website or large retailers like eBay.com
One of the simplest ways to raise money might be to send out an appeal letter, one with pictures of cats, dogs, and other animals you have rescued. If you don’t have addresses of individuals in the community, you can start with contacting local businesses. If you don’t have a mailing list, or an email list, start one now! Actually, start two: one for businesses and one for individuals.
You could have a “Pet Wash Day” at the shelter, or outside if the weather is nice. Charge a small fee (more for larger animals) and offer to wash people’s pets. If you are holding this event at the shelter, you shouldn’t even have to prepare much, as most of what you need is already there: pet washing tub and water supply, pet soap, etc.
The key to success is lots of publicity, both before and during the event. If you can make up a few large signs and stick them in your own windows and place a few around town in stores or coffee shops for example (more about marketing your fundraiser) a few weeks before the event, it will help your cause tremendously.
As a way to maximize profits on the day, you can also have one or two volunteers sell baked goods or animal-themed crafts at the same time. People will be waiting for their pet to get his bath, chat with other pet owners and have a chance to browse through the crafts and other items for sale to pass the time.
Another easy way to raise some funds is to have a “Pet Picture Day,” in which people bring in their pets for a professional-type photo session. If you can recruit a professional photographer to donate their time for this event, wonderful, but if not just make sure to set up a clean background, or a picturesque spot outside if weather permits, and use a good camera and printer to print out the pictures. Make sure you practice and test your setup beforehand to make sure the pictures come out great and all the equipment works well. Charge a small fee per picture, and you’ve got a fun fundraiser! (More about pet portraits and other fundraisers.)
Sell paw prints
A great visual fundraiser for an animal shelter is selling cut out paw prints that you add the donors name to and hang up on a designated wall. Simply create an image of a paw print, copy it and cut it out. You could hold a coloring contest for the most creative one. This fundraiser may be even more effective if you partnered with another charitable group so you can hang your paw prints in more places than one. (More about fundraising partnerships.)
The trick is finding out what skills and resources your members have that you can draw on to help raise funds for the shelter. Use what you have, do what you know, and you’ll be able to pull off a successful fundraiser on a low budget.