Guest Post

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

Fundraising letter

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.

Pet wash

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.

Pet portraits

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.

(Image: iStockPhoto)


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  1. December 19, 2011 at 2:48 am — Reply

    […] 5 Easy Ways To Raise Funds For An Animal Shelter – If you volunteer at an animal shelter/rescue then check out this list.  In fact if you volunteer for any non-profit organization (we volunteer as puppy raisers for Guide Dogs of America) you might find some helpful hints on how to raise funds for your favorite charity organization.  If you’ve been following our blog for a while then you know we raised money for Guide Dogs of America through Dublin’s Puppy In Training TV video series (let us know if you want to sponsor an episode). […]

  2. December 15, 2011 at 10:45 pm — Reply

    Great idea to ask donors to sponsor your videos! If you like, send us a link to your sponsored videos and we’ll pass it on to our readers. For another fun fundraising idea, read about raising funds with dog houses and doggie bowls:

    • December 19, 2011 at 2:57 am — Reply

      Our guide dog puppy sponsorship page is here: We’re hoping to post at least one more video when our guide dog puppy, Dublin graduates. After that we plan on starting another series with a new puppy and hope to get some sponsors for the new series of videos. Thanks for your support!

  3. December 14, 2011 at 7:29 pm — Reply

    Thanks for the great list! We can use some of these ideas (and already do) when trying to raise money for our guide dog program as well. It’s always a challenge to try and collect donations for your favorite charity. We recently tried to put a video series together and asked friends, families, and businesses to sponsor episodes with small donations. We were able to raise $1,150.00 during our video series. Hopefully next time around we can do a little better. Thanks again!

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