The Best Fundraising Ideas for Pets, Animals and Shelters

The Best Fundraising Ideas for Pets, Animals and Shelters

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For many organisations, asking for money is difficult but completely necessary if they want to survive. When it comes to animal shelters, there is a distinct need for regular public support to ensure the animals survive. 

As you can see from this study from YouGov, animal charities such as the RSPCA and WWF get a lot of support, but smaller charities that help animals are often overlooked. If you struggle with your fundraising efforts, read on because some unique solutions are sure to work. 

Why Fundraise? 

Every charity has specific goals to achieve. Whether it’s rehoming animals, providing low-income families with pet food or taking in unwanted pets, you have to fundraise to fulfil your ambitions. 

In its simplest form, fundraising is a campaign to raise money for a cause. It can take place in many forms, including over the telephone, a website, door to door drives for support and special events. 

Some organisations try to avoid fundraising because it can potentially be harassing people, but when it’s done right, you can reach people that genuinely care about your cause and want to help. 

Here are some fundamental reasons why fundraising is a necessity for animal shelters. 

Financial Support 

Unless you’re a multi-millionaire, you’ll need to rely on others to provide you with the financial support to keep your charity open. Unforeseen events, such as Covid can cause a significant financial impact, but a regular stream of financial support will help you overcome those times. 

Raising Awareness 

Fundraising isn’t all about improving your charities finances. It’s also useful to increase your visibility and explain what you do and why it’s crucial. For example, some people might not have enough money to donate, but they could offer to volunteer with your animals, which saves money on staffing. 

Growing Your Organisation 

When you think about the biggest charities in the world, it’s hard to believe that they started as a small not for profit organisation. But the WWF and Born Free are just two examples of how fundraising can raise awareness and help charities reach a global audience. 

It’s clear that without fundraising, a charity won’t be able to sustain itself. But the biggest issue for most small organisations is discovering successful ways to raise money – without draining their fundraising budget. 

Luckily, there are some fantastic fundraising techniques available, including traditional telephone and person to person interviews. There are also plenty of unique fundraising methods. Let’s look at them in more detail. 

Communication-Based Fundraising 

Communication-based fundraising is the most common way organisations source donations. 

Letter Writing 

Sometimes you don’t need to utilise fancy fundraising techniques, and it’s better to tell people what you do and why you do it. Every letter you write should be personalised and heartfelt to appeal to the recipient’s emotions. 

While some organisations send letters to their previous donors, others target a specific locality. In your letter you should include: 

  • Information about your charity. 
  • Why you need people to donate. 
  • How you accept donations. 
  • How your work benefits animals. 
  • Any success stories. 
  • Links to your website and QR code.

You should also make sure you include a self-addressed envelope with the letter. Many people might be willing to send a cheque but not want to go to the trouble of buying envelopes and stamps.


Nowadays, it’s rare to see someone without a smartphone. Pixels, iPhones and Samsungs are a central part of our lives and help us to remain in touch while always on the go. You can use people’s love of their phones to increase your donations. 

Text to give initiatives focus on providing convenience for potential donors, which means they can donate anywhere. You can advertise your text to give service on your website and at events. 

Use Social Media 

Social Media is a vital tool for charities; using it correctly can open up a world of opportunities. One of the best ways to generate more donations is by asking your followers to donate a certain amount of money on a specific day. 

For example, you could choose one Wednesday a month and advertise how much you need food, more land, etc. 

The Viral Effect

Going viral on social media should be every charity’s goal because it opens up a world of opportunities. Perhaps the best example of a viral campaign is the ice-bucket challenge from ALS. The campaign shows how successful fundraising can be, and according to The Guardian, it also funded innovative research to help find a cure for the condition. 

It’s not always possible to go viral, but you can reach more people by thinking of a unique angle for your fundraising campaign. 

Door to Door Fundraising 

Door to door fundraising is a hit and miss attempt at gathering donations. In general, most people don’t want to talk about your charity and will treat fundraisers like travelling salespeople. But in some cases, you can reach individuals that genuinely care about your efforts and might not have discovered your organisation. 

Telephone Calls 

A telephone call is one of the traditional fundraising methods, and it can yield surprising results. But it’s important to mention that the internet and smartphones mean people are less likely to engage over the telephone anymore. 

Phone calls are reserved for essential appointments, family issues and catching up with loved ones. Most smartphones also come with the ability to block phone numbers, so while telephone calls can be beneficial in some cases, it’s probably best to explore other communication avenues. 

Peer to Peer Fundraising 

Every organisation should aim to expand its donor base, but also show its appreciation for current donors. Monthly newsletters are an excellent way to tell your regular donors how their money is benefiting your cause. It’s also a great way to increase your peer to peer fundraising efforts. 

If you actively reach out to your loyal followers and ask them to spread the word about your organisation, most will. Each regular donor can have a dedicated fundraising page and reach out to family and friends asking for their support. 

Peer to peer fundraising can increase your exposure but also results in more donations. 

Event-Based Fundraising

If communication-based fundraising isn’t delivering the results you require, then it’s time to consider hosting events. Bringing people together can generate more donors and also help you to source some reliable volunteers. 

There are so many event ideas to choose from, so we’ve selected the ones we think will work for your animal shelter. 

The Dog Wash

A fundraising event that combines fun with a purpose is the dog wash. Similar to car washes, people can bring their dogs along and pay to have them cleaned and groomed. If you reach out to pet stores, they might donate washing equipment such as shampoo and conditioner. 

You can make it a more enjoyable event by providing seating, cakes and drinks for people at a small price. A charity dog wash is a perfect way to get support from your community, and it’s relatively inexpensive to set up. 

Ensure you reach out to local bakeries, coffee shops and pet stores to let them know what you’re doing. A lot of people will be generous and happy to donate essential equipment for your event. 

Pet Photo Shoot

You don’t need a professional photographer for a pet photoshoot, but if someone is willing to offer their time and expertise for free, we fully encourage you to take advantage! Pet photoshoots are about providing people with a fun-filled experience and something to take with them at the end of the day. 

You can use your shelter as a location or choose somewhere like a park and invite people to bring their pets for high-quality photographs. If you can’t find a professional photographer who’s willing to work for free, then ask your volunteers or staff members if they know anything about photography. 

Another good idea is to look at local colleges and universities. There are plenty of students that will be grateful for the work experience and the opportunity to showcase their skills. 

Pet Care Classes

Most pet owners have a lot to learn, and who better to learn it from than the experts? Pet care classes can be costly, and many people can’t afford them but will be happy to provide donations for knowledge. 

The classes can be about any topic you want, but think about where your expertise lie. For example, if you take in homeless cats, then a psychology class to help others understand what’s going on with their feline friends is a great idea. 

Anything from dog obedience training to learning how to walk a canine properly will attract people, and you can choose whether you set a fixed price or ask for donations. 

Cutest Pet Contest 

Like with their children, people always believe their pets are the cutest, so why not set up a pet pageant? This idea will probably work better with dogs, but it’s a great way to attract more donors and improve your social media profile. 

You can start by charging a small fee for people to enter photographs of their pets and pick 10 of the best photos. Then set up a pageant event where the ten dogs will compete in a variety of contests. 

For example, you could incorporate a dog tricks section, the talent showcase and a costume pageant. Charge for the event and make sure you advertise on social media and put fliers up in local shops and cafes. 

It would also be worth reaching out to larger pet stores to see if they’ll donate items for prizes. Most larger chains will be happy to offer items, especially if you explain how your organisation benefits animals. 

Throw a Bake n Bark Party

People love to spoil their pets, especially when it comes to dogs. There are so many cool treats around, but doggy cakes offer something extra special. If you want to attract more people to donate, then throw a bake and bark party. 

Get your staff and volunteers to bake treats for dogs, and advertise to the public too. People can bring their pets alone and buy treats. It’s also a good idea to include cakes for humans too. 

Other Ideas 

If throwing an event seems too challenging, then there are other ways to fundraise that are less stressful. Let’s take a look at them. 


If you’re not using crowdfunding platforms, you should be. It’s an excellent way to drum up support, and organisations around the world benefit from donations. You can create your own funding page and tell people about what your shelter does. 

Things you should include with your page are: 

  • Details of how much money it costs to look after each animal
  • Why you need donations 
  • Where the money goes 
  • Photos of your shelter and the animals
  • Details of success stories 

Appealing to people’s emotions will generate more donations, so don’t be afraid to wear your heart on your sleeve. 

If you’re new to crowdfunding, there’s an excellent beginner’s guide from Crowdfunder. You can access it here

Raffle Draw 

Raffles are an inexpensive way to increase your visibility without spending too much money. All you need to do is select a date for your raffle and get your volunteers to sell tickets to people. 

Make sure you target popular public areas to sell tickets, including parks, supermarkets, and use social media to reach a wider audience. As we mentioned previously, don’t be afraid to tell pet stores about your raffle, because they might be willing to donate prizes. 

Set Up Donation Stations 

Gathering donations can be difficult, especially if you’re a new or small organisation that doesn’t have many volunteers. One solution to this problem is setting up donation stations so the public can give money to your cause. 

Ask vet surgeries in your area if they’ll allow you to set up stations. You could also ask local businesses for support, including cafes, hairdressers and even clothes shops. Remember to include photographs of your animals and some information about what you do. 

Hold an Online Auction 

Charity auctions are always a popular event, but they require a lot of planning and the use of a location for your attendees. But it might be a better idea to hold an online auction. Platforms such as Zoom make it possible to have large video conferences, which is perfect for an online auction. 

Set the time for your event and advertise it on social media. When the auction begins, people can join through Zoom, and you can showcase the items on offer. Take bids from people and try to make it entertaining by including animals from your shelter.

It would be best if you also wrote down which items have been sold and the people they’re going to. PayPal is a great way to take payments, or you can use the organisation bank account. Reach out to local business owners and ask them to donate items for the auction. 

Another good idea is to advertise on social media, asking people to donate unwanted items for your auction. Ideally, you don’t want to spend money on the auction, so make an effort to source second-hand items or gifts from local businesses. 

Reach Out to Restaurants 

Reaching out to restaurants is a bit hit and miss, but it’s worth a try. Some establishments might agree to a fundraising night where they’ll give your organisation a percentage of their takings for the night. 

The idea is that restaurants advertise your charity and tell their customers that they’re going to support your fundraising efforts on a specific evening. Doing this might help them get more customers, which means all parties make a profit. 

Ask restaurants for support and try to target local eateries. National chains might have specific rules about which charities they support, whereas local businesses will probably welcome support. 

Create a Calendar 

The movie Calendar Girls is the perfect example of how to put the fun into fundraising. Based on a true story, the ladies managed to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds for a local hospital. 

While you might not reach these numbers, you can still make a lot of money for your shelter. Ask local printers to help you, or at the very least give you a discount. Printing calendars can be expensive, but getting people to order in advance means you can save money. 

A calendar is a fantastic way to get the animals in your shelter involved in your fundraising efforts, and people will appreciate seeing how well cared for they are. 

Fundraise With 

As a nation of animal lovers, unwanted or abused pets will always hold a place in our hearts. Shelters can raise money by appealing to others’ emotions, but it’s still beneficial to provide convenience for your donors. 

Signing up to can save you a lot of time and headaches. As the world’s first QR code for cashless payments, we offer a stress-free way to grow your organisation.

With fees of 75% less than other payment systems, is paving the way for charities and donors to work together, without working too hard. 

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