[GUEST POST] Dogs, cats, and other animals deserve to live without fear of cruelty, neglect, and other forms of mistreatment. We’ve all seen the images of sad companion animals that tug at our heartstrings. For many people, this emotional connection just leads to a quick donation or possibly adopting a homeless pet from a local shelter. However, many individuals and groups (like you) are doing much more.

As an animal advocate, shelter volunteer, or other animal welfare organizer, there’s room in your heart for every animal in need. Unfortunately, though, there may not be room in your facility or in your organization’s bank account to help all of the deserving animals out there.

To make a significant impact, you need ample access to resources. Organizing a fundraiser for your animal advocacy group can help you engage your community, spread awareness of your cause, and protect more pets. 

If you’re looking for unique fundraising ideas that will generate plenty of revenue for your shelter or rescue group, you’ve come to the right place. 

At Gingr, we provide pet businesses with the tech tools they need to streamline their operations and spend more time doing what they love. From being immersed in the pet space, we’ve seen how for-profit businesses and nonprofits alike can come together to promote animal welfare. To help you do the same, we compiled a list of some of the most effective fundraisers for animal advocacy:

  1. Host an online auction.
  2. Host a dog walk or run.
  3. Organize a shoe drive.
  4. Seek corporate sponsorships.

Whether you want to host a socially-distanced for a fully virtual fundraiser or still need to keep your efforts virtual, these ideas will help you reach your fundraising goals. Let’s dive in. 

1. Host an online auction.

At a charity auction, you bring supporters together for an energetic evening in which they can bid on a variety of in-demand items. Both live auction and silent auction formats have the same general premise:

  1. You collect donations from supporters and local businesses to auction off. Alternatively, you can purchase the items, but you’ll want to ensure you can resell them at a higher price.
  2. Auction attendees peruse the items (either viewing the items en masse or one by one as presented by a live auctioneer).
  3. Supporters outbid each other to try and take home their favorite items.
  4. The winning bidders “check out” and make a donation to your organization. 

You can still recreate this experience in an online format. This virtual fundraiser works well to help you and supporters stay safe in the era of social distancing, but it’s also a great option even after in-person activities can resume. An online event is less expensive to host and allows you to reach a wider audience of potential bidders—meaning more revenue for your cause.

Of course, the success of a silent auction is dependent on the goods, services, and experiences you’re trying to sell. Consider seeking sponsorship from a local dog kennel or other pet business for auction items that will be desirable to supporters yet also applicable to your cause. Through their dog daycare software, they may be able to donate package credits or a gift certificate to their facility without requiring any in-person interaction. 

2. Host a dog walk or run.

A 5k race or walk-a-thon is a great way to engage your community in some healthy competition while raising money for deserving animals. 

To raise the funds you need, you can either charge a registration fee, encourage your race participants to solicit pledge donations from family and friends, or use a combination of the two. These supporters may choose to support their loved one (and your organization) by pledging something like $10 for each mile walked. If your race is 5 miles, you’ll collect a $50 donation from that supporter. For a more in-depth guide to hosting a walk-a-thon fundraiser, check out this guide from 99Pledges.

A traditional walk-a-thon is already an exciting activity for all, but it gets even better when dogs are involved. Be sure to invite your participants to bring their furry friends along on event day for some great photo ops and an overall fun experience. You can even do this with a virtual walk-a-thon, where supporters will complete the distance on their own, then share their results and plenty of pictures.

3. Organize a shoe drive fundraiser.

A shoe drive fundraiser is a low-effort and simple fundraising idea. This option is an attractive choice for many smaller organizations because it requires no upfront cost from you and makes a relatively small ask from supporters.

Here’s how it works:

  1. You spread the word to supporters and community members that you’re collecting gently used shoes.
  2. You collect as many pairs of shoes as possible.
  3. You send the shoes to a company like Funds2Orgs
  4. The shoes are repurposed in an environmentally sustainable way, and your organization receives a check in exchange.

With this fundraiser, your supporters get the opportunity to clean out their closets for a good cause. Plus, it helps keep shoes out of landfills, so it’s a true win-win for everyone, including the planet.

4. Seek corporate sponsorships.

In recent years, more and more businesses have been giving back to their local communities. According to this guide to corporate philanthropy, these charitable efforts can include programs including:

  • Matching gifts. The sponsor may choose to match all eligible employee donations to nonprofits or commit to matching gifts made to your organization for a specific time period.
  • Monetary sponsorships. A local business may be willing to contribute funds to your cause. Be sure to acknowledge their generosity in your marketing materials or on your website!

  • In-kind donations. Businesses can also donate materials (like pet food) or their services. Like we discussed earlier, things like gift cards or dog boarding credits work perfectly as auction items or raffle prizes.

The sponsor may also be willing to help you host a fundraising event. For instance, ask a local dog grooming business if they’d be willing to donate time and materials for a “dog wash” event. This event is similar to a classic car wash, except volunteers would be giving baths to pets instead of vehicles.

Animal advocacy work is important, but protecting pets and finding them forever homes can require more resources than you have available. With these creative ideas, you’ll be able to host an animal advocacy fundraiser that achieves its goals and helps you make an impact. Good luck!


Author: Casey Dorman

Hi, I’m Casey! I’m the Sales Manager at Gingr software.  Originally from Indianapolis, I now live in Colorado with my wife and dog, Dexter.  Our hobbies include hiking, skiing, and visiting local breweries.


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