One of the constant challenges of working in animal welfare is fundraising. Making sure there’s enough money to keep doing your vital work can be difficult, especially when donors and grantmakers seem to be cutting back at present. Why not try getting some animals themselves involved in the fundraising? It can really help to motivate people and let them see directly where their money is going.
If you’re working at a shelter and are busy with day to day animal care and administration, or are an animal lover working long hours in a regular job, it can be hard to make time to think about fundraising ideas and consider all the things needed to make an event animal-friendly. Luckily, some of the best ideas are the simplest.
- Organize a sponsored walk – great for families with dogs – or other competitive activities for smaller animals, such as jumping or agility for rabbits and rodents.
- If your focus is on the treatment of overseas animals, invite respected speakers for an evening with a silent auction – or maybe organize a special trip to get people really connecting to your cause. This could be at a rescue center or zoo that you already work with who support and uphold your cause for animal welfare.
- Plan an open day at your shelter, and encourage people to bring their pets for fun, games, competitions, food, and shopping. Involve local pet-related businesses and get them to donate raffle prizes.
Have a look on social media and elsewhere on the Internet to see what other animal welfare organizations are up to, and how you could adapt these ideas for your purposes.
Things to remember
As the welfare of all animals is paramount, make sure that all the non-human guests at your event are well catered for. Arrange appropriate food, water, and litter facilities for all species attending, and be sure to organize shelter from the sun or rain if your event is outside. If food is available for human participants, make sure it’s pet friendly and won’t cause any serious problems if accidentally eaten. Everyone should be keeping an eye on their pets, but food will still get dropped on the floor, and it only takes the blink of an eye for a tasty treat to be gobbled up. Also consider offering a vegetarian or vegan menu, to demonstrate respect for the treatment of animals in the food industry, whatever your primary cause may be.
It’s also a good idea to set some ground rules about what people can and can’t do – particularly whether pets should be kept on a leash or not. Consider setting aside areas for quiet time and loose play, and having a ‘leash on policy’ everywhere else. Lots of new smells, noises and sights can be overwhelming for any animal, and you want them and their owners to feel safe and happy to make your event a success.
Giving people a good memory of your event, and a good impression of your cause, will ensure their further support and your continued success!
Featured image: dog walk fundraiser organized by the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Image credit Bob B. Brown, CC BY-ND 2.0