Halloween is the second largest consumer holiday in the United States. Even though many nonprofit animal welfare organizations consider Christmas to be the best time to launch fundraising campaigns, Halloween is actually better. 30% more consumers entered promotion campaigns at Halloween than at during the Christmas season. Why? Your supporters aren’t feeling the financial stress of the expensive holiday season – yet.

Consider these four advantages before skipping Halloween this year.

  1. Increased donations.
    Launching your fundraising campaign months before the holiday craziness boosts your overall donations. Your animal welfare organization supporters haven’t maxed out their budget buying gifts and are more willing to donate.
  2. Less competition.
    Shhh! Halloween fundraising success is still relatively new and many nonprofit animal shelters and rescues still overlook it as a prime fundraising time. Less competition means your campaign or fundraisers are more likely to capture supporters’ attention. Often times, supporters become overwhelmed and inundated with donation requests in November and December, they ignore or politely decline all requests.
  3. More volunteer involvement.
    Volunteers keep you up and running every day. Without their commitment and time, many animal shelters and rescues are forced to close their doors. Many volunteers have out of control schedules with extra family events and holiday preparation in December. Launching a big fundraising campaign at Halloween increases their ability to help.
  4. Innovative ideas.
    Chances are your past major fundraising drives revolved around the spirit of giving in December. You probably copied the same fundraiser from year to year. Focusing on Halloween this year gives you a NEW list of fundraising ideas. Your long-term supporters will be happy for the change.

Fundraising ideas
Do you avoid Halloween fundraising because you don’t want to reinvent the wheel or start from scratch? Schedule a meeting with your fundraising committee to review these # ideas and pick one to start with.

  • Partner with a local pumpkin patch or fall fest. Contact local organizations and see if they are willing to host fundraising days for your animal welfare organization. Request a portion of the ticket sales be donated to you. In addition, set up a table the day of to collect donations and hand out information.
  • It’s all about the treats. Invite supporters to your location encouraging them to bring “treats” (food, toys, blankets, bowls, etc.) for your animals.
  • Sponsor a costume ball. Invite your community to a costume party. Sell tickets in advance and then offer dinner, raffles, and costume prizes the night of the event.
  • Launch a social media contest. Encourage your online followers to participate in a Halloween-themed contest. Invite participants to submit pictures of their Halloween decorations, carved pumpkins or pets in costume. Publish them online and request donations. Every five dollars = one vote. Award your winners with online recognition and prize.
  • Trick or treat for adopters. Promote adoptions in the month of October by offering a special gift to adopting families. They can pick either a ‘trick’ (training DVD or CD) or a ‘treat’ to take home with their new loved one.
  • “Mommy and me” costume contest. Host a costume contest for pets and their parents! Encourage participants to dress as famous duos or family members.

There is success in Halloween fundraising drives and events. Don’t less this time of year pass your animal welfare organization by. Brainstorm innovative fundraising ideas or use one of these to increase your donations this fall.

1. ID your Pets! On the off chance that you lose your pet during the festivities, having your pet properly identified with an ID-tag, collar, and/or Micro-chip will make it much easier to reunite you and your furry friend.
2. Keep Pets Indoors. Loud noises and strange visitors can be very stressful for pets. Keep your pet in a quiet room away from noisy trick-or-treaters.
3. Candy is not for Pets! Chocolate and the artificial sweetener Xylitol can cause serious health problems for your pets. Keep candy away from cats and dogs.
4. Raisins are risky, too! Raisins and grapes can lead to kidney failure in dogs, and potentially other pets as well. Keep raisin packs away from your pets.
5. Guard your Gourds! Jack-o-lanterns are a tempting fire hazard for curious cats. Keep lit pumpkins out of reach of pets.
6. Hide Cords and Wires. Many Halloween decorations use extension cords and wires. Keep these cords out of pets reach to reduce fire hazard risk.
7. Glow Sticks are not Chew toys! Although they are non-toxic, the liquid inside of a glow stick can cause excessive salivation and discomfort for your pet. Make sure to properly dispose of glow sticks.
8. Candy Wrappers are not just a Nuisance. Watch out for discarded candy wrappers when taking your dog out for a walk in the days following Halloween. When swallowed, cellophane, foil, and plastic wrappers can cause bowel blockage.
9. Don’t Over Do the Disguise. Many pet owners like to dress-up their dog and/or cat in a cute pet costume for Halloween. Make sure that the outfit does not cause your pet to overheat, or present your pet with choking hazards from accessories.
10. Monitor your Pet’s Stress Level. If you have chosen to include your furry friend in the festivities, make sure to watch for signs of irritation or over-stimulation. If your dog or cat is showing signs of stress, get them to a safe, quiet location where they can relax.