No matter how much love you have for animals, as an animal welfare organization you still need donations to fund basic necessities. Food, bedding, and medicine all come with a price and raising the funds to cover them is one of your biggest goals. Depending on your support system, partnerships, and the number of animals you provide care for, finding donors is sometimes challenging for animal shelters.

We’ve put together a list with five of our favorite fundraising ideas to increase donations to your animal shelter.


  • Professional Pet Photos

People treat their pets like family and giving them a chance to have professional photos taken is a great opportunity to raise money for your animal shelter. Partner with a local professional photographer to set up a photo opportunity at your location. Invite local community members to bring their pets for a photo session. You can charge a flat fee or accept donations depending on the photographers pricing. In addition to money raised by pictures, visitors may find a new beloved family member they’d like to adopt.


  • Pet Costume Contest

A pet costume contest is another fun way to raise money. Look for local community events like builder shows or street fairs that offer vendor spaces to organizations. Once you have an event scheduled, invite the community to submit pictures of the pets in costumes for a friendly competition. At the event, display the photos and let visitors vote for their favorite one with monetary contributions. When the contest is over, award the top three with a pet store gift card or baskets filled with pet supplies.


  • Hold a Pet Wash

Hosting a pet wash is a fun twist on the traditional car wash approach. Find a public spot that will let you set up that gets a good amount of foot traffic and is easy for patrons to stop in. Offer to give their pets a bath in exchange for a donation to your animal shelter.


  • Sell Animal Calendars

Calendars filled with animal pictures are a huge hit! You can either take pictures of animals available for adoption or ask adopting families to submit pictures of their furry family members. Connect with a local printing company to create and finalize the calendars and then sell them starting in November at events you attend, on social media, or on your website.


  • Add Penny-Wars to your Vendor Table

Many animal shelters set up at vendor events throughout the year. Having a game or some engaging activity at your table is a great way to attract traffic and start conversations. A Penny War allows attendees to vote for either a favorite animal or breed by dropping their change into the appropriate bucket.

Many organizations, such as animal welfare organizations, choose to host fundraisers as ways to raise money, as well as as awareness for a cause. None of this is possible however unless you can attract people to your event and bring them through the doors. One of the most essential parts of any successful fundraisers is promotion- this can be done in many ways. Strategic marketing well before the date of the event is the best way to increase attendance and awareness of your fundraiser and ensure success for the event overall.

5 Steps to Attract People to Your Fundraiser and Increase Attendance Rates:

  1. Utilize Social Media- Social media is a fantastic way to promote your event long before the day of the fundraiser. By creating unique hashtags you can get prospective audience members excited about the event and more likely to share the details of the fundraiser with their friends.
  2. Include Speakers That Attract Local and Non-Local Audiences- Fill your speaker roster with local and non-local speakers who are passionate about the cause and who are likely to bring in a crowd. Try to sign up reliable speakers who have a track record of showing up and speaking well in front of large crowds.
  3. Have a Theme- Most events that have themes, such as costume events, masquerade balls, etc. tend to attract higher numbers of people than events that lack any theme at all. Try to link your theme to your cause in some way and keep it fun. This will attract those passionate about what you are doing, but will also likely lead attendees to bring friends who otherwise might not come.
  4. Have Fun- Don’t just line your roster with speaker after speaker talking about why the cause is important. Even those passionate are prone to fall asleep or leave midway during this type of event. Include raffles, music, giveaways and more. Remember to keep the event fun and lively so that people are prone to stay the whole time.
  5. Utilize the Radio, TV, and Internet for Interviews Before the Event- Try to schedule as many interviews as possible before the event- especially the week or two right before the fundraiser is scheduled to occur. This is the best time to market your event via press releases, interviews, news articles and more. If anyone has any questions about the event, always be ready and willing to answer them.

Many organizations choose to have adoption events at community events or at stores such as Petco and PetSmart. These events are very important to bringing exposure to your organization and finding homes for the dogs and cats that are under your care. If your organization holds off-site adoptions, reducing the chance of injuries to the public should be one of your utmost concerns.

Injuries that could have been easily prevented can be a drain on your financial resources and raise your insurance premiums. In some cases, a history of liability claims may result in cancellation of your insurance coverage.

  • You can prevent injuries by enforcing the following policies:
  • Make sure that you have enough staff on hand to supervise the pets and the people who stop by to visit your area
  • Trim the nails of the pets for adoption before the event, if possible
  • Do not allow people to pick up or handle the animals without assistance from your staff
  • Setup your area so that all pet cages are in view in order to make sure the animals are not unduly disturbed
  • Keep small children away from the pet areas because they may be prone to placing their faces or fingers too close to the animals or teasing them If possible, have all animals up-to-date on vital vaccinations such as their rabies shot
  • Provide disinfection stations for people to clean their hands before and after visiting with the pets

By following these policies, you can prevent insurance claims from injuries received at off-site adoptions. This will help keep your insurance premiums in check and maintain a good reputation for your organization.

Planning for that special occasion can be fun and exciting but it also needs organization to be a success. It is important to make the right planning decisions and to have a grasp of what your audience may expect from the special event. Below are some simple tips:

One, identify the sort of event you want and the audience expected to attend the event. For example if you’re planning a cocktail party you might consider providing alcohol, appetizers, some music, perhaps a live band. With music you’ll need to consider the age group attending the party.

Two, decide on the budget and stick to it. Remember when compiling a budget to take into account rental, location of the venue, food and drink, seating, music or live entertainment, decorations, audio equipment, electrical supply and invitations stationary.

Three, choose your vendors which might be: caters, entertainment and florist. When choosing a caterer remember who your audience is, age, meat eaters or vegetarians or those who might need special diets.

Four, send invitations in good time but not too early. You don’t want people to forget and make other arrangements, but at the same time you’ll want to give them good warning to prepare for the special event. The right timing to send invitations is important. You’ll also need to know by return of the invitations slip who is expected to attend.

Five, Pick a theme and buy decorations to suit. Also will you need eating utensils, table cloths, napkins, cups and plates etc?

Six, appoint someone to be overall responsible for the event. Keep contact numbers and addresses and have a plan ‘b’ should something go wrong or someone important to the event doesn’t show up.

Lastly, be sure you have all the necessary insurances. You can buy special event insurance, but look carefully at the terms you may need additional insurances for liability or loss or damage to hired equipment.

If you plan carefully you special event will be a success and enjoyed by all who attend. The perfect special event has been well planned throughout from the moment of inception.


Prior to an event, all potential emergencies should be considered and an action plan should be formed for all. An Emergency Response Team (ERT) and crisis management plans should be created. There should be a director of the ERT and all other associates need to know who this is in the occurrence of an emergency because that individual makes the knowledgeable choice concerning how to act.  A petite event will merely require two individuals who are first aid and CPR certified, but a bigger and elevated risk event will need more experienced medical workers. All staff and volunteers must know how to get in touch with the ERT in case of emergency. If there is a cooking location, a first aid kit, fire extinguisher, and flashlight must be accessible close by. If there is a great crowd, a prior to the event call to a fire department may be a wise decision in case of a fire.