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Our Favorite Animal Shelter and Rescue Fundraising Ideas

Our Favorite Animal Shelter and Rescue Fundraising Ideas

Pets serve as loyal companions and give animal lovers so much joy and laughter. Sadly, many wonderful animals are stuck in shelters and looking for their forever homes. While living in a humane society or shelter provides solace to these animals awaiting pet adoption, keeping such places open and caring for everyone takes a lot of money. That’s why animal shelter fundraising ideas are essential for many animal rescue groups, shelters, and animal welfare organizations.

Animal shelter kitty

Looking to start fundraising for an animal shelter or humane society? Have a look at our favorite animal shelter and rescue fundraising ideas we’ve put together to use in your next campaign. With these mission-driven ideas for shelters and service animal training organizations, you can help the animals and those who work tirelessly to keep them safe.

Our Top Animal Shelter Fundraising Idea: Host a Dog Walk and Costume Contest 

Dog walks and fun runs are classic ways to raise funds for animal shelters and rescues. Dog Walks are fun peer-to-peer fundraising events for charity, usually 5K or less in length. They are organized in a similar fashion to regular walkathons, though there are some extra considerations and fundraising opportunities that come into play by including the dogs. 

Imagine the fun you can have by combining a dog-friendly run or walk with a costume contest! This is best done on a cool day so no one overheats. Be sure to award prizes for the best, cutest, friendliest, or most unique. Have pet owners line up or parade their dogs in costume. Everyone gets a good laugh with the overloaded cuteness of the pup parade, and the shelter gets more funding for it. 

Learn how to organize a walk-a-thon and read our great dog walk fundraising ideas. The more fun, the better! 

Fundraising for Animal Shelters via Dog Walks

More Shelter and Humane Society Fundraisers

Dog walks are not the only fundraisers that work for animal welfare groups. Here are 10+ more great options for your next animal charity event.

Wash-a-Pup Day

Animal Shelter Fundraising Ideas

Spending a warm summer day splashing around with dogs and getting them clean is an awesome way to have fun and raise money for your local shelter. Some animal groups even host combined dog and car washes. Have pet owners pay an entrance fee to wash their dogs and some of the friendly dogs from the local shelter. Charge extra for fancy shampoo and dog treats, and prepare for a fun day of fundraising. Towel the dogs off, leave them feeling good and fresh, and rest easy knowing that you did a great thing for the benefit of your local shelter. Note – don’t even think of trying this one with the cats!

Create and Sell Paw Print Merchandise 

Animal Art can be sold

Selling dog and cat-made merchandise is a great animal shelter fundraiser. One awesome idea would be to get a bunch of blank paper or canvas and non-toxic paint. Get volunteers interested in your event and charge them to come in and paint with their dogs or ask them to volunteer with the shelter dogs and cats. Rub the paint onto the dogs’ paws and have pets make art with their paws. Stamp their paws onto the paper for an adorable paw print effect. Use the original artwork to create custom-printed merchandise to sell. These original art pieces can even be auctioned off to the highest bidder.

Make Pet Calendars 

Animal Shelter Fundraising Merchandize

Get a photographer and graphic artist together and create a furry friend pet calendar. All the cats and dogs at the shelter can be featured on a calendar month. You can either do group photos with lots of pets on a page or have pages with one pet in costume. You may even be able to print several editions of the calendar so everyone gets their shining moment. You can sell the calendars after they’ve finished production with the funds raised for the shelter. This is also a great way to get the pets featured so they can be adopted more easily. Make sure the calendars are ready to sell by December as a holiday fundraiser for the shelter. 

Sell custom pet merchandise for animal shelters with a free eCommerce store

Online stores for animal rescue fundraising groups

Host a Pop Up Cat Cafe 

Host a Pop Up Cat Cafe

Contact a local cafe to see if they’d like to host a cat cafe. Set up the cafe with a nice space for the shelter’s adoptable animals. An entrance fee or suggested donation is paid by everyone who would like to attend, and this comes with a free drink and two hours in the pop-up cafe. Supporters can invite friends, and time can be spent playing with the cats or pets and getting to know them. Those who are fond of a pet can put in adoption papers immediately. All proceeds from ticket sales go to the shelter, and the cafe wins as the recognized event sponsor.

Offer Pet Sitting Services 

Dog sitting for humane societies

Taking care of pets can be difficult for people already juggling so much in their daily lives. This is a great opportunity to set up pet-sitting days where volunteers take care of pets, and their owners pay a fee or donate for the services. It can free up time for dog owners while pets can make new friends. Sending all profits to the shelter will be a great way to raise funds.

Host a Pet Raffle

Animal Shelter Fundraising Ideas: Pet Raffle

Everyone loves charity raffles, which are so easy with our raffle websites. To start, you just need to secure pet-friendly prizes from local sponsors. These can range from creative pet-specific gift baskets (think Cranky Cat baskets or Pampered Pooch baskets) to cat trees and dog beds to an annual supply of pet food, vet services, or pet grooming and boarding passes. Even if you don’t have the time to secure in-kind donations for a pet raffle, online 50/50 raffles work great for animal shelters.

Sponsor a Pet on a Crowdfunding Website 

Animal shelters and humane societies can easily create a crowdfunding website highlighting some of their adorable animals. Create a page for each dog or cat awaiting adoption, and people can donate to your organization on behalf of one of the animals. This platform allows supporters to share fundraising pages on social media for more exposure and easy mobile giving. Everyone loves to share pictures of cuddly animals! Crowdfunding campaigns are a tried and tested means of getting emergency funds for veterinary care and urgent animal shelter campaigns.

Animal Shelter Fundraising Ideas: Sponsor a Pet

Sell Dog Treats or Host a Doggie Bake Sale

Pet treats for Humane Society fundraising

That’s right, get your cook on for the pets! There are many successful pet bakeries, as people love buying healthy, homemade treats for their dogs and cats. Your organization can create doggie cookies and treats and sell them via an online store and at a local pet store. Take a look at these 25 simple dog treat recipes to start.

This is another great holiday fundraiser, as people like to buy stocking stuffers for their pets. Package the cookies to look great for whatever holiday is coming up. Getting repeat customers is key here – so get feedback from pet owners and make your pet recipes shine.

Host a Pet Photo Shoot

Pet Photo Shoot

Let’s face it: everyone thinks their pet is the cutest. Many pet owners will pay to have a professional portrait taken with their pet or of their pet solo. To organize this fundraiser, recruit a professional photographer to manage all the details. Be sure to have additional items for sale while people wait around, like your pet calendars and dog treats.

Virtual Fundraising Ideas for Animal Shelters and Humane Societies

Many of these animal rescue fundraisers can be run as virtual or hybrid events. Our online and virtual fundraising platform makes it easy with powerful tools like:

  • a live stream studio
  • text to donate and support for e-wallets like Google Pay and Apple Pay
  • gamification tools to boost online engagement
  • easy Social media shares

We Offer Donor-Friendly Websites for Animal Shelter Fundraising

Conclusions on Fundraising for Animal Shelters and Rescue Groups

We hope that you’ve found our animal shelter fundraising ideas useful. These are our top ideas that include dogs and cats – but many animal rescue groups host bowl-a-thons, charity poker tournaments, and virtually all kinds of fundraising events for the animals. Fundraising for animal shelters can be fun and satisfying if you can get organized for the sake of all the lovely pets looking for their forever homes. Your local community will be much better for it, and the shelter will have the means to keep doing good work.

Still Looking for Animal Shelter Fundraising Ideas?

See Our 100+ Unique Fundraising Ideas

Lisa Bennett

About Lisa Bennett

Lisa is the Sales Director at DoJiggy. She joined DoJiggy in 2006 and loves her job. Prior to working with DoJiggy, she worked at several non-profits and managed special event fundraising.

See other posts from Lisa Bennett

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