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.
Looking to start fundraising for an animal shelter or humane society? Have a look at our favorite animal shelter fundraising ideas we’ve put together to use in your next campaign. With these mission-driven ideas for animal shelters and service animal training organizations, you can help out the animals and the people who work tirelessly to keep them safe.
What We’ll Cover
- Our Top Animal Shelter Fundraising Idea: Host a Dog Walk and Costume Contest
- More Shelter and Humane Society Fundraisers
- Wash-a-Pup Day
- Create and Sell Paw Print Merchandise
- Make Pet Calendars
- Host a Pop Up Cat Cafe
- Offer Pet Sitting Services
- Host a Pet Raffle
- Sponsor a Pet on a Crowdfunding Website
- Sell Dog Treats or Host a Doggie Bake Sale
- Host a Pet Photo Shoot
Our Top Animal Shelter Fundraising Idea: Host a Dog Walk and Costume Contest
Dog walks and fun runs are a classic way to raise funds for animal shelters and rescues. Dog Walks are fun peer-to-peer crowdfunding events for charity and are usually 5K or less in length. They are organized in a similar fashion to regular walkathons, though there are some extra considerations as well as fundraising opportunities that come into play.
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!
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.
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 get ready for a fun day raising funds. 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
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
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 going to 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 calendars or custom pet merchandise for animal shelters with an eCommerce store
Host a Pop Up Cat Cafe
Get in touch with 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 charity event sponsor.
Offer Pet Sitting Services
Taking care of pets can be difficult for people who are already juggling so much in their day-to-day 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 make a donation for the services. It can free up time for dog owners while pets get a chance to make new friends. Send all profits to the shelter, which will be a great way to raise funds.
Host a 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 gives supporters the ability 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.
Sell Dog Treats or Host a Doggie Bake Sale
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 idea around the holidays, 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
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 who can manage all of the details. Be sure to have additional items for sale while people are waiting 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 during COVID. 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. Keep in mind 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 so much better for it, and the shelter will have the means to keep doing its good work.