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The Best Dog Walk Fundraising Ideas

The Best Dog Walk Fundraising Ideas

Rain or shine, dogs are always enthused about going for a walk. Why not please your dogs with a fundraising dog walk or run, get some exercise, and give back to your community? Dog Walks are fun peer-to-peer events for charity and are usually 5K or less in length.

Dog walkathons are on the rise, as all types of nonprofit organizations can hold Dog Walks. They are not relegated to animal shelters and services that love and support animals, yet such organizations are a clear fit for dog walk fundraising.

Let’s look at the steps to organize a successful dog walk-a-thon, along with the best dog walk fundraising ideas.

Logistics for Planning a Dog Walk

Logistics for Planning a Dog Walk

Planning a dog walk follows many of the same steps of charity walk-a-thon planning.  However, specific needs exist to accommodate your human and canine friends.

Logistics are a large part of the planning for any walk-a-thon; throwing animals in the mix only adds to this responsibility. One of the first and most essential steps in planning a dog walk-a-thon is to learn what permit or licensing needs exist from your local government. 

Selecting the Location

Next, choose a location that includes ample space for lots of dogs.  Dogs are pack animals and generally get along.  However, a location that offers options for separating dogs is essential if an animal shows aggression.  If managing a large event, consider organizing your participants in flights.  Keeping the number of dogs in one area at a manageable level reduces the chances that the environment will become overwhelming for the animals, owners, and volunteers. Flights may be organized by animal size or breed or by allowing the participants to choose a time that works for them.  

Take time to consider the features of the course you select.  It is best to keep the course relatively short.  Typical distances range from 2 to 2 ½ miles.  With this distance, the course can easily be designed as a loop with the same start and finish line or as a linear course with different start and endpoints and parking along a midpoint.   

Dog Walk Safety Considerations

Dog Walk Safety Considerations

First Aid and emergency resources are essential for ensuring your two- and four-legged walkers’ health and safety.  In addition to traditional first aid items, ensure your group supplies emergency items for pets.  You may want to consult a local veterinarian for suggestions.  In addition, bring a small supply of extra collars and leashes, and make sure that food and water are accessible in a pinch.

Pet-Centered Prizes and Swag

Everyone loves walkathon prizes and free swag! Be strategic in the items that you provide in your goody bags. Include things your participants will enjoy and use and items that will help facilitate a great event.  Include one item that can be recreated annually as a collectible.  Often, with dog walk-a-thons, organizers select a bandana or custom-engraved dog tag with the organization logo.  Consider putting items your participants will use while walking in the bag, such as sunscreen and pooper-scooper type supplies.  

Pet-Centered Prizes and Swag

Check out these great pet product ideas that can be customized with your organization’s logo.

Create contests and awards that participants can win.  Lots of potential for awards exist.  For example, awards may be given for:

  • Best course completion time
  • Good citizenship or sportsmanship 
  • Best dog costume
  • Best groomed dog 

Create a Walk-a-thon Website

Utilize Walk-a-thon Software

Peer-to-peer Crowdfunding software is a must for Dog Walks. Our P2P crowdfunding platform is designed for walk-a-thons, School Fun Runs, Dog Walks, and any other type of event where individual and team participants solicit and track donations and pledges. Each event participant creates and manages a personal fundraising page and invites friends and family to support your organization through secure online donations. Our platform for dog walks:

  • Provide walkers with fundraising pages to customize and promote your fundraiser. People love adding pictures of their dogs!
  • Gamification tools such as fundraising thermometers and Leaderboards display top team and individual fundraisers and promote competition so you raise more.
  • Embedded Social Media Share links encourage walkers to share the event with friends and family.
  • Free text to donate and more mobile giving functions like digital wallet support (Apple Pay and Google Pay).
  • Easily enter checks and offline donations at no cost.

Try Our
Free Peer-to-Peer
Fundraising Websites

Celebrate Together

A post-party or social hour following your event is a wonderful way to extend your walk and allow for community engagement and networking.  Select a location that can easily support a BBQ or ice cream social following your walk.  Not only does this build a connection among your supporters, but it also offers a nice and memorable way to end the day.  Awards can also be presented at this time.

Be sure to recognize your fundraisers. This can be done on your walkathon website, in your organization’s newsletter, and at the celebration event. You want them to know that they are appreciated and that you would love to see them again for next year’s event.

More Dog Fundraising Ideas

Dog Walks can be exciting and fun events with costume contests, photo booths, food, and before and after parties. Here are more ideas to add fun and excitement to your dog walks.

Plan a Dog and Car Wash

Dog Car Wash Fundraiser

Why not host a unique fundraising event that allows people to get their car and dog cleaned at the same time? With a car wash and pet groomers on hand, it’s a double win. Ask a groomer to set up an area adjacent to the car wash and see if they’ll offer their services for free or at a discount to support your doggy walk. Ask your volunteers to help with the cleaning and raise money to support your dog walk in a fun fashion.

Set Up a Photo Booth

A photo booth at a dog walk is bound to be entertaining. Aside from your guests having a great time, the benefits are easy promotion for your next dog walk. Nothing shares the energy of a charity fundraising event more than great photos. Pictures of dogs and their owners having fun will attract new donors and participants for next year.

Host a Doggie Happy Hour

Crowdfunding teams meeting for drinks or a wine tasting event for extra fundraising has a few benefits. Everyone loves happy hour, and bars are a great place to recruit participants for a dog walk. Bring your dog-loving friends together and meet new friends who may wish to become participants in your doggy walk. Friendships and passion for the event are deepened among the dog walk participants who have already signed on.

Include a Dog Costume Contest

Dog Fundraising Costume Contest

A dog walk is a perfect opportunity to hold a dog costume contest. Sell tickets to enter the contest and advertise prizes on your walkathon website. People will get excited and can purchase costumes online or create unique dog outfits from scratch. This is a popular Halloween event but can be done any time of the year.

Sell Walk-a-thon Vendor Booths

Sell vendor booths during the post-party and along the walkathon route. Ask each vendor to promote the dog walk on their social media platforms to help spread the word. These vendors can assist with in-kind donations for the costume contest prizes or dog paraphernalia raffle items.

Recruit Dog Walk Sponsors

Recruit Dog Walk Sponsors

Pet-centered events make natural inroads with pet-centered companies for sponsorship. Consider partnering with local veterinarians, doggie daycare centers, pet supply stores, or other retailers for goody bag items or expo booths. Sell Poodle Sponsor Packages (or Border Collie or any dog breed package) and include a company logo on all marketing materials for the event. Companies who purchase this sponsor package will receive a booth and promotion on the doggy walk crowdfunding website. Offer each company promotion via social media platforms and complimentary dog walk-a-thon entries.

Find a Dog-Friendly Cafe

Cafés with outdoor seating often allow dogs and even provide dishes of water for them. Perhaps a pet fashion show at a local café would be the perfect start to a beautiful partnership and your Dog Walk kick-off. Sell tickets to supplement your dog walk revenues. Offer the café a vendor booth at the walkathon to further your relationship and provide great coffee for the walkathon participants.

Sell Dog or Animal-Themed Art

Sell Dog-Themed Art

Sponsor an art sale with an animal theme. See if a local art gallery in your community will donate space for the event. Ask students and community artists to enter paintings and art objects to sell at the event. Invite the artists involved in your dog walk and ask if they would sell their work and donate the money to your cause. This is an idea for a silent auction or an art contest as well to supplement a dog walk.

Host Pet Parties

Gather your crowdfunding teams for a party in the park and invite their dogs. How about a picnic in the park to drum up new participants and raise anticipation for the main event?

Cook Up a Dog Walk Bake Sale

Supplement your dog walk and recruit participants by holding a Saturday bake sale at a community center or school. Gather a team of bakers and plan the most delightful treats to sell. Don’t forget to make some special treats for the dogs. Sell them at the sale and offer them on your dog walk website.

Walkathon Dog Sitting

Dog Sitting for your Walk Athon

Offer a pet sitting area at your dog walk to bring in extra cash and control the hounds. Take special care to keep dogs and humans safe, with separate areas for some and a playground for all. This service may be offered on your dog walk website.

Host a Doggy Raffle

A raffle is a fun fundraising idea to add to a dog walk. Sell raffle tickets on your website and at registration. Ask your local pet shops and larger retail vendors for donations. Branch out and raffle grooming packages or pet spa or boarding packages from local groomers and boarders. Perhaps they’ll offer packages to your organization at half-price to draw more business to their shop.

Make a dog quilt as a grand raffle item. Form a team of quilters and ask your friends and family to decorate each fabric square with an animal protection message. Perhaps a local crafts store would like to donate the fabric.

Sell Dog and Pet Calendars

Dog Calendar Fundraiser

With an annual dog walk, there will be plenty of photos for a calendar. Offer a prize for the best dog photos three months before the charity event. This will get donors and participants involved in crowdfunding, and they’ll share their excitement with friends.

Add information about your nonprofit mission and facts that educate donors and supporters about your cause. Sell the calendars in your community and on your nonprofit eCommerce store. They’ll present a great way to brand your nonprofit throughout the year.

More Walkathon and Dog Walk Resources

We’ve outlined the essential steps and fundraising ideas to keep the dog walk planning process on track. Remember, big results are entirely possible with careful planning and execution.

DoJiggy is the Industry Leader in Free Walkathon Software

Maureen Peine

About Maureen Peine

Maureen has been writing and marketing for DoJiggy for 8 years, and has a strong background in nonprofit fundraising. While with The Nature Conservancy for 7 years prior, she learned the inner workings of marketing to the State of California within the external affairs department. Her heart is in her writing as she believes in the power of change through nonprofit organizations.

See other posts from Maureen Peine

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