Fundraising Ideas for Animal Charities

Written by cynthia barstad
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Fundraising Ideas for Animal Charities
Animal-related non-profit rely on charitable donations for ongoing support. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Whether raising money for an animal shelter, sanctuary, rescue group or wildlife rehabilitation project, using diverse fundraising strategies is the key to successful and stable financial support. Getting grants from foundations attracts a lot of attention from non-profit, but the bulk of an organisation's support consistently comes from individuals, whose donations typically make up 75 per cent of a group's income each year.

Entry-Level Donations

First-time donations may be spontaneous, such as dropping some change in a donation box at a vet clinic or an outreach table at a festival or other community event. Soliciting donations at a veggie burger stand outside a natural foods grocery store on a weekend can reach a wide audience. People may be prompted to make that first donation by a touching media story or going to a neighbour's yard sale that benefits the non-profit.

Fundraising Ideas for Animal Charities
Wildlife rehabilitation centres treat injured and orphaned wild animals. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Special Events

Special events historically have been mainstays of targeting a large audience to get donors initially involved with a non-profit. Animal-related groups might sponsor a dog wash instead of a car wash, bathing people's pets in exchange for a donation. Pledge-driven events, such as a dog jog or walk, provide participants with motivation and a way to become invested in the mission of the organisation.

Fundraising Ideas for Animal Charities
Sanctuaries house pot-bellied pigs and other animals needing permanent care. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

In-Kind Donations and Earned Income

Earned income is another way to draw new supporters into the organisation's mission and help it to attain its goals. Animal welfare non-profit might sell pet care products, charge for dog training classes or provide a fee-based speakers bureau. Tax-exempt non-profit need to exercise caution in choosing the good or services they want to promote, which need to be closely related to the group's IRS-recognised mission to avoid unrelated business income tax (UBIT).

Fundraising Ideas for Animal Charities
Training classes and other services provide related income for animal shelters. (Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

Annual Giving and Memberships

To solicit regular revenue for ongoing operational needs and annual expenses, non-profit often send out membership solicitation letters with newsletters through direct mail or e-mail. These appeals may focus on memorial and tribute donations or animal sponsorships. An annual campaign could leverage a large matching gift to garner more donations.

Workplace giving programs through the United Way or the Combined Federal Campaign (for government employees) provide an easy method for donors to make contributions through payroll deductions. Animal non-profit can market their programs to encourage people to write in their organisation's name as the recipient of designated gifts during workplace campaigns. They may even be able to get their employers to match gifts.

Fundraising Ideas for Animal Charities
Remembering a loved pet with a memorial donation supports animal charities. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Major Giving and Planned Gifts

Over time, donors build a relationship with a non-profit through repeated gifts. Eventually, they may become ready to make a bigger investment in the cause. This type of fundraising requires a more personal interaction with prospects. A small, exclusive house party with a few staff and board members is an effective way to ask for larger donations for designated special projects and capital needs. Major donors may eventually be interested in bequests and other types of planned giving.

Fundraising Ideas for Animal Charities
Animal protection non-profit, including large animal sanctuaries, need major gifts. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

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