How to Raise Funds for Animal Shelters
Animal shelters world wide are always in need of money. This money helps keep their doors open, by paying for food, staff, veterinary care, and other needs, as well as things most people do not think of like their electrical bills, taxes, and building costs.
Raising funds can be a tricky business. Most shelters are run by a volunteer Board of Directors. One of their duties is to hold events to raise money for the shelter. This is a very demanding position. The public is not as generous as it use to be and some people even complain about money going to care for animals versus care for humans.
There are many fund raisers that shelters can hold, as well they certainly appreciate any fund raising the public can do in their benefit.
Garage sales are one of the simplest fund raisers and is a win-win opportunity. People get rid of things they don't want, others get things they want, and the shelter makes money. A shelter can run a garage sale at its facility. This is best done if in conjunction with an other event such as an Open House, or Party for the Animals. If the shelter has the space they can ask staff, volunteers, and supporters, to drop off items in the week before the scheduled sale. Either items can be priced of offered at $2 a bag full, or have the buyer suggest a price. The shelter can arrange for unsold items to be picked up by another charity for their garage sale, and as such there is not much clean up involved.
Members of the public may want to hold their own garage sale with fund going to the shelter. This can be tricky because unless a representative of the shelter is present the public may be suspicious if the money really is going to the shelter or a person is just saying it is.
There are two types of auctions, ones often used by charities are “Silent Auctions”, the other is a typical auction with an energetic auctioneer. Silent Auctions are the easier to organize, but both should be held in conjunction with another event to gather people – bidders. To hold a successful auction requires getting excellent donations. This is generally a fund raiser best done by the Board of Directors, and volunteers associated with the shelter. Requests for donations should be made formally and in person with a letter stating what the donated items are raising money for. Thank you letters, or receipts should be sent out later.
If a few big enough items can be gathered from donation requests, a raffle is a good fund raiser, but the shelter must request permission to hold a raffle.
In areas where bottles can be collected and returned for deposit a good old fashioned bottle drive can generate some funds. Shelters should have collection areas for bottles and cans at all times. People who are dog walking often have a drink and these people need to be encouraged to donate their bottles or cans to the shelter so they can be collected and returned. To run a successful bottle drive (collecting bottles from houses) one must advertise in advance so people know to hold onto their bottles. It is a good idea to tell them where you will be collecting or where they can drop off bottles and cans.
An animal shelter can request to have coin banks at various businesses. It is important that people keep lists of what businesses have coin banks and that they are checked regularly. What works best is if different people are assigned 3-10 businesses in their area to check on every two weeks. A general list of which people are in charge of checking which business needs to be kept with the Board of Directors. Coin banks should have the name of the shelter, a picture of an animal that the funds are supporting, and a phone number so if the coin bank gets too full somebody can be called to collect the money – as well the phone number makes things look more legitimate to the public.
Some good places for coin banks are at pet supply stores, liquor stores, corner shops, and gas stations. It is best to support the store that has the coin banks in it.
If an individual wants to raise money for an animal shelter on their own they can. Naturally the public may be skeptical if the money really is going to the shelter. The best approach is honesty. If a person is going to offer lawn mowing for $10 a lawn, and only half of the money is going to the shelter they should say so, and be clear that they are doing this on their own and not under the authority of the shelter.
Of course there are other methods of raising money for animal shelters. Bake Sales, Photos with Santa, Used Book Sales, Dog Jogs, Hot Dog sales, and so forth. Be clear that the money is going towards helping the animals and have a representative from the shelter at the events. Get the media on board with promoting any fund raising events, as most will advertise charity events free of charge.
By forming a legal charity an animal shelter can offer tax receipts and will be more trusted by the public.