Raising Funds For Your Local Shelter

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You love dogs, right? And you wish you could help the abandoned, sad and neglected sweeties that you see on Petfinder or in your local newspaper’s Adopt-A-Pet section, but you already have a dog. Maybe even two, and a cat or two to boot. No room at the inn, but a heart that overflows with desire to help? No problem! Perhaps you can’t adopt another shelter dog right now, but you might be able to save lives and have a truly profound impact by donating money to the shelter. Dog food costs, utilities, veterinary services, staff… shelters struggle to make ends meet and times are tougher than ever.

If you have a large pack at home and maybe even some kids, you are likely strapped for cash as well. Fund raising, of course! And if you do it right, it will become a ton of fun as well!

From Funds to Fun: A Few Ideas to Get You Started:
The tried and true ideas first
• A car wash,
• Sponsorship weekend at Barnes and Nobles or other stores willing to donate a percentage to your effort,
• Ink jet cartridge collection,
• Dog-walking day at the park,
• An eBay charity auction (get businesses to donate items to be auctioned off on eBay)
• Register with an online charity organization like iGive that allow customers to shop online at “regular” stores but collect a percentage of sales as donations

Are you ready to go deeper? Need some creative inspiration to get your local community excited and ready to support your efforts? Here are a few ideas that will make you laugh, smile or say “yes! That could work for my shelter!”

Kiss a Pig/Llama/Iguana!
Find a public figure in your community who is ready to pitch in. The mayor, superintendent of schools, coach for the high school football team or police chief are all great possibilities. Think you will have difficulty nabbing one of them? They love (and depending on how close it is to election or other strategic timing) and need the positive publicity. Now find a community member who owns an unusual pet. Arrange for a public kiss, and really talk it up ahead of time: send out press releases, use social networking sites, and pull out all the stops to get some media attention. To get the most “bang for your buck,” this may work best as part of a festival or other event so that you can piggyback on the existing crowd and publicity. Arrange for the kiss if your fund-raising goal is met!

Wild, Racy and Wet!
Would a slightly racy idea go over well in your community? How about a “topless” car wash? Arrange for the traditional car wash with a twist. Have shelter staff present with adoptable dogs, just like at any other adoption day event. Here’s the twist: the dogs are topless! Dress the dogs in shorts (with holes cut out for their tails, of course) and make sure once again that press releases go out ahead of time and tons of photographs get taken for follow up press.

Caged for the Critters
“Caged for the critters” events have been very successful in many locations around the US. The Shelter Director and/or the President of the Board are placed in dog crates out in the local McDonalds parking lot or equally large location that gets lots of car and foot traffic, with the promise that they will be let out when the fund-raising goal is reached. This is another event that would do well if a festival style day were organized, so that foot traffic and publicity could be shared among events. This would be a fun effort to pair with the Kiss a Pig event!

Going, Going, Gone!
Upscaling things a bit, how about an art exhibit and auction? The catch: all the “artists” are shelter dogs, and the artworks are all paintings made by pawprints. Be sure to check that the paints are non-toxic, and enlist the help of children with the paw-painting part. Use standard size pre-stretched canvases and try hard to have a local store or a “big box” crafts emporium donate frames. Once you have your artwork, create an event: classical music, elegant hors d’oeuvres, and minimum opening bids will help your event be a success!

Bring Your Dog to Work Day
If handled properly, this could be great fun and raise a nice chunk of cash. Of course you will need to get the boss’s and possibly Human Resources’ permission first. But the idea here is to bring your dog to work and let people know they too can adopt an equally adorable and loving dog or sponsor a dog who has yet to be adopted. To garner the most attention ahead of time, see if you can send all staff members an email announcing your plans. Then hold an “all staff meeting” somewhere on the company grounds and parade your best friend around and let people know what you are doing. Hey, you never know. You may be able to get your company’s CEO/president and other staff members to participate.

What is the bottom line? Talk it up, write your press releases, do your homework about your community and what might get folks to leave their house and open their wallets. At minimum you will help your canine community members by raising not only cash but awareness and you never know, you may end up having a blast doing so!

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