Thinking Outside the Box to Make Money for Your Nonprofit Animal Welfare Organization
Everyone knows that it takes a lot of money and community support to run a successful nonprofit animal welfare organization. Grants are often pretty difficult to find in the first place and even more difficult and time-consuming to get approved. Large donations are very rare, especially for new or smaller organizations, like the Faithful Friends Animal Society.
Without business sponsors and private donors, most nonprofit organizations could not afford to operate. The acquisition of donations is where a majority of nonprofit leaders tend to focus their tightly constrained resources. When the donations aren’t coming in, organizers and volunteers begin to lose momentum and motivation.
Most human beings do have an instinctual drive to try to protect innocent victims. This universal drive to protect animals is witnessed in multiple avenues around the globe. Activists will riot for hours in freezing temperatures to protest animal lab testing. Pull up any social media news story depicting the abuse or neglect of animals, and 100s of comments admonishing the perpetrators’ flood the screen. Do you know what the most common response to these types of stories is? “Why doesn’t somebody do something about it!”
The problem is those who are doing something about it are struggling just to make ends meet. When so many people obviously care deeply about animal welfare, why is it so difficult for the organizations that are out there trying to make a difference to receive even nominal amounts?
The entertainment and marketing industries know this secret: Give people a positive experience, and they are more likely to give you money. Ugly truths are sometimes better reserved for public education, legislation and grant requests. Even when the cold hard facts are difficult to ignore on an intellectual level, business and private donors need the opportunity to feel good, both by helping your animals and by attending a truly positive experience.
Most of these fundraising ideas are focused on animal rescue and adoption agencies, though there are quite a few suggestions for other charities, as well. Try to add your own personal twist of creativity, but please be sure to comply with all local laws and regulations.
Pet-Friendly Activities and Contests
One tried and true fair winner is the dog eating contest! Hot dog, that is. Have human contestants pay an entry fee to compete for who can eat the most hot dogs. You could even opt to let their doggie companions compete either as a teammate or in a separate kibble or treat eating contest (which might be a good opportunity to entice a dog food company to donate or sponsor). On the side, sell hot dogs, chips, and beverages.
If you really want to think outside of the box, and you think your target donors would go for it, consider hosting Puppy Poop Bingo! Make sure to schedule this one around the meal times for groups of adoption puppies. Tape off bingo squares on a playpen mat and sell bingo cards. Either call out winners over a loudspeaker or invite contestants to check back at certain times to check their cards.
A favorite show at any fair is the stupid (or smart) animal tricks. Depending on the number of paid contestants and the nature of your organization, you may want to have a separate class just for volunteers to show off how smart and well-trained your very adoptable shelter dogs are.
More Human Contests and Indoor Activities
There aren’t many fundraisers that attendees don’t expect to see 50/50 raffles, raffle baskets, and trivia, so don’t disappoint there. Just try to liven it up a bit and make sure you stuff those baskets with great values. Businesses and community members like to donate and compete for raffle baskets. Check out the AnimalPlex Shop for some great ideas for what to put on your basket wish-list.
A dog house or cat condo building contest could be a great way to receive entry fees and build you great fundraiser products to sell at the same time. Invite your local construction companies, roofers or high-school shop class to compete for the best project. You might select your winners through an auction or let visitors cast their dollar vote. like they did at a Faithful Friends Animal Society Barkitecture Fundraiser Event.
Let your visitors try to guess the number of treats or marbles in a jar. For added punctuation, make the actual number a representation of an important stat for your cause (such as the number of animals euthanized or the daily operations cost for the organization).
A couple of final suggestions that are geared more towards the kids are to have a treasure hunt or easter egg hunt. Let the kids use a litter scoop to dig for “treasure” buried inside a pan of kitty litter or pick up Easter eggs with a pooper scooper.
We wish you happy fundraising and hope that a few of these ideas come in handy for your organization and all that you do for your animals.