Animal fundraisers are a unique, fun, way to raise money for your organization.

Animal Fundraisers for Your Organization: 5 Expert Tips


Collecting donations allows your organization to expand its reach and fund its mission. But to achieve fundraising success, you need a narrowly-focused campaign that appeals to your target audience and inspires them to give. If your supporters have a passion for animals, consider hosting an animal-themed fundraiser. 

While hosting an animal fundraiser may seem reserved for pet-oriented businesses and nonprofits, any organization can benefit from incorporating furry friends into its next fundraiser. That’s because animals have the ability to spark an emotional connection with donors and drive donations on behalf of your cause. 

From developing your marketing materials to improving donor relations, we’ll provide you with five tips to launch a fundraiser that makes an impact. Let’s get started! 

1. Narrow the scope of your animal fundraising idea. 

Once you’ve determined that hosting an animal fundraiser is the best approach to raise money for your organization, narrow down the focus of your campaign according to your budget, goals, and target audience.

Here are some popular animal shelter fundraising ideas to get you started: 

  • Sponsor-a-pet fundraiser: If your fundraiser is benefitting an animal shelter, allow people to provide small, recurring gifts to sponsor an animal who has ongoing medical issues or has been in the shelter for an extended period of time. Encourage ongoing support by sending sponsors regular updates about the animal’s well-being. 
  • Auctions: With mobile bidding, both in-person and virtual audiences can bid on animal-related items, such as collars, treats, and gift certificates to a pet grooming business through their phones.
  • Pet-friendly social gathering: Host an event at a local park and encourage pet owners to attend with their animals. Charge for drinks and food to raise funds for your cause or set up an information booth where supporters can learn about your campaign. 
  • Webinar: Have an animal expert lead an online seminar related to your fundraiser. For instance, you might bring in a dog trainer to teach a “Potty Training 101” workshop for new pet owners. 

Involve your entire team in the process of choosing a fundraiser to ensure that it’s a feasible idea. 

2. Develop local partnerships.

Partnering with a local business can provide your organization with the reach and resources needed to achieve fundraising success. Reach out to businesses that share similar values to your own and ask detailed questions about their expectations for a partnership.

An example of a mutually beneficial partnership would be an animal shelter teaming up with a pet grooming business to host a sponsor-a-pet fundraiser. The organizations share a similar target audience and would both benefit from co-hosting a fundraiser that showcases each of their services.

Once you’ve identified an ideal partner, decide how they will contribute to your fundraiser. In addition to financially contributing to your cause, a business might provide your organization with: 

  • In-kind donations: If a business doesn’t have the funds to donate to your cause, it may be able to lend supplies, services, or event space. 
  • Brand recognition: Ask if your partner would be willing to promote your fundraiser with their customer base to reach a new audience.
  • Volunteer support: A business might encourage its staff to volunteer their time to support your fundraiser, whether that be through taking care of animals or checking in attendees at an event.

Remember that each party should benefit from a partnership. When soliciting support from local businesses, explain what they can expect to receive in return. For instance, your organization may agree to include the business’s branding on your marketing materials or sell its merchandise at your fundraising event.

3. Leverage crowdfunding. 

In addition to participating in partnerships and hosting fundraising events, your organization can raise meaningful support with animal-themed crowdfunding. Crowdfunding is the practice of encouraging supporters to make small to mid-sized gifts through an online platform like GoFundMe. All you have to do is present your cause in a way that inspires people to give and share the fundraiser with their peers.

People are more likely to give when they know their donation will go toward something meaningful and specific. For example, rather than creating a campaign to save animals, you might state that you’re looking to raise $10,000 to help renovate your local animal shelter. Include photos of the animals and staff testimonials to tug at people’s heartstrings and get them invested in your cause. 

Then, share the link to your crowdfunding campaign across your marketing channels and encourage supporters to share the page with their personal networks, using a strong call-to-action like “Your one-time gift of $20 can help dogs like Luna live a happy and healthy life.”

When done correctly, the combination of gifts will add up quickly and help you reach your fundraising goals.

4. Use a multichannel marketing strategy.

If you want to effectively promote your animal fundraiser, consider adopting a multichannel approach to marketing. According to NXUnite’s guide to marketing, multichannel outreach uses several different touchpoints to reach your target audience on their preferred platforms and attract the attention of as many supporters as possible.

Your organization’s website should be central to your outreach efforts. Create a page dedicated to your animal fundraiser, including information about your campaign, testimonials from your beneficiaries, and donation forms with integrated payment processing. Then, link back to this resource across other communication channels, such as: 

  • Email: Email is an inexpensive and easy way to engage with supporters. Encourage recipients to open your message and click through to your donation or event registration page with a short, eye-catching subject line like “Our animal shelter needs your support.” 
  • Direct mail: Sending physical invitations to events, informational flyers, and fundraising letters can result in high response rates when given a personalized touch. Address supporters by name and include relevant information about their giving history. Then, include a QR code that recipients can scan to easily access your fundraising page. 
  • Social media: According to Double the Donation’s guide to fundraising, Instagram is the fastest-growing social media platform for nonprofits. Share photos and videos of your furry friends on the platform, and include information about your campaign in the caption. 

By leveraging multiple marketing channels, you can reach a larger audience, increase fundraising, and further your mission. 

5. Show your appreciation.

No fundraiser is complete without a “thank you” from your organization to your donors. Within 24 hours to a week after receiving a donation, send each donor a note that shows your appreciation for their support. These letters should reference the amount they contributed and explain how their gift made an impact. For instance, you might say, “Thanks to your $100 gift, we were able to provide free medical care to an animal in need.” When donors know that their gift made a tangible difference, they are more likely to increase the frequency or size of their future contributions. 

If you have a supporter who attended an event or shared your crowdfunding page without donating, you should still follow up with a thank-you letter expressing your gratitude for their participation and commitment to your cause. Such outreach helps cultivate meaningful relationships that last long after your campaign ends. 

Whether you choose to host a structured auction or pet yoga in the park, animal fundraisers can provide your organization with the funds, connections, and visibility needed to pursue your purpose. Just remember to plan well in advance so that you can ensure an impactful, memorable fundraising experience for everyone involved.