So you have an established and successful pet care business—congratulations! Each day, you dedicate your energy towards keeping pets safe, comfortable, clean, and content. Hopefully, your days are filled with wagging tails, and you can rest easy at night knowing that you’re providing essential care to so many furry friends.
But what about the pets who aren’t in your care? Approximately 6.5 million companion animals enter shelters each year, and they deserve care too. By leveraging your pet business’s platform and customer base, you can make a significant difference for animal-focused charities.
However, it may be challenging to come up with fundraising ideas that feel appropriate for your business yet are still able to make a big impact.
Don’t worry—we’re here to help! At Gingr, we provide pet care business professionals like you with the tools they need to do more of what they love. And of course, what you love is animals. To assist you in helping as many pets as possible, we’ve compiled a list of the most effective fundraising ideas to raise money for animal charities:
- Organize a dog walk-a-thon.
- Create a sponsor-a-pet donation campaign.
- Start a matching gift program.
- Make in-kind donations to a local shelter.
- Host a dog wash fundraiser.
Each of these suggestions could add a dose of philanthropy into your pet business and allow you to provide more homes and resources to animals in need. Let’s jump in.
1. Organize a dog walk-a-thon.
A charity 5k race or walk-a-thon fundraiser is a common way to raise revenue for a cause while enjoying an outdoor activity. Generally, how it works is that participants gather donation pledges from family and friends for their commitment to participate in the race. For example, supporters may donate $5 for each mile walked.
A dog walk follows the same basic principles as a standard walk-a-thon, except you get Fido involved. Of course, participants are more than welcome to join in even without a four-legged walking companion.
Participants will collect pledges over a certain time period that culminates in a fun-filled finale event: the dog walk itself! To be in line with social distancing recommendations, you may choose to host the walk online, with each participant tracking their distance from their own location.
To make this style of fundraiser successful, you will need a strong commitment and plenty of energy from your participants. Make sure to provide plenty of encouragement and resources to help them fundraise for such an important cause.
2. Start a matching gift program.
This fundraising idea requires more financial support from your business, but it’s a powerful way to display your commitment to philanthropy.
By starting a matching gift program, you pledge to match employee gifts to nonprofit organizations. You can either match gifts at any registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit or opt to only match gifts for animal-related organizations for a more focused impact.
If you decide to do this, just make sure you widely publicize the program among your employees. Oftentimes, eligible matching gift requests are never submitted because employees simply aren’t aware of the programs. As the Crowd101 guide to matching gifts describes, somewhere between $4 and $7 billion in matching gift revenue is left on the table every year.
However, if your employees know about it, they are sure to take advantage. Then, twice the funding will be going towards deserving organizations, and you’ll get a boost to your reputation—a win-win for everyone involved.
3. Host a dog wash fundraiser.
As you can probably guess, a dog wash fundraiser mimics the classic car wash. You can set up plenty of tubs and soap outside your building for a more casual approach, or simply open your doors for the day.
Then, you’ll either set a price for a wash (with some proceeds going to charity, or course) or ask for visitors to donate what they are able. Since you’re staffing the wash with your expert grooming team, people will be willing to pay premium prices, especially when they know the funds are going to a good cause like a local shelter.
If you’re starting a dog grooming business or adding new grooming services to your kennel or daycare, this could be a great way to spread the word about your launch. Pet owners in the area will be able to see your handiwork in action, and you’ll start building a positive reputation as a generous member of the community.
4. Create a sponsor-a-pet donation campaign.
With a sponsor-a-pet campaign, instead of asking for general donations to a shelter, you’ll invite supporters to cover the needs of just one pet.
This fosters a strong connection between the donor and the cause, since the donor can see and understand the tangible impact of their generosity. To make this tie even more powerful, ask the shelter to share photos and progress updates of the pets as they grow.
The sponsorship will cover the needs of the dog or cat until they’ve found their forever home, which may include:
- Medical procedures (like spaying and neutering)
- Shelter overhead costs
As an added bonus, this fundraising idea is perfect for our current era of social distancing. If your pet care business has gone contact-free in response to COVID-19 (as discussed in this article) you and your customers can still make a difference.
5. Make in-kind donations to a local shelter.
If you aren’t ready to ask your customers for financial contributions or to make those contributions yourself, you can focus on in-kind donations.
You can either donate these items yourself or put out collection boxes for your customers to chip in:
- Gently used toys
- Blankets and towels
- Collars, harnesses, and leashes
- Cat litter
- Crates and carriers
- Dog/cat food and treats
You can also donate package credits, gift cards, or discount coupons for your services. Local shelters or other animal advocacy organizations can use these items as auction items or raffle prizes to boost their own fundraising results.
Donating your own services is also a great way to get yourself in front of a new audience. As we discuss in the Gingr guide to creating a dog daycare business plan, defining and promoting your brand is critical to the long-term success of your business. So, in addition to having a positive charitable impact, this strategy could also lead to new happy customers.
By dedicating time and resources to animal charities, your pet business will make a difference in the lives of pets in need and boost your community reputation. These fundraising ideas will help you kick start your philanthropic efforts. Good luck!
This post was contributed by Casey Dorman, Sales Manager at Gingr.