As a seasoned pet-care business professional, most of your time is dedicated to keeping pets safe, comfortable, clean, and content. Hopefully, your days are filled with wagging tails, and you can rest easy knowing that you’re providing essential care to so many furry friends.
But what about the pets who aren’t in your care? According to official ASPCA statistics, approximately 6.3 million companion animals enter shelters each year, resulting in nearly 100,000 euthanizations annually. While these poor animals aren’t scampering through your front door, they still need you to take action—both for their benefit and for your own!
By leveraging your pet business’s platform and customer base to launch profitable fundraisers, you can make a big difference for animal-focused charities. Additionally, by championing animal advocacy, you’ll also positively market your brand and increase customer loyalty.
However, it can be a challenge to come up with fundraising ideas that make a big impact while still aligning with your pet-care business plan and brand. Don’t worry—we’re here to help! At Gingr, we provide pet-care business professionals with the tools they need to do more of what they love: helping animals. Consider these simple, effective, and lucrative animal fundraisers:
- Organize a dog walk-a-thon.
- Start a matching gift program.
- Host a dog wash fundraiser.
- Create a sponsor-a-pet donation campaign.
- Make in-kind donations to a local shelter.
With these fantastic fundraisers, you will not only raise more money for animal charities but also raise sales and awareness for your own brand—all while saving pets in need!
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 engaging community members with 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-a-thon follows the same basic principles as a standard walk-a-thon, except participants’ pups get involved, too! Of course, participants are more than welcome to join in even without a four-legged walking companion.
Participants will collect pledges in the months or weeks preceding the walk-a-thon before getting to enjoy a fun-filled event of exercise and cheering on their pooches. However, virtual dog walk-a-thons are also an option for event organizers practicing socially distancing or whose supporters are geographically scattered. Participants simply have to track their walking progress from their own locations.
The key to successfully hosting this dog walk-a-thon fundraiser is to keep your supporters motivated and excited to participate. Spending weeks asking family and friends for donations and completing the walk-a-thon is a big commitment for your supporters, and you’ll need to keep in close contact with them to share campaign updates, words of encouragement, and fundraising resources.
2. Start a matching gift program.
This animal fundraising idea requires more financial support from your business, but it’s a powerful way to display your commitment to animal advocacy, support charities in your community, and engage your employees.
By starting a matching gift program, you pledge to match employee gifts to nonprofit organizations and charitable missions, such as animal shelters. 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, 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 unclaimed 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-win for everyone involved.
3. Host a dog wash fundraiser.
As you might’ve guessed, a dog wash fundraiser mimics the classic car wash fundraiser. You can set up plenty of tubs and soap outside your building for a more casual approach, or simply open your pet business’s doors for the day and scrub down pups at your grooming stations.
Then, you’ll either set a price for a wash (with some proceeds going to charity, of course) or ask for visitors to donate what they are able to. 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 doggy daycare, this pet fundraising idea 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 animal shelter, rescue, or mission they’re giving to, 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 and digital engagement. As pet-care businesses adopt new software and strategies to reduce physical contact and streamline management, these kinds of online animal fundraisers will integrate seamlessly into your virtual sales and outreach efforts.
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 products is also a great way to get yourself in front of a new audience, particularly if you’ve taken the time to create branded merchandise for animal charities to share. According to the Gingr ideas guide to pet business merchandise, branded pet-care products, such as toys or tote bags, are highly sought-after products that can double as valuable marketing materials when worn and used in public.
So, in addition to having a positive charitable impact, this strategy could also lead to dozens of new happy customers strolling into your storefront.
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 reputation among your community.
With these easy and effective pet fundraising ideas in hand, you’re more than ready to kick start philanthropic programs that will send positive shockwaves through your business and beyond. Good luck, and happy fundraising!