How to Attract Donations to Your Animal Shelter

For many animal shelters, donations are a key source of funding. Without the generosity of individuals, it can be hard to pay for the space, staff, equipment, and products needed to house and care for your rescued animals. Employing the right strategies is crucial for securing the donations you need to continue your invaluable service to the community.

Find long-term sponsors

While one-time or temporary donors can help you achieve that desperately-needed remodel or take in an unexpected surge of pets from the street, it’s the long-term sponsors who really keep your facilities up and running day-to-day, year-to-year. Securing regular sponsors who are committed to your mission as much as you are will help you build a healthy, reliable, and diversified revenue stream.

To find a long-term donor, start searching for businesses, organizations, or individuals who share the same passion and goals. You may find a local pet store or vet clinic that is willing to donate supplies, services, or products on a regular basis. In exchange, you may offer to partner in events, provide a certification recognizing their generosity that can be displayed in their store or office, and include their logo and business names as official sponsors in any marketing materials. 

Host an event

Events are a great way to drum up much-needed revenue. Events offer donors something in return for their money, like a fun gathering, giveaways, a competition, or a service. To make it just as fun for your rescues (and maybe even find a few forever matches), look for ways you can incorporate your furry friends into the event.

Consider organizing a dog walk-a-thon or pup race, or auctioning off playtime with shelter animals.  You can host a “bark & brew” at a local brewery where a portion of proceeds go toward the shelter.  Other event ideas might include hosting a dog or cat yoga class, swapping a car wash for a pet wash, or hosting a “barkery” with homemade pet treats.

Run a digital campaign

With the right timing, tactics, and following, a social media campaign can turn viral and attract some serious donors. But even if you don’t reach the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge level, you can still get a big return for little effort.

Ideas might include coming up with a challenge, running a social media version of the traditional telethon with live video streaming, doing a giveaway in exchange for follows/shares/donations, or asking people to share their rescues’ photos and stories (with a donation, of course).

Create a Crowdsourcing campaign

Crowdsourcing is a great way to raise funds for your animal shelter quickly. However, these are best done when you have a particular project that needs funding, such as medical treatment for a disabled rescue, a facility upgrade, or a big equipment purchase.

Sell Custom Merchandise

Selling merchandise is a great way to build income, increase awareness, and let your donors show off their generosity. Some marketing items you might consider include apparel (t-shirts, tote bags, hats, bracelets, etc.) and pet gear (ID tags, leashes and collars, dog toys, poop bags, etc.).

To make the most of your commerce stream, brand each item with your animal shelter name and/or logo to build awareness and draw in other donors and adopters. 

Sponsor a Rescue

Make donations personal by allowing people to sponsor individual pets in your shelter. You can upload photos and videos and tell their heartwarming (or heartbreaking) stories. Follow up each story with a call to action to sponsor that animal (and other animals like him or her) with cash donations that allow you to continue rescuing dogs and finding them homes.

Finding Quality Equipment for your Animal Shelter

If you’re looking for quality stainless steel cages for animals at your shelter or other pet-based business, browse our options today. Direct Animal is a leading supplier of animal cages, pet wash tubs, and other equipment needed for veterinarians, groomers, daycares, and more.

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