How To Successfully Raise Money For Dog Rescue Charities

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“We Can Judge The Heart Of A Man By How He Treats Animals”

Immanuel Kant

Do you want to use your time, and talents, to raise funds for animals? Animals need us now, more than ever. You may be thinking, ‘there’s nothing I can do to make money for charity’. But there are lots of things you can produce, or do, which people will love to pay for, especially when they know they are helping animals, too. 

Everything, it seems, is becoming more expensive so most of us have less spare money these days. The result being that essential donations are no longer being made to the many rescue organizations that so badly need our help. 

How Do Animal Rescue Organizations Get Money?

Animal shelter and rescue organizations are not funded by the federal government directly. There are some grants available from various animal agencies and private foundations. Shelters can only continue to operate when members of the public, businesses and animal-lovers, make donations.

Animals will always need our help, so regular donations are absolutely crucial to the running of a shelter or rescue facility.

These donations can be monetary, or gifts in kind, which are a form of charitable giving where goods and services themselves are donated. For animal shelters, this often means donations of food and toys. It can also include volunteering.

The adoption fees we pay, only cover the cost of caring for the animal during their time at the shelter. In cases of serious injury or abuse, the veterinary bill for those animals alone can seriously deplete a shelter’s budget.

Crowd-funding is a common practice for shelters. They post an animal’s situation on a social media platform such as, and ask for donations to help pay for the animal’s care. These cases are usually ones of abuse or abandonment and often involve costly surgery.

Shelter and rescue organizations will keep an email database of their supporters, and will send out messages every year to ask for donations.

Without donations from us, animals would be euthanized, or worse, left in abusive situations.

How Much Does It Cost To Keep An Animal In A Shelter?

This varies, from state to state. It also depends on the needs of each animal, required veterinary care, nursing, and drugs.

There are innumerable costs associated with operating a shelter. 

Rent or mortgage, power and fuel, water, veterinary supplies and surgery, travel costs to pick up animals, motor vehicles (including fuel and maintenance), fundraising costs, internet access, office equipment, other equipment (washer + dryer, for example), employee payroll (no shelter is entirely run by volunteers), volunteer training, heating and ventilation, food and litter supplies, toy, blankets and leashes, accounting costs… the list goes on.

The vast majority of shelters rely on your donations and kindness to fund their work.

What Happens If Shelters Run Out Of Money?

Essentially the shelter can only operate if it has a budget. Less money means that animals cannot be cared for adequately, so will be euthanized, or adoptive homes found quickly for popular species. In the worst case scenario, the shelter will have to close down, leaving thousands of animals with no help at all.

Top 5 Easy Ways You Can Raise Money For Animals

Dog Walking or Running Events

This can be a great way to raise money, and keeps everyone, including any dogs who go along, fit and healthy. 

Plan a running route in your local community, and then have participants pay to enter the run. 

The most important aspect to consider is everyone’s safety. Try and make it a green run. So you avoid motor vehicles and members of the public on highways and sidewalks.

Have water stations along the way, for dogs as well as humans. Lots of businesses are happy to donate for these types of events. Remember, business owners love animals, too.

A walkathon may require a bit more planning, but can be a great way to get people (and dogs) of all fitness levels along for a great day out. What about a barbecue at the end, or fast food caravans being invited along. It’s income for them too.

You could raise even more money for your event by selling shirts, caps, water bottles, leashes, and photographs. The list is endless.

Pet Pamper Raffles

Make up a super detailed pet care package. Start out with a huge basket or decorative cardboard box. Fill it with toys, treats, a dog bed, leash, harness, tins of good quality food, bags of kibble, a dog towel, whatever you can think of.

You could potentially make lots of money for your local shelter by having a raffle. Sell tickets for up to $5 each. Charge more if you have luxury, expensive items in the prize. People are always happy to help out with charitable fundraising. The more tickets you sell, the better. 

It’s always a good idea to have a couple of lesser value 2nd and 3rd  prizes.You want people to enjoy it, and to participate in all your raffles.

Let your friends and family know about the event and share it on social media to spread the word.

Coffee Shop Day

Find a local coffee shop who are animal friendly. The venue needs to be able to accommodate humans and their pets, without causing stress or fear in some smaller species. Lots of cafes have outside seating and garden areas.

Ask them if they would be open to hosting an animal shelter fundraising event, where a percentage of the money raised will go towards your cause.

Make the event relaxed and casual. Incorporate a quiz, or bingo type games for added fun.

Set up bowls with water and treats for all the pets, too!

Pet Photo Shoot

If you know an animal-loving professional photographer, this fund-raiser should be easy. Remember there are lots of highly talented amateur photographers, too. These people are usually very happy to hone their craft at this type of event.

You could contact your local photography clubs, or advertise on a local website for someone to volunteer. Ask what props they will need, if any.

Find a great location, and start promoting the event. Advertise in local papers, store windows and local radio. Post the event on Facebook, outlining all the details, and include a registration link. People can register and pay on-line, or cash on the day if you can’t accept card payments.

Make it easy, and concentrate on supplying six unique digital images. If people then want printed copies, they can organize exactly what they require.

Craft Sale

If you have a hobby that you can make money from, this is a great way to raise funds. You could be a baker, wood-worker, photographer, artist, sewing and knitting expert, writer. There are no limits to what we are interested in, and can produce. 

People are hungry for unusual and home-made crafts. They want a unique and beautiful item to show-off. And they get to help animals at the same time. There are always craft fairs, farmer’s markets and pop-up stalls where you can establish a site.

You’d be surprised how many large businesses have got their start at these small events. You would need to be sustainable, so pay yourself back for materials and time, but there would be plenty of profits to donate. Let people know that you are there as a community supporter of the animal shelter or rescue. 

UPDATE – We made $980 on our stall!

I love woodworking. I have spent two years producing items for a local Christmas market. It’s nerve-racking, but I’m really excited to see how it goes. I know that the Hound101 team are really happy to provide money for animals in need.

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