We see so many of the same fundraisers being done by animal rescue groups we decided to create this list of Fundraising Ideas For Animal Rescues that we think are perfect for animal organizations (or really any nonprofit) and can help your organization break away from the pack with something unique that not every other group is doing. Raising money to care for animals in need is a never ending issue – but with a great fundraiser you can make a big impact on those never ending bills and get everyone excited to learn more about your group.
If you are looking for other ways to get much needed funds be sure to visit our Grants For Animal Rescue organizations article for the most in-depth list of grants around!
Our list is broken out into 3 fundraising areas – food, people products and pet products – we have a separate post for virtual fundraising ideas as well. We have also created a list of great event fundraising ideas and a restaurant fundraising guide as well to help you plan the perfect event fundraiser! Partner up with a local restaurant or even local businesses are a great way to get started on creating a fundraising event and getting your community involved!
These lists will be updated as we find new options for your group to raise money!
Pet Product Fundraising Ideas
What would be a list of fundraising ideas for animal rescues without some goodies for the pets? Because you are marketing to a group of animal lovers to secure donations with your fundraisers, these ideas will be even extra appealing! Goodies for their pets are a sure way to bring in funds – and help make your supporters happy.
Kuranda beds are a staple in most shelters and some rescues. Sign up for their program and you can earn free beds for your group.
People Product Fundraising Ideas
No matter what the reason – birthday, Christmas or even just because, any fundraising idea from this section will work just about all year round and are geared towards items people can use.
Rescue Candle are based in the USA and offer hand poured candles that are environmentally friendly and have cotton wicks for the cleanest burning! With cute names like Orange Tabby and Caramel Chew, this is a great fundraising opportunity for all animal rescues!
RADA Cutlery offers 100% American made kitchen products that you can earn 40% of with their fundraising program. Knives, utensils, gift sets and more are available through their program. This is a great all year round fundraising event that is unique and offers great products that every household uses!
Morris Press Cookbook
A cookbook fundraiser is a great way to raise funds and bring your group together! How much you raise can vary, but several groups have raised thousands of dollars. The program allows you to easily create and print custom cookbooks from recipes you and your group submit, add images a custom cover and more to make it really yours.
Chewy offers a special affiliate program just for animal rescues and shelters to help them raise funds. With their popularity this is one every shelter should be a part of.
To sign up you need to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Pet House offers a variety of products that help neutralize pet odors from candles to car fresheners to sprays – there is something for all the stinky pet odors that surround you! Their fundraisers offer a 20% donation for all referrals.
Wrapping paper, bows, photo cards and more will make a great fundraiser for any time of year. They also offer a line of personalized products such as pillows and jewelry to further grow your donations.
Shop With Scrip
Your organization can earn a percentage of every gift card purchase. Set up a Scrip account and encourage your supporters to buy a gift card through the Scrips website and you can earn a donation for every gift card sold ranging from 2.5% – 8% at some top retailers.
Lynch Creek Farm
Lynch Creek Farm handcrafts Christmas wreaths, centerpieces and other beautiful gifts and home decor items. They are a Christmas fundraising idea that allows any organization to create a fundraising page where 15% of every purchase will be received as a donation.
Earn 50% with this fun and colorful fundraiser! You can use their fundraising catalog or start an online fundraiser – or for best results offer both options for your campaign. Their large variety of flower options for the garden make this a great fundraising option!
This is a great way to not only get your supporters involved, but a way to bring a sense of community together while raising big donations through sales of the end product. Take a peak at our step by step guide on the process we used to create a calendar for a local shelter.
Food Fundraising Ideas
Not sure I know anyone who does not love food! While hosting a restaurant fundraiser is a great option – your nonprofit also has some really great options for fundraising with all different types of food! From burritos to pasta and everything in between – we will provide some of the more unique food fundraiser options for your organization to consider when you need to raise some fund.
Gertrude Hawk Chocolates offer several ways for non-profit groups to raise funds. Whether you sell in person or setup your own online fundraising website, you have the opportunity to earn up to 50% profits.
Red Wheel is a manufacturer that produces food products just for fundraising purposes. From pies to burritos they offer over 50 products you can profit from. Their products are only available through fundraisers in specific areas where they have dealers.
Butter Braid® offers a variety of pastries and rolls that you bake and add flavors to. Their products are only available through fundraisers in specific areas where they have dealers.
Amazing chocolates that can earn big rewards. You can use traditional ordering forms or have a dedicated online fundraising page through their website Yum-Raising.
Miscellaneous Fundraising Ideas
These fundraisers are others that we have found that are great options as well!
roundit is an app that shoppers can download to round up purchases and the change can then be donated to your organization. You will need to sign on as a partner to allow your charity to be designated as the recipient of the round up difference!
Event Fundraising Ideas
A fundraising event hosted by animal rescues are not only a great way to raise money – but are also incredibly beneficial for building loyalty and connections with your supporters.
From something simple like a chess tournament to something more elaborate like a wine tasting event – there are options for every animal rescue or shelter that is looking to add events to their annual fundraising calendar!
This is a great idea if you are going to be at a street fair or carnival with your rescue group. An easy way to raise money that is fun and a low cost fundraiser.
Fill balloons with tickets that will give the winner a prize or event cash. So if you want to raffle off 5 items, you can fill say 100 balloons with tickets and 5 of them will have the winning tickets. Recommend a “minimum” donation fee to get a balloon – this is a fun and unique way to raise much needed funds!
Battle of the Bands
Bring on the fun and offer a real community based event like a Battle of the Bands to raise money for your organization! A fun and unique way to raise funds that will leave your supporters with something to really remember!
Here are some tips to creating a successful Battle of the Bands fundraising event for your animal rescue! If done well this can be a low cost event to put together with a high return!
1. Try to secure a space that is rent free. See if you can secure a parking lot or park area that can be donated for a great cause!
2. Put out a call on social media and around town for bands and musicians to participate – we guarantee they will jump at the chance!
3. Of course you will need judges! See if there is a local music school or a music teacher that would donate their time – if you are really connected, then how about the mayor?
4. Prizes for the winners – of course they should receive something – this is a great time to see if some local businesses would like to get involved and donate prizes in return for some mentions and advertising opportunities. A fantastic prize of course would be time in a real recording studio if you can pull it off!
5. Try to get local food vendors to participate to provide snacks and beverages. Ask if they would be willing to donate a portion of all sales to your group!
6. To make additional money for your group – you can charge a fee for entrance to the event – maybe $10 or $20 a ticket, sell custom t-shirts made just for the event with all the entrants names and sponsors on it or even ask the artists if they would like to sell their CD’s or products where a portion gets donated.Success Story: Over 12K raised for the Chicago Fire Department with their Rock the Badges battle of the bands event!
Board Game / Chess Tournament
Another low cost event that can be fun and build a sense of community! A board game or chess tournament is a fun way to get people together for a great cause and to raise money!
- Have teams or individuals sign up to participate and charge a flat fee to be a part of the tournament or charge a fee per game
- Be sure to have adult games as well as kid games so they can take part too!
- Have a time limit for each game to keep things running smoothly.
- Find a location – preferably a location that will offer their space at no cost.
- Have a bake sale in conjunction with this event for an additional revenue stream.
- Have sponsors offer prizes to the tournament winners.
- You can also offer raffles for other donated prizes as well.
Raise money with a Bowl-A-Thon! This is a another fun family based event that can become a great fundraiser for any rescue, especially if done on a yearly basis which will allow it to grow. Click the link to see an example of a Bowl-A-Thon that in its 9th year raised over $45K!
Coins For Critters
Probably one of the easiest fundraisers you can possibly do! Coins for Critters asks community members to drive by and drop off change that is hanging around the house at a special location. Grab a popup tent, a chair and an adoptable pet or 2 and hang outside while community members brig you their change. With the recent change shortage – this is a win all around!
See how 1 shelter raised $3,000 with this event!
Have some cooking fanatics in your town? Organize a cook-off! Let amateur or professional chefs use their skills for the good of the animals and let them prepare their favorite foods. The community can get involved by being taste testers, they can then donate an amount to the chef with the best food. The chef with the most donations at the end of the event is the winner – and of course the rescue wins with the donations it receives.
Comic Cure is a comedy show that partners with organizations to raise funds. They have worked with over 200 organizations and offer both in-person and online comedy shows. They consider themselves a social for-profit company and have been hosting shows since 2015. This is a great option to really lift up your supporters. Visit comicure.com for more details.
Get your volunteers out there! Auction them off for a “date” with the highest bidder! Dates with local celebrities can be a gold for donations! Spread the word by asking local community members if they would be willing to be “auctioned” off and if they can help spread the word. This is the perfect fundraiser idea that will be sure to be a social media hit!
Dog House Competition
Get your local building community (or even hobbyists) excited and have a custom dog house design+build competition! This is a great add-on to an annual event you may host as you can have the dog houses there in person to allow attendees to bid on them. You can even host a special event around this competition as fun creative event! Alternatively, you can host it online and allow bidding to take place right online if in person is not an option. Design For Dogs is a website that hosts an event annually around this concept!
Because no one likes a stinky dog – there are Dog Wash Fundraisers – they leave your dog squeaky clean and give your rescue a much needed donation boost.
To keep costs down you can ask local groomers or dog spas if they can offer their services at no charge or a discounted rate for your event. It is important to find out too if your volunteers can take part in the grooming though! The point of this is to team build, so you want to make sure the groomer does allow you access to what you need to make these dogs look their best!
If you cannot find a groomer to work with you, that is OK! You can find a public location and bring your own supplies to make this work. Just be sure to check the rules where you plan on having it.
This is a great start to what can be a big day for your event! Think about having a few vendors there so while people are waiting for their turn they have items to look at – you can either charge the vendors a flat rate to take part or take a percentage of sales. You can also combine a bake sale or raffle as well!
Whether you choose a mini-golf or regular golf tournament, this is a fun event that can have a great impact on your organizations fundraising goals. Although a little more lead time is needed to get it ready – the reward can be worth the efforts and you can rest assured everyone will have an amazing time. A fund day out at the golf course all in the name of animals is a relaxing way to raise money and get your supporters together for a fund day in the sun.
A tip to keep costs down for renting a course for the day would be to keep the event to an off-season time when they have less demand, so possibly early or late winter may be the most affordable.
Be sure to ask local businesses for donations or sponsorships too!
Paw Print Posies
This idea was originally done by a woman named Rosemary who we could not find a website for! We have seen this idea in social media and thought it was a must add to our list on how to raise money to help more animals!
You can either host a specific event around this or have it be a part of another event. Find a local artist who would be willing to donate their time and split any earnings with your group.
The concept of this fundraiser is to charge a fee for a painting that is done onsite. Pet owners would dip their pets paws in nontoxic paint to create the paw prints and then the artist would add in the flowers.
It would be an additional way to earn funds if you can get a local store to donate some frames and/or mats as well!
This works best in towns where there is a local celebrity so to speak as it makes fans want to get involved and take part in the drama! Everyone loves getting involved with celebrities – whether big or small so you should capitalize on that!
“Arrest” a local celebrity – maybe a favorite athlete, DJ or even a school principal and throw them behind bars! In order for this person to “get out of jail” the community must band together to raise the bond – which then is donated to the group organizing the jail break!
This could be a super fun way to not only raise funds, but build a sense of community and loyalty to your group. This is definitely a great press opportunity as well.
Raise The Woof
Raise the Woof offers a funny and inspiring way to raise funds! They offer a comedy event and work specifically with animal shelters and rescues to do fundraising events. Comedian, James Uloth has raised over $800,000 fro various charities and has over 10 years of experience. When working in animal rescue – who doesn’t need a good laugh?
Planet Green Recycle Fundraiser
Planet Green Recycle offers your organization the chance to earn money while doing good for the world! Ask everyone in your community to collect empty inkjet cartridges, old cellphones and other small gadgets and send them to Planet Green and you will receive compensation. With your unique link you can start a fundraiser – and also ask supporters to buy remanufactured inkjet cartridges and you get a portion of every sale.
Rubber Duck Races
Yes, really – rubber duck races just scream family fun and kids LOVE them – and are one of the most fun ways to raise money! Oh, parents usually have fun too, but they probably won’t admit it — so take advantage of this opportunity to create fun event that the whole family can enjoy and will allow you to raise funds in a really fun way.
This is an event that can either be the focal point or an addition to another event like a dog walk. Ducks can be sold for a set amount (I know I have paid $10 in one we participate in locally). The family buys a duck (or several), you provide the buyer the number of their duck as written on the bottom of the duck (make sure you use waterproof pens!) — and you can also put their name and duck number on a list as well ensuring it is tracked properly.
- The ducks are available online for a very low cost – or see if you can have a sponsor purchase them for your group.
- It is best to put the numbers on the top of the ducks where everyone can see them – watch the families on the sideline squeal and scream for their duck to win!
- This race is best done in a creek or lake for the most fun and excitement – but if those are not an option a pool can also be used as long as you can create a current for the ducks to move.
- Set a certain amount of winners – 1st place, 2nd place etc and the first duck to cross the line wins!
- Make sure permits are applied for if you are doing this event in a park!
- Find local sponsors who are willing to donate prizes to the winners. The better the prizes, the more ducks you can sell and the bigger social media sharing you can get!
- Is there a local celebrity who can emcee the event?
- A v-shaped finish line may work best as it will designate a clear winner. Be sure to have staff at the finish line to pull the ducks in the order they finish so it is clear who won!
- Additional opportunities to raise money include raffling off prizes donated by businesses, sell food and drinks or even advertising!
A shoe collection drive can help raise funds based on the weight of the shoes collected. Read this article about how Saving Grace Animal Rescue successfully raised about $1,800 with their shoe drive. Funds2orgs is a group that can help rescues run their shoe campaigns.
Spirit Tasting Event
People love fine spirits and by offering a spirit showcase you can not only build a great sense of community and gain new support for your rescue – but you have an opportunity to raise a lot of money! Work with local distilleries to create the event and invite more national brands to take part as well. This will be a win win for both the animal group and the brands that attend. Another additional opportunity is to reach out to local restaurants to take part so they can showcase their brands as well.
Guests will pay a fee to attend the event which will allow them access to all of the find foods and spirits that are presented!
Although the work to create an event of this nature is large – the results can be substantial in terms of new supporters as well as money raised.Success Story: Over 58K raised for the Animal Rescue League of New Hampshire with a spirit tasting event!
Teach A Class / Workshop
Most rescues are filled with volunteers that have unique skills! Tap into your group and see what special talents your volunteers may have that you can use to host a class or workshop. Maybe there is a skilled photographer or a painter that can talk about their craft and teach others.
A web designer can help teach people basic computer skills – the options are limitless. See if your shelter or local library can offer some space and charge a nominal fee for attendance.
Tits For Pits
We know some may be offended, but this event was one of the biggest fundraisers for the Baltimore Bully Crew for many years and we thought it should be added to the list as an option. You can change the name of course, but the event concept would stay the same. Get a local bar or men’s club on board to offer some space and a portion of all sales and you have a great way to raise a lot of money while having a good time.
Triathlon Fundraiser (No Athletes Required!)
This fun take on a triathlon takes place in an arcade of local fun spot that has a variety of activities like skee-ball, bowling, arcade games and more. Create teams allowing each team to raise funds and earn points for great prizes that you can get from local sponsors. The case study we are profiling raised $57,000 in 2019 with this type of event so done right, this could be a great annual fundraiser that builds a sense of community with your supporters and can result in a great amount of donations to help the animals in your care.
If you live within distance from a vineyard, then try a wine auction! Secure donations that are relevant to the wine lover and enjoy a great day of wine tasting and creating connections with fellow animal lovers. In 2014, Jameson Rescue Ranch raised over $400K with their Wine-A-Palooza event.
With the latest trend in health and wellness – this is an event that is sure to be a hit – and a true fundraising success story.
Work with your favorite local establishment that can host the event – and make sure it is big enough to house a generous number of yoga participants. Then you need to find an instructor who can teach the class. Of course the hope is that you can work with a facility and yoga instructor that can donate their time in return for cross-promotion of the event!
Not only will you charge a fee for the event – but you can also bring in a few well mannered pups – or kitties – looking for homes! There is nothing better than doing a downward dog – with well, a downward dog!
You may be able to work with a “coordinator” to handle everything for you too! We recently interviewed the owner of Doggy Noses & Yoga Poses who is finding great success in working with rescues to plan and host these events on their behalf!