Tapping into holidays is a great way to promote your shelter or rescue – and bringing on the creativity can make all the difference in making your fundraiser a success! Valentine’s Day is one of the best holidays to be creative because it focuses on love and relationships – and who is more loving and better at relationships than dogs and cats?
So if you are trying to play matchmaker this Valentine’s Day for the homeless pets in your care – here are some great Valentine’s Day rescue ideas done by other rescues to help you get you started on your journey to making the best matches and raising funds!
Please remember, these ideas are meant to inspire – we do not recommend “copying” these ideas. Please reach out to the organization that created the initial fundraiser to get approval to use their idea before implementing for your own group. It is the polite thing to do!
Who’s Your Doggy?
This is a super cute Valentine’s Day idea for dog rescues put on by Brooklyn Animal Rescue. The event was touted as a pup and people happy hour and offered snacks, prizes, treats and even doggy blind dates.
Valentine’s day cards are a huge industry with estimates as much as $1 billion dollars being spent every year just on cards! Now, imagine if you got even a tiny little bit of that — oh and help save trees while you are getting that money!
If you have a volunteer or a local designer who has mad skills – ask them to create some Valentine’s e-cards that you can promote online.
World Wildlife Fund has a great page dedicated to Valentine’s e-cards where you can send one for free – just to build awareness for what they do or you can send one with a donation letting the recipient know you donated with their card. Here is an example of an e-card page with the option to write a custom note and make a donation.
Northeast Animal Shelter also has a cute collection that they allow visitors to send for free.
Lonely Hearts Adoption Party
A creative idea by the San Francisco SPCA! The Lonely Hearts Adoption Party focuses on the creation of a romantic night to celebrate the love that Valentine’s Day is known for. The event was a kickoff to a 3-day fee-waived adoption promotion to help lonely people to find their perfect “match”.
The event featured light snacks, wine and of course adoptable animals!
They also prepared a list of fun events for everyone to enjoy including:
- Cat cuddle time
- Cat scavenger hunt
- Dog scavenger hunt
- Animal art
- Ask a Vet tech booth
- Cat video wall….and more!
There was no fee to attend the event, but RSVP’ing was required.
Pooch Smooch Contest
The Humane Society – Pike Peaks Region in Colorado Springs hosts an event called the Pooch Smooch contest. The event takes place at a dog friendly location called Pub Dog where the matchmaking begins with a kissing contest. They bring in an adoptable dog who will be the “Master of Ceremonies” for the kissing contest – and the best kisser will win a prize and of course barking rights!
They also ran a great promotion with a Smooch A Pooch and Cat Cuddle sale a few years ago that we love where they reduced their adoption rates to celebrate Valentine’s Day to $14.
And the flier – well it is pretty darn cute and makes us want to run out and adopt a dog and a cat!
With Valentine’s Day being one of the biggest days for flowers being sent – it is a great way to take advantage of this revenue stream. There are a few great online stores that offer affiliate programs and rescues an opportunity to make money.
In our own non-profit organization Jersey Animal Welfare Society we worked together to come up with Flowers From Fido, a campaign that focuses on sending flowers FROM your pets.
What better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than to send flowers to a loving pet owner from their pet and be able to earn money at the same time. Your organization can sign-up for an affiliate program with any floral company and promote that online to earn a great commission on every sale!
Some floral affiliate programs that your rescue can participate in include:
- Florist One
- From You Flowers
- 800 Florals
- Blossom Flowers
Another great idea is to partner up with a local florist in your area that will work with you on creating a personal fundraiser for Valentine’s Day – or any other holiday where flowers are prominent.
Flowers for Dreams is a great example of a local florist doing good. They have a few locations – amazing floral arrangements and give back! Last year they supported Alive Rescue with a flower fundraiser where for every bouquet sent a portion was donated to the rescue.
She Said Yes – A Doggie Wedding!
KC Pet Project came up with an incredible fundraiser call “Happily Ever After”.
It happens every day – dogs and cats falling in love at shelters and rescues all over the world, so why not celebrate that love as a fundraiser……a wedding fundraiser.
This fundraiser was incredibly well done – they had even created a mini-site to talk about the love story of Grace and Charlie and allowed those who wanted to attend the wedding to RSVP. The addition of a wedding registry is just brilliant as well allowing those who maybe cannot attend the grand event to at least send some “wedding gifts” to the shelter.
We love this event because of the creativity and uniqueness and the fact that it can really be used for any animal rescue! Guinea pigs, rabbits, cats – they all fall in love and a wedding is a fun way to engage your supporters and make people smile!
Seal It With A Hiss!
What a fun and creative way to embrace Valentine’s Day!
The Bronx Zoo has an uber creative fundraiser focused on roaches – yeah, what do roaches have with Valentine’s Day, that is what we said.
Their website is filled with cockroach related products you can send but what we love the most is the “Name a Madagascar Hissing Cockroach” opportunity.
For a small fee you can have a cockroach named after one you love – or one you do not love and they will receive a digital certificate letting them know of the honor.
This fundraiser can be used to get back at the roach in your life – whether a current love or a an ex, this is a fun way to share your thoughts.
This program has been running since 2011, so it is clearly working!
Because dogs and cats should not be alone on Valentine’s Day, we bring you “Shelter Speed Dating”!
You can do this at your shelter or in a more “romantic” location like a local animal friendly restaurant where you can turn this into an even bigger fundraiser!
This idea comes from the team at Picture Me At Home and we love everything about this.
Bring in extra volunteers to serve as escorts and let prospective adoptees have 5 minutes with a few different animals to see if there is a “spark”!
Bring in some snacks and you have a full fledged fundraising experience with a great opportunity to get animals placed with their forever families. We cannot imagine a better Valentine’s Day!