As a pet care business owner, it’s no secret that you care deeply about animals. You’ve dedicated your professional life to ensuring that dogs and cats are safe, cared for, well-groomed, or effectively trained.
But taking care of the pets in your facility is a small piece of the puzzle. What if you want to make a difference for animals in a bigger way? There are cats and dogs across the country who are being neglected, abandoned, abused, or otherwise uncared for, and they deserve attention too.
It’s possible to leverage the buzz around your pet business and turn it into support for animal-related nonprofits. Whether you want to give back to a local shelter or a national organization, any of these groups could use your financial support.
However, this doesn’t mean you need to make a major donation on your own. There are plenty of ways to generate funds for rescue groups and other animal welfare organizations without writing a check!
Consider the following ways to use your pet care business for fundraising:
- Start a crowdfunding campaign.
- Launch a #GivingTuesday fundraiser.
- Start a matching gift program.
- Organize a dog walk.
- Create a “sponsor a pet” program for a local shelter.
- Donate in-kind services to local animal-focused organizations.
- Ask your employees for ideas.
- Run a pet calendar sale.
- Donate a percentage of sales.
By mobilizing your community through social media and the communication tools in your kennel software, you’ll be able to provide financial support to in-need organizations. With the help of your business and your customers, the groups you support will be better equipped to improve the lives of animals.
1. Start a crowdfunding campaign.
In a crowdfunding campaign, an organization collects small donations from a wide audience, usually leveraging the power of social media.
To do this as a business, you can choose a nonprofit to support, create a donation page on their behalf (with plenty of information about the organization’s mission), then share the campaign with your customers and followers.
This kind of campaign works especially well if you can tie it to a concrete outcome with a specific fundraising goal. For example, consider the following scenarios:
- A nearby animal shelter needs to raise money for a new wing of their facility to meet a rising demand for space
- A rescue group needs funding to pay for vaccinations for a new litter of kittens
- One of your customers or someone else you know can’t afford an expensive surgery procedure for their beloved pet
Having a specific problem to solve will help potential donors feel more connected to the cause.
You’ve likely seen (and maybe even donated to) a crowdfunding campaign before, so this could be a good opportunity for a role reversal. You may even be able to turn some of your clients into lifelong donors to the shelter you support. Plus, crowdfunding is growing in popularity and success. In fact, the global market for crowdfunding is expected to triple in size by 2025!
If you aren’t willing to launch a crowdfunding campaign yourself, consider donating products or gift cards to assist an existing campaign. Often, higher-level donations get prizes as incentives to donate, and you could provide some of these prizes.
2. Launch a #GivingTuesday fundraiser.
With the end of the year rapidly approaching, now is a great opportunity to explore a #GivingTuesday fundraiser for an animal-based organization. Like many of the others on this list, this kind of fundraiser can be completely virtual.
Giving Tuesday is a global day of giving that occurs each year on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. It’s become a recognized, highly-anticipated, and successful annual event that capitalizes on the year-end giving spirit.
According to the DNL OmniMedia guide to year-end fundraising, this season of giving accounts for 30% of annual fundraising. Giving Tuesday is considered the kickoff for this very profitable season.
If you (like most business owners) are new to nonprofit fundraising, Giving Tuesday can be a good way to dip your toes into the water since there’s already a general structure in place. The national organization behind Giving Tuesday even offers logos, photos, and sample social media posts to help inspire your own campaign.
Again, if you aren’t ready to launch your own campaign, you can share an existing Giving Tuesday fundraiser with your customers. This extra publicity will help expand the campaign’s reach and can make a big difference in reaching its fundraising goal.
3. Start a matching gift program.
If you’re looking for a way to incorporate corporate responsibility into your existing pet business plan, consider starting a matching gift program for your employees.
With this kind of program, your business will match contributions from employees to eligible nonprofit organizations. You may choose to match gifts to any kind of nonprofit or focus your efforts on animal welfare groups to ensure you’re creating the desired impact. This provides extra revenue for the nonprofit and can also encourage your employees to make more or more substantial donations.
According to this guide to corporate philanthropy, matching gift programs have huge benefits for both companies and nonprofits. Of course, nonprofits get the obvious perk of critical funding for their work. But as a business owner, you can enjoy the following benefits:
- Positive reputation in the community
- Stronger relationships with customers
- Increased employee engagement
- Stronger workplace culture
If you choose to start one of these programs, make sure your employees are well-informed about the opportunity. Millions of dollars in matching gift revenue go unclaimed each year because employees aren’t aware of their eligibility. If you’re going to make the effort to provide matching gifts, you want your employees (and the benefiting nonprofits) to actually use it.
4. Organize a dog walk.
You’ve probably heard about walk-a-thon fundraisers. With this kind of fundraiser, participants walk a certain distance for a good cause. The main difference with a dog walk is self-explanatory: you get the furry friends involved, too!
While a walk-a-thon is often a peer-to-peer fundraising opportunity where participants collect pledge donations for each mile walked, you can also make it a more low-lift event by charging a registration fee to participants. Or, you can host the walk alongside one of the other ideas on this list, like a crowdfunding campaign.
You can even do a dog walk as an online fundraiser. In this case, participants and their pets complete the walk in a location of their choosing, track their progress with a fitness tracker or smartphone, and then report back to the rest of the group. If you do go virtual, don’t forget to encourage participants to share photos of their pets during and after the walk. Everyone loves a picture of a tuckered-out pup!
5. Create a “sponsor a pet” program for a local shelter.
While your customers are likely all animal lovers, they may not currently have the capacity to adopt another pet in need. However, just because they don’t have room in their homes doesn’t mean they don’t have room in their hearts!
In a “sponsor a pet” program, you encourage supporters to make a recurring monthly donation to a local shelter. This donation is meant to fill the needs of a single homeless pet, including food, shelter, medical procedures, or vaccinations.
The donor provides ongoing support for the pet until the shelter is able to find it a forever home. This one-on-one bond creates a meaningful experience for each donor, which is why it’s such an effective fundraising strategy.
This works best if you have a strong relationship with a local animal shelter or rescue group. You want your customers to know their recurring gift is going to a good cause, and they will also likely want ongoing updates (and pictures!) on how their sponsored pet is doing.
6. Make in-kind donations to local animal-focused organizations.
The shelters and other animal-focused groups you want to support are probably also running fundraisers of their own. So, instead of reinventing the wheel, you can use the resources you have available to make their efforts more successful.
One easy way to do this is by donating in-kind goods and services for the nonprofit to use as needed.
If you donate high-value, pet-centric items, animal nonprofit organizations may be able to use them in one of the following ways:
- Items for a silent, live, or online auction
- Prize for a raffle
- Incentive items for a crowdfunding campaign
- Prize for a contest like a pet costume competition
If you run a dog daycare or kennel, consider donating a package credit, a free booking, or a substantial discount code. If your business uses online dog daycare software like from Revelation Pets, it will be simple to transfer package credits without having to worry about an in-person drop-off of a certificate. Or, you could donate gift cards for your grooming services or training school, depending on the nature of your pet business.
Finally, while these ideas are on a smaller scale, you could also consider donating leftover food, gently used toys, or lost and found items for the shelter to use.
7. Ask your employees for ideas.
You already know your employees are passionate about animals, and many also likely have a strong connection to animal welfare nonprofits. Asking employees for fundraising ideas is an effective way to engage them in opportunities that help them feel more fulfilled and connected to the local community.
360MatchPro recommends leveraging employee engagement software like employee experience software to create surveys and gather ideas from employees. With the help of this type of software, you can create a survey that asks employees questions like:
- What nonprofit organizations are you most passionate about?
- What types of fundraisers would you like to see our business participate in?
- What level of involvement would you like to have in our fundraising initiatives? (e.g., volunteering at events, donating, no involvement, etc.)
When you launch fundraisers that employees are actually excited about, they’ll be much more likely to get involved and help drive your initiatives to success. Plus, 71% of surveyed employees say it is imperative to work where company culture supports giving and volunteering. By engaging employees directly in your charitable efforts, they’ll feel the sense of fulfillment that comes with doing a good deed.
8. Run a pet calendar sale.
When it comes to calendars, pets are one of the most popular themes, and for good reason. Who wouldn’t want to see an adorable animal each month?
Gather some photos of pets in your area to build a pet calendar. The pets can either be your business’s clients or adoptable animals from a local animal shelter.
Print and sell your calendars online or from your business’s storefront. Make it clear that all sales will benefit a nonprofit organization and provide some information about what the organization does.
9. Donate a percentage of sales.
In a percentage fundraiser, your business will donate a percentage of all sales in a specified time period to a nonprofit. For example, you could donate 5% of all sales made during a three-day weekend event.
This is a simple way to incorporate fundraising into your business’s regular activities. Promote your percentage fundraiser ahead of time to encourage charitably-minded customers to visit your store while the fundraiser is happening.
Just because your pet business is a for-profit company does not mean you can’t invest in the community. Corporate social responsibility is on the rise, and with consumers caring more and more about businesses that align with their values, there has never been a better time to give back. With these fundraising ideas, you can join the trend, build a strong reputation for your business, and help support animals in your community or nationwide. Good luck!
This was a guest post contributed by Revelation Pets.