Pet Adoption Group Fundraisers – Event Planning
Pet adoption groups across the country work so hard every day to make sure there’s enough kibble to go around, foster parents to take in another puppy or stray cat, and veterinarians in their community willing to donate their services for another spay or neuter.
At Healthy Paws, we know how much work it takes for adoption groups and shelters to save dogs and cats every day (a lot of us have worked at or with adoption groups ourselves). So, through our Foundation, we focus on making communications and marketing easier for these groups. By working together, we can develop stronger adoption communities that save more lives!
Think of fundraisers as a win all around! People like to get involved in events that help others and worthy causes benefit! In order to make a fundraising event that much easier to pull together, here are our top 7 fundraising event tips for pet adoption groups:
- Bake sale or gala dinner? Decide on the type of event you’d like to host. If this is your first one, make it simple. A smaller event where everyone has a lot of fun and donates can quickly turn into an annual event that grows each year. Smaller event examples are bake sales, carwashes, pancake breakfasts or charitable happy hours. If you’ve done a few of those and want to take on a bigger challenge, hold an auction, a casino night or a run/walk.
- Set a date. Pick a date that’s at least a couple weeks away (give yourself at least two weeks for a car wash-like event or about six weeks or longer for a larger event) and, if you can, plan around a local or national holiday. You may want to organize your event in coordination with a local Earth Day fair next month or in June to promote Adopt-A-Shelter-Cat month if you’re focused on making sure more local cats find homes.
- Have money to make money. Outline a budget so you can make sure your costs are either largely donated (i.e., the carwash lets you use its soap and water) or drastically reduced (i.e., the restaurant offers its services at a nonprofit discount), so you can actually focus on raising funds for your adoption group! Use your network of friends, local businesses, and creative folks to sponsor or donate different parts of the event. Provide each donor with a simple letter describing their gift/donation, the cash value and tax-deductible info. Let them know they will be thanked publicly and recommended by your pet adoption group. For larger events, make sure any per person ticket prices include profit.
- Location, location, location. Once you’ve figured out the size of your event, network within your community to see which town halls, galleries, restaurants, bars, hotels, carwashes or schools could work for your event. Book the venue as far in advance as possible, and ask for a non-profit discount. When negotiating a discount or donation of the venue, make sure to note how many people you expect to attend and who will now associate that venue with “feel good” causes and may become regulars!
- Create a network and doable deadlines. Make a list of all the jobs that need to be done to pull this event of successfully, and then assign deadlines and names. Enlist the help of friends, peers, and community leaders who love your pet adoption group. A good “event committee” will help you delegate tasks, save time, solicit donations, and bring more people to the event! Set up a regular meeting schedule and organizational spreadsheet to make sure deadlines are met and crises are averted.
- Get a shiny object. Reach out to a local celebrity or Very Important Person that has a love of animals, and ask them to speak at your event or just attend. They’ll help draw people to your event through their own networks and may be able to think of better ways to promote it through local news, radio or magazines.
- “Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your ears.” Tell absolutely everyone you know about your event, early and often. Let them know how they can attend the event or how they can donate through you, in case they can’t make it! Early donations can help cover any costs for the event ahead of time. Either before or during the event, ask people for their email addresses so you can send them a thank you for their donation and keep them updated on the activities of your adoption group! Invite reporters and photographers (or just friends who have cameras) to your event. If your local newspaper doesn’t write a story, you can still post fun photos to your website, Facebook page or year-end donation newsletter!
After the event, follow up. Always follow up. Thank people for their attendance, donation, and interest in the great work of your pet adoption group. This reminds people of their good deed and may make them interested in learning more about and further supporting your adoption group.
In the interest of promoting great adoption group events that are coming up, Agape Animal Rescue in Nashville, TN is looking forward to their incredibly fun and fanciful event for pets and pet parents this summer. On July 17, Kacy Hagerty from WSMV’s “Better Nashville” will be hosting their third annual “Glitter & Glam: A Wine Tasting and Fashion Show for the Animals” fashion show at the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel. From 5-8pm that night, the fashion show will feature doggie couture from Linda Higgins, dog treats by Come Sit Stay, and canine models strutting their stuff down the runway. We hope that those of you in the Nashville area can attend the event – just remember to buy those tickets!
Good luck planning (FUN) fundraising events! And let me know if you have any great tips I’ve left off the list…