It’s April, which means it’s National Pet Month! The awareness campaign aims to promote responsible pet ownership from 1 April to 6 May, bringing together pet owners, pet-related businesses, schools, and other charities.
There’s a lot of pet-lovers out there, as you know. According to a “PAW Report”, nearly half of adults in the UK own a pet. Together, we have an estimated 11 million pet cats and about 9 million pet dogs (cat lovers, you win)! Now is a great time to leverage the popularity of pets to spread your charity’s own message and help raise critical funds. In this post, we look at seven creative ways your animal rescue or charity can take your fundraising efforts to the next level this April or any time.
Host a Fundraising Challenge
People love their pets, so why not look for fundraising events in which our furry friends can play a part? Many charities host short walks and runs in which participants can bring a dog (or two) with them.
The Great British Dog Walk, for example, raises funds for Hearing Dogs for Deaf People to help improve the lives of deaf people. One takeaway from this successful challenge is to offer a range of activities and items for participants, both two-legged and four. The Great British Dog Walk includes activities like meeting a hearing dog, watching a dog agility show and snacking on tea and cake (for the humans).
Not only are dog-friendly walks good for people with pets, but they’re also a fabulous outing for those who can’t keep pets, as they can come out to support a good cause while interacting with a variety of animals. For animal shelters and rescues, these charitable walks are also a great opportunity to socialise and showcase adoptable animals and help educate the public.
Does your organization work with animals that may not be easy or available for adoption, such as birds or wildlife? Another tip is to offer your supporters an easy way to “adopt” an animal through donations and sponsorships. It’s a great way to offset costs like space, food, and veterinary care while forging a closer relationship with your supporters.
One great example is the Donkey Sanctuary’s Adopt a Donkey program. Supporters get to choose an actual donkey, based on location or personality. Their donations help the charity buy food, medicine and pay for medical care and training.
Animal Tip: Plan to give a special low-cost but high-value thank you to your “adopters”! The Donkey Sanctuary gives out a special adoption pack that includes two portraits of the donkey along with a display frame, postcards, adoption certification and membership card.
Merchandise for Animals (and the People Who Love Them)
Selling merchandise at events or online is a tried-and-true way to boost your fundraising efforts with pet lovers. Consider creating pet-friendly merchandise to appeal to your supporters and their furry friends (think dog or cat toys and clothing).
For example, the Greyhound Trust offers a wide-range of merchandise on their website, including greyhound food, treats, and bowls as well as clothing and collars, like this timeless, high-density nylon collar that features a quirky “Bucklebone” for quick release and easier fitting. The Trust sells this on its website in a variety of colours and sizes for £8.
You might also consider pet-themed merchandise, to appeal to the animal lovers who don’t own pets. The Greyhound Trust sells a line of “human wear” and the Great British Dog Walk offers special pet-themed merchandise, like tote bags, ties, zip purses, keyrings and badges.
Host a Gala
Why not let our furry friends be an excuse to get fancy? Consider hosting a gala or ball to elicit larger donations, while also spreading your timely message through press and media. Consider styling your event after other successful galas, such as Battersea’s annual Collars & Coats gala. This black-tie event has raised more than £2 million to date for the more than 7,000 dogs and cats that it cares for every year.
Animal Tip: While a gala requires advance planning and preparation, the payout can be significant as you’re likely to get larger donations from ticket sales and other activities like auctions or raffles.
Charity Wedding Favours
Another strategy is to offer your supporters a charitable version of popular wedding items like place cards, wedding favours, gift bags and donation boxes. Doing so helps your supporters plan a meaningful wedding, while at the same time raising money for and spreading the message of your animal charity.
The RSPCA, for example, offers a set of cute pin badges that appeal to animal lovers young and old and make for great wedding favours. If you already have great merchandise, you might just need to change how you promote or package your existing product, for a wedding audience.
Animal Tip: Now is the perfect time to consider a wedding favour campaign for your animal charity – wedding season is right around the corner! At Rocket Charities, we can help you design and produce the perfect products to promote your animal charity, in plenty of time before your supporters start saying their “I do’s”!
Dedicate a Month to your Cause
Another idea is to make a month of it. Consider launching your own awareness month to spread your message, reach new supporters and raise vital funds for your animal charity or rescue organization. You can do this in any month – it doesn’t have to overlap with National Pet Month.
Dogs for Good, for example, launched a month of fundraising with its “Dogtober” campaign in October. Remember to make it as easy as possible for your supporters to participate through free, ready-to-use fundraising packs.
Last but not least, turn to the big dogs: corporates! Consider forging a partnership with a company that is passionate about your charity’s mission. This can be a highly successful strategy to reach more supporters than ever before – the corporate will benefit, too, through meaningful impact and positive public relations. Guide Dogs, for example, has had tremendous success with corporate partnerships, including ongoing campaigns with Toyota.
No matter how you raise funds this year, keep your long-term goals in mind. For example, animal sponsorship campaigns are an effective tool to stay in touch with your supporters over the long term. There’s probably no shortage of cute, compelling photos to share every month, and the periodic communication keeps your charity top of mind to ensure repeat and long-term donations. And the right corporate relationship, like Guide Dogs and Toyota, may lead to many successful shared campaigns, year after year.
How else do you plan to honor #NationalPetMonth to promote your charity or rescue? Whether you’re gearing up for a big campaign this April or seeking longer-term strategies to raise funds, please get in touch with us for more tips.
We’d love to help you help our animals – as animal lovers ourselves, this is something we can all get behind! Get in touch with us today!