Teaming up with other nonprofits to raise funds is a good way to reach more donors, gain more awareness of your local shelter, share the effort and of course, share the proceeds.
Working with other groups often requires advance planning of several months or even a year.
A good place to get ideas is by reading the weekend guide in your local newspaper as well as taking note of newspaper and TV ads. Do this throughout the year and keep a list of these possibilities. While the holiday season is in full swing, you’ll likely find a variety of fundraisers listed for each weekend in your community.
Following are some examples of holiday events that you’ll see repeated in many communities throughout our country. Could you get ideas from these? Set a goal to participate in at least one-holiday event next year. If you’re not able to join an event that’s already established, team up with other groups to start one.
Benefit from Others’ Creativity at Art Shows
Art shows are held all year, but those advertised as Christmas shopping opportunities get a lot of publicity and visitors. Many benefit nonprofits.
An example of a large event in our area is the Weems International Artfest in Albuquerque. This is a 3-day annual juried art show held in mid-November and advertised as one of the first-holiday shopping events. This show benefits about fifteen organizations including several animal rescue groups (Greyhound Companions, Hawks Aloft, Great Dane Rescue, etc.). Thirty-three pets were adopted this year.
Information concerning next year’s show has already been published.
Decorate a Tree at the Festival of Trees
Many communities have an event called the “festival of trees” or something similar in which several trees are decorated in their own unique way. You can develop your own version of this to raise funds.
The no-kill shelter Operation Kindness in Carrollton, TX was our adopted cat Sam’s home before he chose me. That shelter participates in a festival of trees event called Deck the Halls in Dallas.
Eighteen nonprofit organizations, including Susan G. Komen for the Cure and Habitat for Humanity, decorate fir trees. Visitors vote for the best tree decoration by donating money in a box placed by that tree. The tree with the most money is voted “best tree” but all the groups receive donations. The event is held in a lovely old building called Old Red Museum.
An event like this could be organized fairly easily and lasts several days. Plus, it’s fun for families. Often these events have an opening night gala in which attendees buy tickets for dinner and dancing. Sometimes a silent auction is held to bid on each tree. Often the trees are donated to hospitals, schools, nursing homes, etc.
Take Your Message on Holiday Home Tours / Candlelight Tours
Home tours and /or candlelight tours of historic homes and churches are traditional holiday activities in many communities. Frequently these tours feature old-fashioned or natural decorations, holiday food items, crafts or art for sale, and carolers.
A gift market of non-commercial and tax-deductible gifts could be added to home tour events. Nonprofits benefiting a variety of causes could participate, including animal shelters. Have on hand a holiday card stating “Homeless pets in St Louis thank you for your donation” and include an envelope for easy mailing. Or, include photos of homeless pets in these cards with wording such as “My name is Sophie. I’m 6 years old and a 2 month resident of the St. Louis Animal Shelter. I’d rather have a forever home, but till then, thank you so much for your donation.”
If it’s not possible to have a shelter animal present, prepare large, attention-getting posters with photos of shelter pets and wording such as “My life depends on your donations. Please give me the gift of life this holiday season.”
Participate in Commercial Holiday Events at Malls or Hotels
Large hotels or shopping malls frequently have displays of holiday decorations that attract families as part of their holiday traditions. Be ready to accept donations for homeless pets and offer cards that shoppers can purchase on behalf of friends and family as donations to the shelter. Consider having a homeless pet(s) thereto attract attention.
Participate in Community Sponsored Events
What events are sponsored by your community? Think of ways to help homeless pets at these events. You may have an opportunity to have pets available for adoption, or at a minimum, a table for donations and gift/donor cards.
To stimulate shopping, many towns have festivals, tree lightings, strolling carolers, ice carvings, carriage rides, photos with Santa, live music, photos with Santa, craft-making for kids, carriage rides, toy train exhibits, or a Christmas parade. If they don’t, could you team up with other non-profits to establish an event for your community?
Whether you work at a shelter or would like to help homeless pets in your area, start planning for next year and think of ways to be involved in events that represent the traditions of your community.
Throughout the year, pay close attention to events in your area and think of ways you could participate.
You don’t have to be employed or volunteer at a shelter to do this. Do you personally know any of the organizers of local holiday events? Could you make some calls to include your local shelter? If you see an activity that fits your family’s interests, contact the shelter to express interest, and start planning!