Animal lovers and animal shelters can help raise money by organizing food-related fundraisers. Families, neighborhoods, church groups, or school groups can coordinate these activities to help homeless pets in their communities. Instead of asking attendees to pay to attend the events below, they could be asked to bring a specified amount of pet food (ask the local shelter for the brand and type of food they need). Could you organize one of these activities for your community?
Offer cooking classes on behalf of the local shelter. If your area has a gourmet or cookware shop that offers cooking classes or restaurant chefs who offer cooking classes, ask them to offer classes with the proceeds going to the animal shelter. You could also sponsor a class in cooperation with your local farmers’ market using produce from the market.
Publish a cookbook with proceeds going to the local shelter. Ask locals to submit their favorite recipes. Also, ask local restaurants and bed and breakfasts to submit recipes of their signature dishes. In addition to food photos, include in the cookbook photos and stories of adopted pets and comments by their new owners. Many companies offer self-publishing services for cookbooks; do a search and you’ll see many options. The beauty of this fundraising technique is that once the cookbook is published, it can be sold on the shelter’s website, at local art events, at pet adoption events, etc. for an indefinite time. Think of ways to include kids and families in your selling effort.
Judge the “best recipes.” Sponsor a recipe contest and tasting as part of an adoption event, a community art event, a dog walk or run, etc. Think of food items appropriate for your area. Here in New Mexico salsa or tamales are good choices. Think of food items popular in your area or coordinate the contest with in-season produce or fruit. The best cherry pie, peach cobbler, etc. will attract a lot of tasters to vote for their favorites. Ask each taster to pay a fee (or bring pet food) with the revenue going to the shelter. Post the winning recipes on the shelter’s and local newspapers’ websites.
Ask restaurants to compete for the “best of.” Ask local restaurants to prepare their best soup, their most requested dessert, their best chocolate concoction, etc. A nonprofit here in Santa Fe (Open Hands) is sponsoring “the ultimate chocolate challenge” at a local resort. The tickets are $100 each and include champagne, a silent auction, hors d’oeuvres, and music by a harp ensemble. You could produce a similar but scaled-down event with chocolate desserts, favorite hors d’oeuvres, best barbecue, etc.
Team up with restaurants to sponsor dinners for your shelter. You can approach this in a variety of ways. A restaurant can donate a percentage of revenue on certain evenings to the restaurant. Or, ask a restaurant, resort, or hotel in your area to sponsor a three-course wine dinner and charge $75 or more per person. Ask local wine distributors, grocery stores, and restaurant to donate their products to the dinner so that most of the revenue goes to the shelter. A twist on this idea would be to coordinate the dinner using local organic produce in season.
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