Now is the time to start planning holiday events to help homeless pets. Following are some ways animal shelters, animal rescues, and animal lovers can find homes for these pets as well as raise funds. Think of ways you can reach families, kids, and singles in a variety of activities and events while you start traditions in your community and your own family.
Shelters and animal rescues can participate in established holiday community events. Find out what events your community has scheduled for the holiday season, including those sponsored by the city, churches, schools, other nonprofits, etc. Can you participate in these? Check the Chamber of Commerce website, local tourism information, school websites, newspaper calendar of upcoming events, etc., to research what events are planned.
Read the following articles on the Animal Shelter Tips website for ways to help homeless pets during the holidays:
Ten Ideas for Holiday Donations
Twenty Ways Kids Can Share the Holidays with Homeless Pets
Twelve Family Holiday Traditions That Help Homeless and Needy Pets
Fundraising Ideas: Plan Events with Other Nonprofits
Register for any special holiday adoption events. For example, Iams Home 4 the Holidays is holding its annual event from October 1, 2009, through January 4, 2010, with the goal of 1.5 million adoptions. This event gets a good bit of publicity and is free for shelters to join and participate. Check out the Q&A for details on how the program works.
Make your website “donation ready” for holiday giving. Many give donations to their local shelters “in honor of” or “in memory of” during the holiday season. Make sure your website can accept donations using a secure online transaction. Add the option to donate “in honor of” or “in memory of” as well as a comment line. Set up the form to accept the name and address of the person to be notified of the donation.
Help your website be found easily by search engines. I see many websites which show the title of the page as “falls county animal rescue” or “furry friends and critters” with no city and state indicated. Check the bar at the top of your browser to verify your website title includes your city and state as well as the name of your shelter or rescue group. This will help others who are not familiar with your shelter name find your website. Someone living in another state may want to donate to your shelter on behalf of a relative in your city but can’t find a shelter.
After Hurricane Katrina, we started sending holiday donations every year to an animal rescue group in New Orleans on behalf of families living there. I didn’t know the name of rescue groups there and found a group started after Katrina which does incredible work on behalf of the pets left homeless by that disaster.
Remind your community to donate during the holidays. Do this with ads in your local paper, on your website, in your print and email newsletters, flyers at your local veterinarians’ offices and pet food stores, etc. Many people donate to at least one nonprofit group during the holiday season. Make sure your group is a recipient of the holiday generosity.