Animal shelters and rescues are struggling financially due to the current recession. Creative fundraisers can help your favorite organization stand out among the many worthy groups currently vying for donors and funding. If you volunteer for a rescue group, consider offering to organize and/or host one of these unusual fundraisers. If you are an organized person who loves to throw a great party, you can save many pets’ lives by hosting a fundraiser for a worthy shelter. Here are some ideas.
This fundraiser works best for groups with a number of members or supporters in a small geographical area. A small-town shelter or neighborhood dog park, for example, could hold a flamingo flocking. Here’s how it works:
- Get a bunch of plastic flamingos, the tackier the better.
- Acquire a list of the group’s supporters’ addresses.
- Send out a notice along these lines: “Our neighborhood animal shelter is holding a Flamingo Flocking! As a member, we think you’ll love this fun way to help raise money to help homeless pets. If you won’t be home on (date) or don’t want to play, simply fill out the enclosed card and send it back. Members who do choose to play, be on the lookout for roving flamingo flocks on (date)!”
- On the chosen date, start by setting a gang of flamingos on the lawn of a supportive member–starting with someone who helped organize the game is a good idea. The member who has been flocked can make a donation to send the flamingos to another neighbor’s home, or a slightly larger donation to send the flamingos to someone else and find out who sent the flamingos to them! These rules and suggested donating amounts should be posted in a playful note on one of the flamingos.
- Always note that you will move the flamingos for free if someone who didn’t want to play has been mistakenly included.
Every non-profit seems to have an annual auction or silent auction as a fundraiser, but have you ever had a goat auction? It goes like this:
- Sign the Board of Directors or another group of active supporters up to win a goat.
- They can pay to withdraw their entry. When an entry is withdrawn, the donor gets to enter three new people to win the goat. Then those people have the chance to withdraw their entry by making a donation, and nominate three new people.
- After a week or so, draw a “winner” and rent a goat from a local farmer or someone with a pet goat. Call the winner to congratulate them and bring the goat by to take a few pictures at their house.
- Make sure you check your state’s laws to ensure this type of contest is allowed, and just in case someone actually wants the goat, be sure that the fine print clarifies that this is a fundraiser and the goat isn’t really being raffled off!
Spelling Bee for Grown-Ups
An adult spelling bee is a fun way to raise money with a good-natured competition. Similarly, an “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth-Grader?” competition can be fun, though you’ll need to think up your own contest name to avoid trademark infringement.
You can charge contestants to enter the contest, or, alternately, allow them to make a donation to stay in the game after getting a word wrong. The donation amount should increase each round. A third method involves a few individuals who are talented spellers asking family and friends for sponsorships. For example, a sponsor could pledge $5 for every word their contestant spells correctly.
The spelling bee winner should get a tacky trophy to take photos with as well as a genuinely desirable prize, like a gift certificate for a massage. If you use the sponsorship method, the top fundraiser should also get a prize.