Animal Shelter Fundraiser Ideas

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.

Flamingo Flocking

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:

  1. Get a bunch of plastic flamingos, the tackier the better.
  2. Acquire a list of the group’s supporters’ addresses.
  3. 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)!”
  4. 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.
  5. Always note that you will move the flamingos for free if someone who didn’t want to play has been mistakenly included.

Goat Auction

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:

  1. Sign the Board of Directors or another group of active supporters up to win a goat.
  2. 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 When an entry is withdrawn, the donor gets to enter three new people to win the goat.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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

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11 Responses

  1. jelenawoehr
    | Reply

    @PetLvr PetLvr [Blog] \ Animal Shelter Fundraiser Ideas

  2. HART (1-800-HART)
    | Reply

    (new PetLvr post ).. Animal Shelter Fundraiser Ideas: Animal shelters and rescues are strugg..

  3. Barbara Garfinkel
    | Reply

    RT @friendpets: Animal Shelter Fundraiser Ideas #pets

  4. Seraphime Rhyianir
    | Reply

    RT @friendpetsAnimal Shelter Fundraiser Ideas #pets

  5. Seraphime Rhyianir
    | Reply

    Great Animal Shelter Fund-Raising Ideas!

  6. HART (1-800-HART)
    | Reply

    Animal Shelter Fundraiser Ideas

  7. Ratbone Rescues
    | Reply

    RT @PetLvr: Animal Shelter Fundraiser Ideas

  8. Ching Ya
    | Reply

    Reading: Animal Shelter Fundraiser Ideas | ~ — via @PetLvr

  9. Maryann Mott
    | Reply

    RT @PetLvr Animal Shelter Fundraiser Ideas | – [The Blog]

  10. Matt
    | Reply

    Great story!

    I run a small family business that supplies flamingos for fundraisers like these. One of our operating principles is that we donate 10% of our profits from the sales of our pink plastic flamingos to charity. Because our flamingos are used in so many different flamingo flocking fundraisers (see our site at for examples), we think it is only right that we include the broad community in deciding where to donate our gift.

    To decide where we give our donations, we hold a web survey in which everyone can vote for their favorite charity.

    I’d be honored if you and your readers would participate in our survey this year! We are excited to be able to give back to the community and support great causes!

    Here’s the link to the survey where you can vote for your favorite charity.

    flamingo charity survey


  11. flamingo flocking
    | Reply

    the plastic pink flamingo was designed in 1957 by Don Featherstone while working for Union Products, and has become an icon of pop culture, and won him the Ig Nobel Prize for Art in 1996. It has even spawned a lawn greeting industry where flocks of pink flamingos are installed on a victim’s lawn in the dark of night.

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