As an animal welfare nonprofit, you need fundraisers to support the rescues in your care. Explore the reasons why animal rescue fundraisers are so effective.
Three rescued cats together in a wire cage.
Three rescued cats together in a wire cage.

Animals can bring out the best in people. When we hear that an animal is in need, we jump into action—which is an instinct that your animal welfare nonprofit can leverage.

Animal welfare fundraising campaigns can take many forms, whether your nonprofit is holding a dog-friendly charity 5K, or partnering with a local dog daycare to collect donations of food, toys, and other supplies from the community. No matter which fundraising idea you choose, understanding why these campaigns are so effective can help you drive more traffic to your donation page.

In this guide, we’ll explore the top reasons why animal rescue fundraisers resonate with people and how to use them to your advantage. Let’s begin!

1. The campaigns are conducive to emotional storytelling.

As Funds2Orgs highlights, telling moving stories about your impact can compel more people to give by showing them the more emotional, tangible side of your work. Stories about the plight of rescued animals are great at capturing audiences’ attention. For example, take a look at this story about Rocky, a pitbull in the care of Woodrock Animal Rescue:

Rocky is a pit bull. He once had soft eyes and ears that stood at attention. But not anymore. You see, Rocky has been battered and bruised. His face is scarred from dogfights and abuse. The cuts along his jaw are so deep, he may need plastic surgery—but you have a chance to give him the bright future he so richly deserves.

Who would pass up the opportunity to save Rocky’s life? 

This quick story effectively tugs at donors’ heartstrings and calls them to support animals like Rocky. When your nonprofit uses storytelling in its animal rescue campaigns, make sure to include:

  • A vivid picture of what life looks like before a donor’s gift. Tell supporters about the struggles the animal faced before entering your care. You can also explain what could happen if your nonprofit doesn’t get the support it needs. In Rocky’s case, he could live in pain without medical attention. 
  • What life looks like after a donor’s gift. Describe the positive impact that support from donors will have on your rescues. Make sure to get specific. For example, Rocky will be able to get his wounds healed and live pain-free, get adopted, and have a full belly and warm bed.
  • A direct call to action. Last, ask donors to help you support your rescues! Include links and a specific ask to make donating as easy as possible. Rocky’s story could include a call to action like, “Please donate today and help save Rocky’s life!”

Your nonprofit could also inspire more logic-minded donors with data-driven storytelling. For example, Woodrock might use impact metrics like, “This year, we rehomed 246 pit bulls—Rocky could be number 247 because of you!”

2. Campaigns for animal rescue organizations are highly shareable.

Animal lovers attract other animal lovers and are always moved to action! These traits make this demographic a perfect population for online peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns. When you run a peer-to-peer campaign, you find ambassadors who commit to fundraising on behalf of your organization, collecting donations from friends and family.

Set these dedicated supporters up for success by giving them the materials they need to promote your campaign. For example, share images of real animal rescues, graphics with impact metrics, and caption templates that they can post on social media. 

Outside of peer-to-peer fundraising, animal fundraisers are easily marketable. You might use the Google Ad Grants program, which offers nonprofits $10,000 in free Google Ad credits each month, to build awareness of the campaign. Compliment these efforts with more traditional methods like handing out posters and flyers to relevant businesses—think dog groomers, pet stores, and boarding facilities.

3. Animal rescue organizations have clear, compelling missions.

Having a simple yet inspiring mission is crucial for any nonprofit, particularly when it comes to promoting fundraisers and driving funding. Animal welfare organizations typically have very concise mission statements that clearly convey their goals for the work they do. For example, Best Friends Animal Society’s mission statement is, “to bring about a time when there are No More Homeless Pets.”

While your organization should already have a mission statement, it may be worth revisiting. Check to make sure that your mission is:

  • Short and snappy. It should be one sentence maximum.
  • Comprehensible. Avoid featuring any jargon, complex words, or complicated sentence structures.
  • Specific. Your supporters should walk away knowing exactly what issue you are working to overcome.
  • Authentic. Make sure your mission statement aligns with your work and impact—you may eventually need to update it.

Make sure your mission is at the center of every campaign and initiative you lead by clarifying how that work will help you achieve your vision of the future. For example, if your humane society holds a charity auction, clarify that the proceeds will be used to purchase toys for your rescues or waive adoption fees.

4. It’s easy for the campaigns to be transparent.

Finally, animal rescue fundraisers make it easy for your nonprofit to report on the real-world impact of fundraising dollars. This can be a challenge for organizations that advocate for more conceptual causes (e.g., reducing the stigma around mental illnesses).

Start by translating donation thresholds into tangible benefits for your supporters. For example, let’s say that in a week’s time, $5 can provide meals to five cats, $20 can purchase two new dog beds, and $50 can cover vaccinations for one kitten. You can also roll out campaign-wide updates to demonstrate supporters’ collective impact, such as, “Because of everyone’s generous support, we added a new wing to our shelter and can now board 50 more animals!”

As an animal rescue organization, you’re doing valuable work by advocating for those who can’t speak for themselves. By using the tips and strategies in this guide, you’ll boost awareness of your campaigns, make heartfelt appeals, reach new audiences, and build a strong foundation of trust with your supporters. 

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