Top Fundraising Ideas for Animal Charities

Few things are as heartbreaking as animal abuse. Animal shelters are vital to rescuing neglected pets and animals, but they often operate with limited resources. Our crowdfunding community helps raise money for animal shelters and animal-related causes every day. If you’re looking to help animals of any kind, you’ve come to the right place. Use our fundraising ideas for animal charity to make an impact.

Start an animal fundraiser

animal charity dog photo

Be a hero to millions of animals in need

Fundraising for pets prevents suffering and saves lives. From raising funds for your pet’s surgery to supporting your local animal shelter, you can make an impact. Your efforts can mean the difference between life or death for animals facing homelessness or serious illness.

  • The ASPCA estimates that 6.5 million pets enter animal shelters nationwide every year—3.3 million dogs and 3.2 million cats.
  • Of these, approximately 1.5 million are euthanized annually.
  • At any given time, there are 2.4 million healthy pets ready to be adopted, according to the Humane Society.

Four animal charity fundraising ideas

animal shelter fundraiser

1. Hold a fundraising event in your community

A fundraising event for pets or other animals can take any number of forms—take a look at our general fundraising event ideas page and see if it sparks any ideas.

Dog washes are a fun way to spread the word about your fundraiser:

  • Invite your community to bring dogs by your home. Set up a kiddie pool full of water next to a hose and grab some dog shampoo.
  • Have a friend who’s qualified to give haircuts to dogs, or ask a local groomer to donate time in exchange for publicity.
  • Ask participants to donate to your fundraiser in lieu of direct payment.
dog laying down

2. Hold a pet photo contest

Who wouldn’t want to submit or review adorable pictures of animals? Here are some ways to go about it:

  • Organize a photo contest where participants submit pictures.
  • Use fun categories (“Most Forlorn” or “Most Manic”) so pets can win in different ways.
  • After the contest, use the winning photos in a printed calendar that donors can pre-order through your fundraiser.
  • You could also hold a social media contest for video clips.
  • Your favorite submissions can be played at a viewing party, where pets and owners can socialize.
  • Post top picks to your fundraiser page and have people vote for their favorites in the comments.
dog art

3. Sponsor an animal-themed art contest

The more original the event is, the better. Ask participants to create and/or donate an animal- or pet-related art piece to your cause:

  • Incorporate art into your fundraiser and hold an auction to showcase the animal-themed art you’ve collected.
  • Make it a fun event with food, drinks, and music.
  • Give online supporters a chance to buy a piece, and build anticipation for in-person attendees by posting photos of each work online.
  • For online supporters who can’t be there in person, ask them to submit their maximum bids before the event.
dog kissing booth fundraising event

4. Give traditional fundraising ideas a thematic twist

Pair animal themes with traditional fundraising methods and events. How about a “le-meow-nade” stand in the summer? Or “hot paw-colate” in the winter? Or try turning a classic “penny wars” game into a “paw wars” game: Team Dog vs. Team Cat.

Animal lovers unite for good

Fundraising for animals is the perfect way to help out your favorite animal charity. Your fundraiser could reach people from all over the world who share your commitment to animal welfare. GoFundMe makes it easy to tap into your friends’ and family’s social networks. If you haven’t started your animal charity fundraiser yet, check out even more fundraising ideas and start an animal fundraiser.