Product Fundraisers for Animal Shelters: 4 Top Ideas - ABC Fundraising

Product Fundraisers for Animal Shelters:
4 Top Ideas

Your animal shelter or rescue group provides critical resources and safety to pets as they make their way to their forever homes. Unfortunately, with 6.5 million companion animals entering shelters each year, you may not have the capacity to take care of every dog and cat in need.


In fact, it may even be challenging to take adequate care of the animals you do have space for. To make sure you have the resources you need to feed, shelter, and care for the animals in your shelter, you’ve probably had to turn to some creative fundraising ideas.


With the right product fundraiser, your animal shelter can raise critical funds for your cause while also bolstering your reputation and connections in the community.


At Revelation Pets, we provide kennels and other pet businesses with the software they need to work efficiently and provide a great environment for the animals in their care. Everything we do is driven by a love of dogs, cats, and other animals, so we also care deeply about the work of shelters and other animal advocacy organizations like yours.


To set you up for success, we’ll cover the following topics:


  • What is a product fundraiser?
  • What are the advantages of a product fundraiser?
  • What are some of the top product fundraisers for an animal shelter? 


According to this guide to pet care businesses and COVID-19, pets are so far not known to be able to spread the virus. But, the increased safety precautions and sanitation materials to keep your staff and volunteers safe may have severely impacted your budget this year. As we move into 2021, planning one or more of these product fundraisers can help secure the revenue you need.

What is a product fundraiser?

In a product fundraiser, your organization sells exciting products in order to raise money for your cause. You’ll acquire these items from a wholesale vendor, then re-sell them to your supporters to make a profit. Depending on the vendor you choose, you may have little to no cost upfront.


These products can include:

  • Food items (like cookie dough, lollipops, or snack mixes)
  • Branded items featuring your nonprofit’s logo
  • Coupon books, gift certificates, or discount cards


For the most successful product fundraiser, you’ll want to consider the preferences and budget of your supporters when choosing an item. Later in this article, we’ll discuss some of the most appealing products for animal shelter donors and volunteers.

What are the advantages of a product fundraiser?

First off, a product fundraiser can offer a significant profit with no risk. Many products can be requested from the supplier after you’ve taken orders from supporters, so you won’t need to front-load a hefty cost.


In addition to the financial benefits, product fundraisers (especially branded fundraisers) foster a stronger sense of community engagement among your donors.


Branded items empower supporters to promote your cause and proudly display their affiliation with your organization. This provides free advertising for your shelter and may even prompt passersby to engage in conversation about your work. Who knows—that branded t-shirt may lead to your next donation or volunteer sign-up.


Finally, a product fundraiser is a perfect virtual fundraising idea to generate the funds you need while still keeping everyone safe and socially-distanced.

What are some of the top product fundraisers for an animal shelter?

1. T-shirts

A classic product fundraising idea is to sell t-shirts. They’re a true crowd-pleaser for individuals of all ages and interests, and your animal shelter is no exception. Be sure to design a shirt that prominently displays your organization’s logo so you can reap the rewards of free advertising.


To make this a more economical option, see if you can get any local businesses (especially dog kennels or other pet businesses) to contribute as sponsors as well. Then, display their logo(s) on the back of the shirt.


In addition to selling the shirts as a fundraiser, you may want to order a few extra shirts to distribute to your most loyal supporters. According to the Double the Donation guide to nonprofit membership programs, branded items like t-shirts can be a great perk to incentivize deeper involvement with your organization.

2. Pet calendar

Your shelter is home to many adorable cats and dogs who are ready for their close-ups. With a pet calendar, you leverage the resources you already have at your disposal—or in other words, put some puppy dog eyes to good use.


To execute this idea, pick a dozen of your shelter’s current residents and take some pictures worthy of being on display. Alternatively, you can make a contest out of it and ask supporters to send you their cutest and silliest pet photos. In exchange for a small donation, they’ll have the chance to be featured in a place of honor in the pet calendar.


Then, take orders for your calendar from supporters and choose a vendor to get them printed. This fundraising idea works well for the end of the year—make sure to emphasize that the calendar can make a great holiday gift for any animal lover.

3. Branded Face Masks

Selling custom face masks is an ideal product fundraising strategy for the challenges of COVID-19. You’ll be able to raise funding while providing an item people in your community need to stay safe and healthy.


To do this, partner with a product fundraising vendor to design and create the perfect washable and reusable mask. They’re typically available in a wide range of colors so you can easily match the design to your shelter’s logo.


Since most people are wearing face masks every day, this branded item also works well to publicize your animal shelter in the community.

4. Branded pet collars

Many of your animal shelter’s supporters are likely to own dogs and cats. With this product fundraiser, you provide the opportunity for them to outfit their furry friends with your logo while also contributing to your cause.


Since this is such a pet-specific option, make sure you find a product fundraising vendor with experience creating this item with materials that will hold up to the wear and tear of pet use.


If you want to go local, contact a nearby kennel or dog daycare and see if they will offer you a bulk discount on collars.


All in all, a product fundraiser is an effective way for your animal shelter to collect donations while also promoting awareness of your brand in the community. As we move into 2021, consider adding the sale of one of these products to your fundraising calendar.


This was a guest post contributed by Revelation Pets