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

Product Fundraisers for Animal Shelters:
4 Top Ideas

Product Fundraisers For Animal Shelters: 4 Top Ideas

Every year, 6.5 million dogs and cats are abandoned or lost, which can place tremendous strain on your animal shelter. In order to feed, shelter, and protect the animals in your care, you’ve likely explored several fundraising ideas, such as hosting fundraising events, running donation drives, and applying for grant funding. 

Another creative approach to generating revenue is running product fundraisers. Not only can these sales-based fundraisers generate meaningful support for your cause, but they can also be an effective way to engage animal lovers in the community. 

In this guide, we’ll explore the benefits of hosting product fundraisers and provide some ideas to help your pet organization launch its own campaign. But first, let’s define product fundraisers in more detail. 

What is a product fundraiser?

Product fundraisers involve selling merchandise in order to finance your shelter’s operations and expenses. Most organizations acquire items from a wholesale vendor, then resell them to supporters for a profit. Depending on the vendor you choose, you may have little to no cost upfront.

Plus, product fundraisers can be set up quickly. To host a successful product fundraiser, your organization simply has to:

  • Choose products. Choose products that appeal to your target audience and align with your organization’s mission. Consider partnering with local businesses or vendors to source products at a discounted price.


  • Set a fundraising goal. Determine how much money you hope to raise through the fundraiser and set a goal for your team or volunteers to work toward.


  • Promote the fundraiser. Develop a marketing plan that leverages social media, email, and other communication channels to promote your fundraiser to the wider community.


  • Sell the products. Set up sales booths at events, host online sales, or sell the products through local businesses to generate revenue and meet your fundraising goal. For the best results, Gingr recommends using an integrated payment processor to quickly and securely process transactions. 


  • Thank supporters. Show appreciation to each supporter who purchased your product and keep them updated on the impact of their donation.

By following these steps, you can raise vital funds and extend your services to more animals in need.

What are the advantages of a product fundraiser?

As mentioned, a product fundraiser can result in significant profits with little risk involved. That’s because most products can be requested from the supplier after a supporter has made their order, meaning you won’t have to front-load a hefty cost.

In addition to the financial benefits, product fundraisers, especially those that involve selling branded merchandise, can raise awareness for your cause. When a supporter wears or uses your branded product, they are proudly displaying 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 adoption, donation, or volunteer sign-up. 

Top 4 product fundraisers for animal shelters

1. Branded 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’s community is no exception. Design a shirt that prominently displays your organization’s logo so you can reap the rewards of free advertising. 

To lower the cost of making the shirts, reach out to local businesses to see if they would be willing to contribute as sponsors. Then, display their logos 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 as a free gift to your most loyal supporters. According to Double the Donation’s 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

If you choose a calendar as your fundraising product, you can leverage resources you already have at your disposal, specifically the adorable animals in your care.  

To execute this idea, choose a dozen of your shelter’s current residents and take some pictures that are 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. 

3. Pet supplies

Your animal shelter’s supporters likely own dogs and cats of their own. By selling pet supplies, you provide them with the opportunity to outfit their furry friends with your logo while also contributing to your cause.

Consider selling the following items: 

  • Bandanas
  • Bowls
  • Collars 
  • Toys

Since this is a niche product, make sure your vendor has experience creating items that hold up to the wear and tear of pet use. If you want to go local, contact a nearby kennel or pet daycare service to see if they will offer you a bulk discount on supplies.

4. Pet-related gift certificates

Reach out to pet-oriented businesses in your area and ask if they would be willing to provide your organization with gift certificates that you can sell at a higher rate to supporters. Here are a few examples: 

  • 10% discount card to a pet grooming business
  • Free Puppy Potty Training 101 course 
  • 24-hour free trial for a pet daycare service

This type of fundraiser is a win-win situation for all parties involved—local businesses gain exposure and potential new customers, and supporters can save money while supporting a good cause.

All in all, a product fundraiser is an effective way for your animal shelter to collect donations while also raising brand awareness in the community. Remember to consider the preferences and budgets of your supporters when choosing an item. Doing so will help your animal shelter receive the support it needs.