As an animal welfare organization, your chief concern is obviously the health and well-being of animals.

But in order to achieve that lofty (and undoubtedly worthy) goal, your nonprofit will need to figure out a way to fundraise effectively and efficiently — read: inexpensively!

You’re in the right place to pick up some new tricks. See, even old dogs can learn a thing or two with the help of the internet.

Have I got your tail wagging in anticipation yet? Hold tight; here are the 6 low-cost fundraising ideas I’m going to cover in this article:

#1. Look into Pet-Themed T-Shirts.

#2. Go Bow-Wow for Crowdfunding.

#3. Try Pet Tags for Your Organization.

#4. Give Doggie Treats a Wag.

#5. Raise More Dough with Yappy Hour.

#6. Host a Critter Crawl (Fun Run).

Interested in more ideas for nonprofits outside of the animal welfare sphere? Be sure to check out Booster’s ideas for product fundraisers.

#1. Look into Pet-Themed T-Shirts.

It’s so true that we can learn a lot from our pets.

They’re infinitely wise…and so full of love and joy.

You know what else brings small joy to my life?

That super comfy T-shirt that I purchased to benefit my local animal shelter.

It may have only cost a few bucks at the time, but the amount of comfort and pure joy it’s brought me is truly priceless.

This is all just to say that one of the best ways you can raise money for your animal welfare organization is to host a pet-themed T-shirt fundraiser.

T-shirt fundraisers are:

  • Extremely affordable,
  • Easy to pull off,
  • And effective as advertising!

At most, your T-shirt fundraiser will set you back a few dollars a pop, but rest assured that the ROI is high enough to justify the initial cost.

Or, you can choose a free T-shirt fundraising platform at no risk of losing money! Each shirt that you sell will have some of the profit deducted to cover costs, but your organization will always stay in the “green.”

Not only are T-shirts affordable; they’re also incredibly intuitive. Everyone gets the concept of a T-shirt fundraiser. There’s no need to waste time explaining anything.

Best of all: that custom T-shirt that you create (with adorable pictures of your shelter’s animals, of course!) is going to last a long time.

Like I said earlier, I still have shirts from fundraising campaigns years ago that I continue to wear to this day. And you can bet that I get questions about the organization featured on it.

I proudly tell them, “This is a shirt that I bought to support my local shelter. If you’re in a place to adopt a pet, you should absolutely look into their organization!”

That same scenario could easily happen to your nonprofit. It all starts with hosting a pet-themed T-shirt fundraiser.

What you should take away from this tip: If you’re looking for a way to raise money and awareness for your animal welfare organization for years to come, look no further than T-shirt fundraising.

#2. Go Bow-Wow for Crowdfunding.


The word around town is that crowdfunding is the way to go for both smaller and larger nonprofits alike.

Hold on a second, though: what exactly is crowdfunding?

To put it in layman’s terms (“Explain it to me like I’m 6!”), crowdfunding is the raising of funds from a large number of people — even if it means that many of the contributions are on the small side.

There are, of course, crowdfunding situations where some donors are major gift contributors.

But the essence of a crowdfunding campaign comes down to the way it’s run. Typically, it involves a nonprofit (like your animal welfare organization) giving its most active influencers the tools they need to be able to fundraise on behalf of the organization.

These tools are usually something along the lines of:

  • A link to a designated crowdfunding page,
  • Pre-written copy for social media posting,
  • A script for fundraising in person,
  • And any other necessities a fundraiser might require.

Their task, should they choose to accept the challenge, is to reach out to their respective networks — online and in real life — to get them to donate to your cause.

Pro-tip: it really helps to sell your fundraising efforts if you toss in a few unbearably cute animal videos and maybe an irresistible picture or two. Make sure you equip your influencers with ample (fuzzy) material.

Before you know it, your fundraising campaign is going to skyrocket, thanks to the help of your loyal supporters. Their friends, family members, and even their coworkers will likely become fans, if not members, of your organization in no time. Especially since they’ve gotten that personal stamp of approval from your existing supporter!

Long story short, crowdfunding is a two-paws-up idea when it comes to low-cost fundraising.

What you should take away from this tip: Look into crowdfunding as a way to leverage your existing donor base without expending extra energy or funds to drum up new supporters!

Click here to learn about Booster’s solution for crowdfunding for your Animal Welfare Organization.

#3. Try Pet Tags for Your Organization.

booster-getfullyfunded-low-cost-fundraising-section-header-3It’s truly a terrible thing when a pet goes missing.

Your nonprofit can be a part of the solution to this large and looming issue for mindful pet owners.

“How?” You ask.

By hosting a pet tag fundraiser for your animal welfare organization, your nonprofit can help pet lovers rest assured that their loved ones have IDs, and you’ll be raising money for your organization in the process.

It kills two birds with one stone (for lack of a more pet-friendly metaphor!).

Getting started with a fundraiser like this one will take a little bit of research and maybe a dash of inspiration.

Be on the lookout for local pet shops that may have deals on purchasing bulk tags. If you can’t seem to find a business in your area that will cut your organization some slack, you may want to try looking online.

There are plenty of sites that will allow you to custom order pet tags at a reasonable rate.

Once you’ve found a supplier, the most important ingredient to making this low-cost fundraiser a success is the marketing.

A great, cost-effective way to get the word out quickly is simply through your nonprofit’s email newsletter.

Give your mailing list and your loyal subscribers a head’s up through your monthly or weekly publication.

Be sure to include pictures of the adorable tags they could purchase for Fido or Fluffy.

In addition to sending out info via email, you might also consider:

  • Tacking up flyers around town,
  • Posting about it on social media,
  • Putting info up on your website,
  • And making announcements at meetings.

When people learn about this fundraiser, they’re bound to jump for joy! Because, as I mentioned earlier, this endeavor serves a dual purpose, both of which help animals.

What you should take away from this tip: Research pet tag fundraising as a low-cost way to raise money for your nonprofit as well as a way to keep the animals in your area safe and sound.

#4. Give Doggie Treats a Wag.

booster-getfullyfundedd-low-cost-fundraising-section-header-4Along the same lines as the pet tag fundraiser, a doggie treat fundraiser is great on many levels.

For one, doggie treats make pets and pet owners alike happy. Who doesn’t love to give their little Rover or Scooby a treat when he’s been a good boy?

On another level, they also make wonderful gifts for dog owners — meaning even your supporters who don’t own dogs themselves can get involved and purchase a few.

Additionally,  they’re inexpensive, so everyone all around can feel good about indulging!

And last (though certainly not least), the sale of these biscuits directly benefits your animal welfare organization!

All of these are great reasons to look into incorporating doggie treats into your low-cost fundraising repertoire.

By no means do you have to host a stand-alone doggie treat fundraiser — although nothing says  that you can’t do that.

One great idea for getting doggie treats in all the right paws is to make them a part of your next live fundraising event.

If you’re hosting a silent auction, for instance, you may want to feature a jar or two full of these delectable delights. Auction them off to the highest bidder, and you’ll be sure to rack up the donations from devoted dog lovers.

Likewise, if you offer up doggie treats at your next 5K event, you’re bound to intrigue participants who love to run with their pups.

Whichever route you choose to market those tasty dog bones or biscuits, just be sure to play up all of the benefits of purchasing a premium pet treat as a form of donating!

What you should take away from this tip: Doggie treats are worth looking into for your next low-cost fundraiser for various reasons, and they work really well when paired with live fundraising events.

#5. Raise More Dough with Yappy Hour.

booster-getfullyfunded-low-cost-fundraising-section-header-5What could be more fun and entertaining than being a part of a nice happy hour?

Participating in a yappy hour, of course!

For those who don’t know, a “yappy hour” follows the same principles as a human happy hour, but it adds that extra special element: our canine friends.

You read that correctly: a yappy hour is just like a happy hour with drinks and hors d’oeuvres, but the pups are invited as well… which means…

If you want to host this kind of fundraiser for your organization’s members, you’ll have to:

  • Find a location that can handle pets and people alike,
  • Create a menu for canines as well as humans,
  • And, of course, come up with appropriate decorations for the occasion.

With those stipulations in mind, you can start planning this fun, furry fiesta.

As far as treats go, in the winter you can offer up the doggie biscuits that I mentioned earlier, and in the summer, you can look into ice cream pops for pups.

Delight your members with bubbly mimosas in the summer and cozy hot toddies in the winter.

Pick the perfect pairings, and you’ll definitely have all parties panting for more!

The best part (aside from being able to attend a happy hour with your furry best friend) is that everyone in attendance will be there to help raise money for an awesome cause.

Because it’s such a low-key, low-cost event, the ROI should be substantial. And if it’s a hit this year, you can always make it a staple for your organization’s annual fundraising strategy.

If you’re interested in more ways to make your members feel appreciated, be sure to check out this guide to membership and association management.

What you should take away from this tip: If you’re in the market for a fundraiser that everyone can attend, you should certainly consider hosting a yappy hour for your nonprofit’s members.

#6. Host a Critter Crawl (Fun Run).

booster-getfullyfunded-low-cost-fundraising-section-header-6This final idea is purrfect for all of your active supporters.

They’ll stop chasing their tails when they hear that your organization is finally hosting a “critter crawl.”

In essence, a critter crawl lets supporters run wild while they raise money for your nonprofit. Okay, so maybe they’re not literally running wild; there’s a definite route, a starting point, and a finish line.

But you catch my drift!

A critter crawl is, for all intents and purposes, just a regular fun run that benefits an animal welfare organization, like an animal shelter or a humane society.

The best place to get started with planning this particular kind of fundraiser is deciding where exactly to host it.

Sniff around town and try to dig up some sponsorships and partnerships with local businesses. Having them on your side will make the whole process easier, and they may have some splendid ideas for locations in addition to helping fund, stock, and advertise for the event.

As soon as you’ve pinpointed the route for the race (and you’ve rounded up some support from the community), you can begin to advertise for the event.

Pro tip: Order T-shirts ahead of time to ensure that they arrive before the day of the race.

On the day of the race, set up clear signs to direct people where to:


  • Park their cars or bikes,
  • Register or sign up last minute,
  • Line up for the start of the fun run,
  • And where to pick up their race packets.

When people know precisely where to go at all times, they’re bound to have a better time.

Another surefire way to make your organization’s critter crawl a tail-waggin’ good time is to have fun yourself.

Your attendees want to see that you’re enjoying the event as much as they are, and you deserve to have a blast after planning such a fabulous fundraiser!

Looking for more warm and fuzzy fundraising ideas? Take a peek at Booster’s extensive list of fundraising ideas.

What you should take away from this tip: Critter crawls are marvelous for raising money and awareness while encouraging fun and fitness.

Whether it’s a fundraiser or just plain fundraising, there are so many options for your animal welfare organization to choose from.

From doggie treats to yappy hours, and yes, even critter crawls, you’ve got a veritable smorgasbord of low-cost fundraising goodness at your fingertips.

So try one — or try all; it’s up to you!


headshot-kerri-mooreWritten by:

Kerri Moore is the Director of Marketing at Booster, Created by CustomInk. She and her team help create content aimed at maximizing organizers’ fundraising potential and furthering their mission to raise awareness for the cause or passion that means the most to them.

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