Animal welfare issues are an ongoing area of concern for many philanthropic-minded people. Each year, more than more than 6.5 million animals enter shelters across the U.S. Additionally, many shelters were hit hard during the pandemic as staff had to be reduced due to social-distancing restrictions and organizations cut back on performing non-emergency services like spay/neuter surgeries, causing a backlog.
As a pet care business owner or manager, you spend your days surrounded by animals and are keenly aware of the challenges facing animal rescue and welfare organizations. You’ve decided that you not only want to use the power of your business to help animal shelters come out of the pandemic stronger than ever, but you’d also like to enhance your corporate social responsibility program. However, you might not know how to get started. After all, you’re a pet care professional, not a fundraising expert!
We’ve got you covered with a few tips for simple, stress-free virtual fundraising to help provide shelters with the resources they need to continue providing vital services. To run a successful fundraising campaign, you should:
- Create a streamlined donation page.
- Launch a merchandise fundraiser.
- Empower employees to get involved.
- Say thank you.
Plenty of pet care professionals successfully incorporate charitable giving and fundraising into their company culture, helping local organizations and giving their businesses a positive PR boost in the process. With a glance at Gingr's dog daycare business plan template, there are clear opportunities to incorporate a corporate social responsibility program into your management blueprint to solidify this as a guiding priority. Whether you’re looking to launch a full-scale nonprofit partnership or get started with a more low-key fundraiser, these tips will set you up for success.
1. Create a streamlined donation page.
In a virtual fundraiser, your online donation page is one of the most important tools you have to solicit contributions. Your giving form is a hub to provide information about your campaign and gather donor gifts in a safe, secure donation process. Plus, you can embed this form into your business’s website and share it across your social media pages, making it one of the most visible aspects of your animal-welfare virtual fundraiser.
Even if you have minimal to no fundraising experience, you can create a streamlined donation page on a virtual fundraising platform like Donately that makes it simple and convenient for supporters to give. Donately offers a few best practices to follow when creating a donation page, including:
Tell your story. In a brief summary, tell supporters why you got involved in animal welfare and why they should care, too. Perhaps you adopted your dog from the local shelter, or you’ve collaborated with them over the years through sponsoring adoption events with your business. Let supporters know why your local shelter needs help and what their donations will help them accomplish, whether it’s buying supplies like kibble and leashes or being able to care for more animals.
Use evocative imagery. Add one or two compelling photos to your donation page that capture supporters’ attention and tug on their heartstrings. People are drawn to photos of puppies and kittens, so don’t be afraid to lean into this! Photos also make charitable causes more real and urgent to potential donors.
Simplify your form. If your donation page is too long, with too many photos or unnecessary details, it increases the chances that donors will abandon your form before sending in a contribution. Be sure to only include essential form fields and get right to the point to prevent page abandonment.
Once your form is complete, you can test it out with your employees, family members, and friends before sending it to the rest of your audience to make sure it’s functioning properly.
Then, be sure to spread the word about your donation page via your business website, social media pages, and email newsletters. Taking a multichannel approach is the best way to get as many donors as possible on board with your cause because you increase the number of touchpoints with your audience.
For instance, if someone just sees your donation page when mindlessly scrolling through Twitter, they might not think twice about it. But, when a prospective donor sees your donation page on their Facebook feed, in their inbox, and when visiting your website, you’ll pique their interest, and they’ll be more inclined to check out your campaign.
2. Launch a merchandise fundraiser.
As a well-established business owner, you have a unique opportunity to leverage the power of your business to assist with your fundraising campaigns. For example, since you run a pet care-focused business, you likely already have a few merchandise items for sale at your physical location or online store. You can use your existing merchandise, or add a few new items to your store, to start a pet business merchandise fundraiser and contribute the funds from these sales to a local shelter or rescue.
If you’re just getting started with a dog daycare, grooming facility, or other pet care business and don’t have established merchandise yet, here are some ideas for products you can sell:
T-shirts: Who doesn’t love a soft, stylish t-shirt featuring an adorable animal? Be sure to incorporate your business’s logo and brand colors within your t-shirt design. Supporters will be eager to purchase your shirts when they know the funds are going to a good cause. Plus, when people wear your shirts while out and about, they become walking advertisements for your business!
Face masks: Face masks are a prominent item right now, as they’re required in many stores and public places. You can design a face mask with your company logo and animal imagery, giving supporters and employees a chance to keep themselves safe and donate to a worthy nonprofit.
Frisbees: This is a merchandise idea that your customers and their pups will love. As with the other merchandise ideas, don’t forget to brand your frisbees with your logo and brand colors. You’ll offer the chance for customers to give back to the community, and when they use your frisbees at the local dog park, they might even help you get some more publicity.
Merchandise fundraisers are an easy way to incorporate your philanthropy into your business’s everyday operations. For a more low-key fundraising opportunity, you can place a donation jar at your checkout counter to collect funds from customers when they drop off or pick up their pets.
3. Empower employees to get involved.
As mentioned above, whenever a business gets involved with philanthropic causes, there are mutual benefits for each side. According to Double the Donation's corporate philanthropy guide, nonprofits and other charitable organizations receive a funding boost through corporate social responsibility programs, while businesses have the opportunity to create a positive public image and improve their customer relationships. Consumers respect businesses that focus on creating a positive societal impact, and this is increasingly becoming an expectation for all businesses.
Another benefit of corporate philanthropy programs is the ability to engage your employees on a deeper level and appeal to their desire to get involved with community efforts. Workplace giving statistics show that an effective corporate social responsibility program can increase employee engagement by up to 7.5%, employee productivity by 13%, and increase revenue by as much as 20%!
To adhere to consumer expectations and fulfill employee desires, you should offer your employees a chance to help out with your animal welfare campaign. Here are a few ways to empower your employees to get more involved in fundraising efforts:
Create a matching gift program. Matching gift programs are an effective way to raise a lot of funds for animal organizations quickly, and it’s all due to your employee’s efforts. In a matching gift program, your company matches donations made by your employees to eligible nonprofits. Since your main focus as a business is on animal welfare causes, your employees will likely feel encouraged to put matching gift funds to these types of organizations, too.
Offer volunteer grants. In this type of program, employee volunteer efforts translate into real money earned for their favorite charities. With a volunteer grant program, your company pledges to donate a specific gift amount in exchange for a certain number of hours that your employees volunteer.
Sponsor a local nonprofit’s peer-to-peer fundraising campaign. One of the best ways to engage your employees in philanthropic campaigns is to empower them to be fundraisers themselves! If your nonprofit partner decides to host a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign, you can create a team fundraising page for your business. Then, your employee participants can design their own pages based on your example and share their pages with their networks of family and friends. You can even promote these peer-to-peer fundraising opportunities to your business’s entire audience, not just your employees. This will spread the nonprofit’s message to an even greater extent while providing employees and other supporters with a fulfilling opportunity to help out in the community.
By offering your employees a few simple, convenient ways to get involved in your fundraising opportunities, you can positively impact your local community while also creating an engaging work environment. Other businesses in your area might even follow your lead, creating an even greater impact for important causes and positioning your company as a leader in the community.
4. Say thank you.
Our most critical fundraising tip is a simple yet effective strategy you should always use when conducting any type of community outreach or fundraising campaign: saying thank you! Expressing your gratitude to your donors, volunteer fundraisers, and employees goes a long way toward generating goodwill within the community and encouraging supporters to remain involved in philanthropy.
This resource offers templates for thank-you letters for all types of situations. In particular, whenever you’re thanking supporters, be sure to be specific. In your thank-you messages, provide details about what supporters’ donations were able to accomplish.
For example, if donations led to five more dogs being able to stay at the local shelter, include images of each of the pups in your thank-you message to demonstrate how donors made a real difference for them.
Donors will be able to see how their actions contributed to helping the mission of keeping animals safe, and they’ll be more inspired to give during your next fundraising campaign!
Ultimately, even though your expertise lies in caring for pets rather than raising money to help them, these tips can start you on the path to fundraising like a pro. Remember to leverage the power of your business’s merchandise offerings, online audience, and eager employees to reach your fundraising goals and establish your business as a local leader in the corporate philanthropy realm. Happy fundraising!