15 ways to help save your favourite animal charity

There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected your favourite animal welfare organisation’s work – and the lives of the animals who rely on them.

According to a recent article, ‘An unexpected giving shortfall of 7% can be fatal to a nonprofit organization’.

If we asked you to name your favourite animal charity, which would you choose?

  • Would it be a charity campaigning to educate communities and end cruelty to working donkeys?
  • Perhaps a local animal shelter that provides a safe haven for homeless dogs and cats?
  • Or maybe an environmental group campaigning to reduce habitat loss for our precious wildlife?

If you can’t think of a specific organisation, check out our WAD Ambassadors page for inspiration. We have over 90 voluntary Ambassadors in 70+ countries, all striving to make the world a kinder place for animals.

Whichever charity you named, you can be sure that they are currently struggling. A survey estimated that charities will suffer a 48% loss in income due to the pandemic.

However, despite social distancing restrictions, which vary from country to country, resourceful animal lovers are adapting by finding new ways to make their vital contributions.

Fundraising for our favourite charities can still happen – we just need to be even more creative with it!

We’ve put together a list of fun online fundraising suggestions – get your friends, family and virtual workplaces involved too! Virtual activities have the potential to be just as successful as ‘real world’ events – as long as they have internet access, anyone can take part, wherever they are in the world.

15 ways to help save your favourite animal charity

  1. Tout your talent: Are you in a band? Are you an amazing singer, or hilarious comedian? Due to the lockdown, people are celebrating events at home these days. Offer your talent as an entertainer and perform via a video conferencing site, such as Zoom, into your audience’s home. Donate your fee to an animal welfare charity. If there isn’t a demand for celebration appearances, think about holding a virtual gig instead – perhaps invite other musicians for a Battle of the Bands. Platforms include Youtube Live, Facebook Live, IGTV, Google hangout (up to 10 people), Zoom and Houseparty (for a group video chat). Smule is a social singing app that can be used for Karaoke sessions.
  2. Sell your skills: Do you have special skills that might be in demand? Hold virtual classes, either to individuals or groups. Popular classes might include yoga, fitness, arts and crafts, languages, or perhaps tutoring for schoolchildren. Donate a percentage of your income from the classes – if you prefer, offer your services free of charge and ask for donations. An alternative would be to offer a digital download for a minimum donation.
  3. Peddle your portraits: If you’re a talented artist, offer portraits of pets or children, by advertising on social media, with examples of your work. One rescue centre hit the headlines in 2020 when the staff drew portraits of pets – with varied results. Despite the fact that many of the drawings only vaguely resembled their subjects, they raised $12,000! If you have artistic children, this might be a good project to get them involved with!
  4. Be a birthday benefactor: Instead of receiving cards and presents, ask friends and family to give donations to your favourite charity instead.
    • Facebook allows you to set up a birthday fundraiser. There’s no charge if the donations are going to one of the (vetted) charities on their list, and it isn’t a personal fundraiser. Bear in mind that Facebook won’t pay out until the total donations reach at least $100.
    • You can also use JustGiving to ask friends and family for charitable donations instead of gifts. JustGiving does apply a service charge.
  5. Join, or set up, an online fundraising campaign: There are different options on Just Giving – you can either create your own fundraising page, or join an existing campaign. You could set up a fitness challenge (like the man who ran 7,000 laps of his balcony), a virtual gathering (such as a pub quiz), a sponsored gaming marathon or even shave your head – it’s up to you! Although the platform fee is 0%, your supporters will be invited to add an additional contribution for JustGiving. There’s also a payment processing fee. Another option is to create a fundraising page with Virgin Money Giving, where fees are charged on a ‘not for profit’ basis. Causes is free of charge, due to adverts on the site, and has ‘built-in communities of support’.
  6. Complete the 2.6 Challenge: Did you know that the London Marathon has been moved to October 4 this year – the same day as World Animal Day? It’s a great opportunity to organise your own 2.6 challenge. It was huge in April – you could be part of it in October! (Don’t forget to use the hashtags – #WorldAnimalDay, #LondonMarathon and #TwoPointSixChallenge.) Here’s a list of 26 ideas for the 2.6 Challenge. Make sure you post progress videos on social media asking for donations. The 2.6 Challenge isn’t all about running though, so it’s a great way for the less athletic to get involved.
  7. Cycle to Paris: Sites like Virtual Athlete allow you to sign up for virtual challenges where you keep track of your own progress. There’s a separate fee to join each challenge but you get a medal if you’re successful! Activity choices include: ‘Cycle to Paris’ (£12), ‘Walk the Golden Gate Bridge’ (£9) and, if you don’t mind virtually braving the second-most dangerous ocean in the world, ‘Row the Atlantic’ (£13). Other challenges, such as a 5k, 10k and marathons are also available. A donation of 20% of the entry fee is given to charity. Currently, the only set charity related to animals is The Aspinall Foundation. However, you could also make an appeal for donations for your favourite charity on a fundraising platform. Similar sites include Umbali and AtlasGo.
  8. Who’s Got Talent? Host an online talent show for children and ask virtual audience members to make an ‘entrance’ donation to your charity. One mother in the US has been hosting regular shows for her daughter’s entire school year. This article includes tips on how to run a successful show.
  9. Hold a virtual yard/garage sale: We all have items in our cupboards that we never use – clothing, shoes, books, CDs, etc. Try selling them locally on a platform such as Facebook Marketplace and give a percentage of the proceeds to charity. If you have old furniture, use your creative skills to ‘upcycle’ it before offering it for sale! Also consider Ebay, Amazon Marketplace, Shopify and Gumtree.
  10. Sell at an online auction: If you have something more valuable or unique to sell, there are numerous online auctions sites, such as Catawiki, where each category has its own submission guidelines and the commission is 15.1% of the winning bid (including VAT/sales tax). The fees on similar sites will vary. You’ll also need to consider registered mail delivery charges and insurance. Another option would be to use social media to auction an experience, such as lunch with a local celebrity or in-demand concert/sport event tickets (when crowds are permitted again).
  11. Support your favourite charity’s lottery: Some organisations hold a weekly lottery, with ticket sales supporting their work. The prizes might not be as large as national lotteries, but it’s for a good cause. (You’ll need to check gambling guidelines and advice for your country.) Running your own lottery or raffle on social media instead would involve thorough research into permitted payment methods and other legal considerations. For example, Paypal does not allow its services to be used for gambling purposes, including lotteries and raffles.
  12. Turn points into pounds: In the UK, it’s estimated that the average adult has six loyalty cards, with the total value of unused rewards amounting to over £7bn. In the past, some companies have allowed customers to donate the value of their points to charity instead of using them, but the choice of charities has been limited. ‘For Good Causes’, launched in 2020, aims to enable millions of consumers to support their favourite cause with a choice of over 20,000 participating charities. Please note that it’s a ‘for profit’ service and a 10% commission is charged on each donation.
  13. Swap coffee for cash: Do you usually buy a coffee every day on the way to work? If you’re working from home instead, save the proceeds from just one coffee a week and set up a monthly donation to your favourite animal welfare organisation. If you don’t buy coffee, consider donating a fraction of your commuting costs (petrol/gas or public transport fares). Regular gifts like this make a massive difference to charities – your contribution could sponsor a dog kennel or cat pod.
  14. Shop online: Sign up for a scheme where a percentage of online sales is donated to a specific charity, at no extra cost to you, e.g. Amazon Smile. Ask your family and friends to do the same. Smaller charities might not have signed up for the programme, so contact your favourite and ask them to register.
  15. Payroll giving: If you work for a successful organisation that’s still operating as normal during the pandemic, ask them to set up a payroll giving and donation-matching programme. In the US in 2018, companies gave $2 to $3 billion in matched donations to non-profits. If other employees took advantage of these programmes, it is estimated that a further $4 to $7 billion could be given.

YOU can help animal welfare organisations make it through this challenging period… and beyond.

Charities are concerned about future repercussions from the pandemic, including the predicted recession. They will appreciate your help more than ever…

  • Many shelters are expecting an influx of animals when lockdown restrictions are eased – not only dogs and cats. The aftermath of the 2008 recession caused the number of horses in one British charity's care to jump from 290 to 600.
  • If a city has temporarily paused their spaying and neutering programme, there will be an increase in the number of stray animals due to increased breeding, which will increase the stress on organisations working in that area.
  • Feeding programmes may need to be set up to care for street animals who previously relied on restaurant leftovers and other discarded food.
  • A ‘sentiment tracker’ found that 30% of people say they intend to stop or reduce their donations, which could impact the future of many animal welfare charities. 

When Kerry Bryan RVN heard that Buttercups Goat Sanctuary in Kent were struggling, she sent out texts and emails to friends asking them to consider donating or adopting/sponsoring a goat. Results were very good, she had friends adopting them for themselves and others. A friend's youngest daughter even donated her birthday money! Kerry also had a lockdown clear out of cupboards and managed to donate a big carrier bag of books to a local charity shop. It all helps!

However you decide to fundraise for your favourite animal welfare charity, don’t forget to register and add it to the World Animal Day website and we’ll promote it. After you add your event, we’ll send you a FREE logo flag!

For small charities, raising awareness of their existence and increasing their audience is hugely important. Follow your favourite animal welfare group on their social media platforms and share, share, share their posts!

Send us an email if you think of any great ideas to add – info@worldanimalday.org.uk.

- June 15, 2020