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Pet shelters are often underfunded, leading them to not be able to accept all of the animals that need a place to stay. One of the best ways to show that you care for pets in your community, outside of adopting them of course, is to organize a fundraiser that benefits the shelter. There are many types of fundraisers to choose from, but they all involve the same basic set of steps you'll need to do for a successful event.

Photos with Santa is always a popular winter fundraiser.
Photo credit: pawlux.com
1. Choose an Event Type: Your fundraiser can be anything from a family fun day with a prize raffle to a fancy dinner gala complete with live entertainment. One popular type of event is a road race that people pay to enter and run, either with or without their pets in tow. Another fun event is a pet photo day, with a local photographer collecting donations for taking photos of pets and sending the digital photo to the owner through an online hosting service. The most important thing is to choose an event that people will pay for, but that will leave you with money to donate to the local pet shelter after paying the expenses.

2. Pick a Date and Location: Check your city's events calendar to choose a date when there is not another major event occurring. For example, you don't want to be competing with a large festival or a big sporting event. You should also choose a date at least one month away to give yourself adequate time to develop public interest and plan the event. Potential locations include city parks, the shelter itself and event facilities. Make sure you have the proper permissions or permits for your chosen location.

3. Advertise the Fundraiser: You're not going to raise any money if nobody participates in the fundraiser. Some of the best ways to advertise include word of mouth, invitations through the pet shelter, social media, flyers around the neighborhood and posting it on animal advocacy networks. Include the type of event, time, date, location, cost, shelter name and contact information so people can get answers to any questions they may have.

Silent auctions and raffles with donated items make
for successful and lucrative fundraisers.
Photo credit: govdeals-auction.com
4. Plan the Logistics: The most complicated part of organizing a fundraiser is nailing down all of the details necessary to have a smooth event. Some of the things you may need to arrange include catering, a sound system, decorations, donations of raffle prizes and additional volunteer assistance to make the event run smoothly. Making lists and thinking through each attendee's experience of the event, from start to finish, will help you get all of the details into place.

5. Host Your Event: After planning your fundraiser, it's time to step up to the plate and actually put on a great event. Make sure to have fun with it, because your enthusiasm will be contagious among the attendees. The most successful fundraisers are often ones that people really enjoy.

Many people who organize a pet shelter fundraiser go on to repeat it year after year to continue raising money. Your local shelter is sure to appreciate the help, and you'll also be able to advocate for shelter pets and increase awareness among the general public. Contact your local shelter today to get started organizing a fundraiser for them.

Cameron Tyler uses an online hosting service to help build the relationships he makes when putting on a fundraiser or charitable event

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