Cat Rescue Fundraising: Tips and Best Practices for Feline Welfare Organisations

The Importance of Fundraising for Feline Welfare

The cats in your care need all the help they can get. And with more than 250,000 animals going to rescue shelters in the UK every year, your organisation will need all the help you can give, too. You’re no doubt facing funding pressures every day, with the food you need to buy, medical supplies you need to source and the cost of your energy bills. Not to mention maintenance and updates for your shelter. 

Your fundraising efforts will be vital to the future of your organisation and the lives of the cats in your care. To help, here we’ll run through some key fundraising ideas and some tips for success. 

Fundraising Ideas for Cat Rescue

Let’s start off with a few fundraising ideas to get you thinking. 

Themed Fundraising Events

Events are a great way to boost your coffers. And to really get people engaged about your work, why not theme them around cats? 

You can run a cat themed quiz night at the shelter and hold a cat themed tombola at the interval. You could opt for a movie night with the local kids and show Puss in Boots or another cat themed film. Another great idea where the cats are the real star attraction is a play session where you invite local people in to play with your cats. It could be a de-stressing session for the adults or a chance for kids to bond with animals. 

Online Quiz Nights

An online quiz is a perfect idea to help generate some funds. By holding it online, you don’t need to secure a venue and ask people to travel. Instead for the small price of a ticket, they can simply log into your quiz and play from the comfort of their own home. 

You’ll need to sell tickets to the quiz, whether online or in person and decide on your mechanism for hosting. Video conferencing software – like Zoom or Microsoft Teams – is ideal as it enables you to let people in once they arrive online and have control over proceedings. You can also share your screen for the picture round for example. 

Prepping your questions well in advance is essential. Remember, to keep people entertained you need to aim for a certain level of difficulty. Too easy and it’s boring, too hard and it can be disheartening. Also try and limit it to a few rounds as you don’t want it to drag on and on – you want to keep all your competitors engaged. 

Adopt-a-Cat Campaigns

By running an adopt-a-cat campaign you’re directly asking people for help with your animals. You can ask people to sponsor animals in your care, where they simply donate funds to a particular animal’s welfare. Or you can ask them to go the whole way and rehome one of your cats. 

Running a campaign like this has a dual purpose, as it enables you to fundraise but also find loving homes for your animals. You can use social media and your website to kick off your campaign digitally, shouting about the great work you do at the shelter and the cats that are looking for new homes, with a call to action to donate or learn more about adoption. You can then also run an adopt-a-cat day where people come to visit the shelter and meet their potential new feline friend. 

Online Fundraising Strategies for Cat Rescue

The digital world holds plenty of opportunities to help with your fundraising efforts. 

Crowdfunding and Online Donations

Crowdfunding offers a unique solution to help bolster your fundraising. With crowdfunding, you ask people for funds to help you reach a specific target. For example, you might be raising funds for some new facilities for the cats. Often you will need to give a sliding scale of prizes against donations. For example, if people donate a certain amount, they can get some cat themed merchandise or for a little more they could win a bigger prize like a night at a cat-friendly spa retreat. 

Aside from crowdfunding, easyfundraising helps you to raise ongoing cash to supplement any other fundraising efforts. All you need to do is sign up on our website and create a page for your organisation. Your supporters can then donate to you simply by shopping online with one of our 7,500+ online retailers. When they do, the retailer takes a portion of their spend and donates it to you, at no extra cost to your supporters. It doesn’t cost your organisation anything either. 

The key for both crowdfunding and using easyfundraising is how you tell your story. For each, you need to create a page detailing your fundraising target and with key information about your shelter and the work you do. People respond to stories, and they want to connect with something on an emotional level. Use emotive imagery of your cats, explain what they’ve been through and explain exactly how funding your shelter continues to give them better lives. 

Then you’ll need to promote it on social media to get your potential supporters interested and engaged, with simple and clear information on how they can donate. 

Social Media Fundraising

Your social media channels should play a central role in your fundraising strategy. When you’re dealing with cute animals, you can use them to your advantage. Visual platforms like Instagram and TikTok are ideal to showcase the lovable animals in your care. You can also use Instagram to run online fundraising competitions like photo competitions. 

Facebook is ideal for providing slightly longer updates about what’s going on at the shelter and to tell deeper stories about some of the cats in your care, while Twitter works for sharing quick updates and news about the goings on at your shelter. 

You can share links to your digital fundraising initiatives – whether crowdfunding or easyfundraising – across all of these platforms with a call to action of how people can donate. But don’t just share the link and say, “donate here”. Think about your messaging, the tone and the story you’re trying to tell. If you can pull on people’s heartstrings and help them to engage emotionally, you’ll have fundraising success. Also, don’t ignore LinkedIn, as it’s a great place to engage with potential corporate sponsors and donors. 

With social media fundraising, don’t try and spread yourself too thin. If you’re already active on a couple of platforms and have a community built there already, use these channels in your fundraising. After all, this is where your supporters already are, so you don’t need to spend time building a new community from scratch. 

Engaging the Community in Cat Rescue Fundraising

The real-world community around you should play a vital role in your fundraising efforts too. 

Collaborating with Local Businesses

There are numerous ways you can collaborate with local businesses. You no doubt already have good relationships with the local vets in the area through your day-to-day work. This can help with your fundraising too. If you’re running an event, whether an open day, adoption day or a cat themed movie night, you can ask the vets to put posters up in their surgery waiting room. If they’re also active on social media, you can ask them to regularly share your fundraising posts. And why not ask them to put a donation box in their waiting room too? 

When you’re hosting an event like a summer fair or an open day at the rescue, you can also engage with the local pet shop and ask them to run a stall. They might also consider sponsoring your event as well. 

When it comes to sponsorship, you don’t need to limit yourself to businesses that focus on animals. You can reach out to other organisations in your community and discuss the potential for sponsorship with them. Remember, this is a commercial relationship for the business, so they will need to fully understand what they get from the reciprocal relationship. Which people and audiences will be exposed to their organisation and how? Will this be through in-person events or your online fundraising? You need to be super clear in your communications with potential sponsors. 

Collaborations with local businesses don’t just have to involve sponsorship. A cat themed movie night could be held at the local independent cinema, you can do a quiz night at the local pub and also ask companies in your area for donations to your tombola or raffle. 

Whatever the business and whatever your goal for engaging with them, it all comes down to communication. You need to clearly explain what you do, the benefits for the animals and how any help from them, however small, can make a big impact. 

Involving Schools and Youth Groups

Schools and youth groups can be invaluable to your fundraising efforts. There’s nothing like a group of highly motivated children getting behind you and your shelter. 

You can collaborate with schools and youth groups in a variety of ways, including asking the children to come up with their own sponsorship ideas and getting them to volunteer at your shelter or at your fundraising events. If the school is hosting a summer fair for example, you may be able to have a stall where you can speak to parents and guests about your vital work. 

But first, you need to engage. The first step is to reach out to the school or youth group and invite them to see first-hand what you do. This could be an open day or a school specific visit. First, let the children meet the animals with immersive play sessions and then hold educational sessions about the animals and your work. As the kids will be learning, it’s good for their school education and it will also help them believe in your cause. Hopefully, it will then be the start of a collaborative relationship with the school and the children. 

Navigating the Path to Fundraising Success

Fundraising is so important to the future of your shelter. You’ll need to plan a full fundraising calendar, detailing your specific events and fundraising activities each month with how much it will cost and what you hope to secure in fundraising. As you’re working with animals, you have a great chance to get creative with your fundraising ideas and truly create emotive fundraising campaigns. With the power of digital fundraising and social media, you have the opportunity to secure ongoing funds in the online world to help bolster any key fundraising events and initiatives. And don’t forget the importance of the local community around you too.