If you’re like the majority of Americans, you probably own a four-legged ball of fur. According to the Insurance Information Institute, 68% of US households own pets, and are all too familiar with the sound of a thumping tail against the furniture, or that gentle purring early in the morning. Your pet’s presence is truly woven into the fabric of your everyday life.
That’s why when your pet goes missing, falls ill, or needs emergency surgery, it can shake your foundation and leave you feeling anxious about the future.
Crowdfunding for pet expenses can ease financial burdens and allow you to get your pal the help they need, right when they need it. Whether you own a cat, dog, guinea pig, bullfrog—or any animal in between—this pet fundraising guide offers fundraising tips for animals that will double the donations for your pet fundraiser.
Four ways pet fundraising can make a difference
Maybe your pup was injured on a hike and now you need help with vet bills. Or perhaps you just need some cash to get your chicken sanctuary off the ground. Take a look at four ways that raising money on GoFundMe can help you and your pet.
1. Fundraise for pet emergencies and accidents
Americans spent over $69 billion on their pets in 2017, according to the American Pet Products Association. This is no surprise when considering that emergency vet services can run into the thousands. It would be ideal to have money earmarked for our four-legged friends, but we’re often caught financially unprepared in emergency situations.
Sir Thomas Trueheart, a brave feline, is just one kitty who experienced an emergency and needed some serious help. Sir Thomas was found wandering around blind with severe injuries after a cruel human doused the fluffy cat’s face in acid.
A good Samaritan took him to the vet where he stayed for over a month, receiving pricey pain meds, surgeries, and skin grafts. To help offset the enormous vet bills, his rescuer created a pet fundraiser on GoFundMe and raised over $13,000. In the end, Sir Thomas lost an eye and will have lifelong medical issues, but he made an incredible recovery from the traumatic event and now lives peacefully with people who love him.
2. Fundraise for pet travel expenses
Airfare isn’t only expensive for humans; airlines still charge a pretty penny if your pet has to be checked as cargo. Maybe you’re moving and need to get your dog from point A to point B, or maybe you need to buy a plane ticket for yourself so you can reach your newly adopted buddy. Starting an online fundraiser can help you offset these travel expenses.
That’s exactly what Ilona Thomas did when she needed to be reunited with her beloved cat Mellow. In 2011, Mellow escaped from home and was never seen again. A whopping six years later, Ilona received a phone call: someone had found Mellow. Ilona had moved out of state by that point, so she created her fundraiser, Bring Mellow Home, to buy a plane ticket for the kind soul who had found Mellow.
3. Fundraise for euthanasia and cremation costs
It’s certainly not something you want to think about, but you may be at the point where ending your best friend’s suffering is the right thing to do. Sadly, in-home animal euthanasia can cost anywhere from $325 to $375, according to an article by The Mercury News, and cremation can run anywhere from $85 to $400.
Starting a fundraiser for these costs allows you to send your pet off in dignity as soon as it’s needed. That’s what Ashley felt she had to do when her dog Gypsy was diagnosed with cancer and became very ill. Her GoFundMe fundraiser allowed her to pay for in-home euthanasia so Gypsy could feel comfortable and safe in her last moments.
4. Start a pet fundraiser to support your favorite animal organizations
If you’re part of a nonprofit doing good for animals far and wide, you can attest to the amount of money it takes to run an organization. Or perhaps you just need funding to get your organization off the ground. Pet fundraising helps you raise the money you need to get your 501(c)(3) Certified Charity status and pay for any startup costs that arise while launching your charity.
Jason Parker relied on GoFundMe to help him start his very own nonprofit called Gunnar’s Wheels. The organization’s name pays tribute to Gunnar, his black labrador that was hit by a truck and left paraplegic. Gunnar’s Wheels provides injured or disabled pups with wheelchair carts that their owners can’t afford. When Jason discovered that the carts cost between $125 and $700, he knew some extra money was needed to make his dream a reality. Thankfully, he was able to raise over $136,000 through GoFundMe to help other doggos get around and live their best lives.
For more inspiration, read Fundraising Ideas for Animal Charity.
Five powerful tips to help your pet fundraiser reach more donors
When starting a fundraiser from scratch, it can be tough to know exactly what information to include and how to get your cause out there to the masses. Not to worry—we’ve got five tips to get you off to a purrrrrfect start.
1. Tell your pet’s story
Who doesn’t love being immersed in a riveting tale? And when the protagonist is an adorable pet in need, animal lovers won’t be able to resist.
To engage your potential supporters, you’ll want to write a fundraiser story that truly explains what your pet means to you and why you need help. You’ll want to include multiple photos of your pet, since everyone knows that nothing brings in new donors like adorable animal pics.
For more specific tips, take a look at our blog post Writing Your Fundraiser Story: A Comprehensive Guide. Or read the story of Penny Chicken, a Silkie chicken with a fantastic hairdo, for a wonderful example of what a compelling story looks like.
2. Step up your social media game
When your fundraiser starts to gain traction on social media, new donations usually follow. You may think that sharing your fundraiser link on Facebook is the only way to get your fundraiser in the public eye, but we’ve got a few more ideas to help. Caitlin Stewart’s GoFundMe for her animal rescue farm is a great example of how a strong social media presence can lead to fundraising success.
Create a unique hashtag
A short, punchy fundraiser hashtag will help drive attention to your cause and encourage your network to share your fundraiser link. Use your hashtag in your Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook posts to make them more shareable. Need some help brainstorming? Read our blog post How to Create a Fundraiser Hashtag That Inspires Donations.
Twitter, if nothing else, is a place where animal lovers unite. Accounts like We Rate Dogs have rallied support for GoFundMe dog fundraisers in the past. Upload a cute photo of your pet in a Tweet, and include a few popular pet hashtags. You never know who will take notice.
Need more ideas? Take a look at our blog post How to Fundraise on Twitter to Get More Donations.
Use Facebook Messenger
It’s important to post your fundraiser link on your Facebook Timeline, but why not also use Facebook Messenger? You can send individualized messages to your close friends and family members via Facebook Messenger and make a more personal connection. Our blog post Your Guide to Facebook Fundraising offers plenty of other tips.
Try out Instagram
Instagram was practically invented for sharing cute animal photos. Screenshot a photo of your fundraiser page or your pet’s best headshot, and then share this on Instagram with a short message explaining your cause. Don’t forget to include the link to your fundraiser in your Instagram bio so you can tell people, “Click the GoFundMe link in my bio to donate!”
3. Be transparent with your needs
Knowing how to quickly raise money for your pet’s surgery can be daunting. If you have some seriously large vet bills to pay, you may want to share pictures of those on your fundraiser page. Not only will this help your fundraiser gain legitimacy, but it will also give your supporters a clearer understanding of your exact needs. If you post a photo of any bills, be sure to cover up any sensitive information, such as your address or payment information.
Troy Bowman’s fundraiser for his beautiful white husky pup named Blue is just one example of how to be transparent when fundraising.
4. Rely on your offline community
The internet has no shortage of cute animal content posted and viewed by a thriving community of animal lovers. If you’ve already found support online, why not try sharing offline for maximum results? Online fundraising without social media can be very effective when done well. Here are just a few ways to check in with people in real life.
Make it personal
Reach out to your friends and family members via text message, email, and phone. You’d be surprised what a difference a personal message can make. Fundraising email templates can give you a helpful general framework for your personalized messages.
Print fundraiser flyers
Rallying the support of your community is one offline fundraising strategy. Hit the pavement and pass out flyers for your fundraiser, or post them in your favorite shops—especially pet shops.
Connect with the animal community
Find animal groups in your community, and meet up with them to get the word out about your cause. Nextdoor and Facebook are good places to start looking.
5. Post frequent fundraiser updates
Once your friends and family members contribute to your fundraiser, they’ll likely be asking themselves, “Well, what happened?” Don’t leave your supporters hanging. Be sure to post frequent updates to keep people in the loop. You can also use fundraising updates as a way to thank your donors or let everyone know you need continued support.
Progress photos, as well as progress videos, are a wonderful way for your supporters to feel connected to your fundraiser, and people will be more likely to donate again or share your fundraiser with others.
Ready to start your successful pet fundraiser?
Whether it’s a rattlesnake bite, a food mishap, or a long-term illness, we understand that life with a pet isn’t always easy. Regardless, it’s important that you’re able to provide your pet with the love and financial care they need, when they need it. If you’re running short on funds, then GoFundMe is here to help. Take the first step by starting a fundraiser for your furry friend today.