Animal rescues thrive off volunteer staff and the kindness of individuals in the communities they operate. Unfortunately, rescues need more than the kindness of someone’s heart to stay open. Costs for food, bedding, veterinary care, and shelter can become quite expensive, and donations are necessary to save the day. A photo contest can provide a fun opportunity to highlight shelter animals waiting for adoption while gaining much-needed donations with photo contest ideas like:

9 Animal Fundraising Ideas

  1. Happy Adoptions
  2. Current Rescues
  3. Seasons and Holidays
  4. Traveling Companions
  5. On Vacation
  6. Pet Fashion
  7. Tricks
  8. Rescue Events
  9. Glam Shots

A photo contest is one of the best animal rescue fundraising ideas since it allows the entire community to get involved. Thanks to the virtual nature of this fundraising idea, people from outside the community can participate, as well. It’s a win-win fundraising opportunity with the potential to be as big as the community wants it to be, using the power of crowdfunding and social media sharing.

9 Animal Rescue Fundraising Ideas for Photo Contests

If you’re an animal shelter or rescue in need of virtual fundraising ideas, consider one of these photo contest themes:

1. Happy Adoptions

When you’re looking for fundraising ideas for animal rescue needs, one of the best contest ideas focuses on what happens after the pups or kitties are rescued: a happy adoption. The goal of shelters is to place animals in safe, loving, forever homes. What better way to highlight the shelter’s work than by featuring pictures of happy adopted animals that were rescued and housed at the shelter?

To make this fundraising idea work, you’d want to put out a call to those in the community who adopted dogs and cats from your shelter. You could also start taking photos of willing participants on adoption day as pet owners arrive at the shelter to bring their new family member home.

This idea helps raise awareness for the work your shelter does, raises funds, and even gets more animals adopted during the contest because of the increased interest in the shelter.

2. Current Rescues

Featuring current rescues is one of the most widely utilized fundraising ideas for animal rescue groups. With this animal shelter fundraiser, you get to raise money for the shelter by featuring dogs and cats ready to be adopted. To feature current rescues, you’d want to take portraits of the animals in your care or take candid photos of them as they romp around the yard or play with toys inside.

The benefits of this animal shelter fundraising idea are twofold: first, the community gets to donate to the shelter by voting for their favorite dogs or kitties, second, there is increased interest in the rescues, and you could find an uptick in the number of pet adoption applications.

Highlighting the animals waiting for adoption is a great way to gain community interest, draw attention to the need for animal rescue, and demonstrate the work of your animal rescue group; all while getting more animals adopted and raising funds for the shelter.

3. Seasons and Holidays

Seasons and holidays are a fun photo contest themes for animal shelter fundraising. Most pet parents love dressing their furry friends in outfits for each season. Why not turn this fun idea into a photo contest and raise money for the shelter while you’re at it?

To run a photo contest based around seasons or holidays, put the call out to every animal lover in your community to submit photos of their furry or feathered friends decked out for the season. One of the best things about this animal rescue group fundraiser idea is that you can run it multiple times during the year.

During February, you can put out the call for Valentine’s themed pictures. From June through August, you can ask for summer fun photos. October can feature pets in Halloween costumes, while December can highlight animals enjoying the festive season along with their families. Fundraising efforts such as these are sure to get noticed, attract the attention of pet owners, and garner donations toward your fundraising goal.

4. Traveling Companions

If you have the combined goal of mixing animal shelter fundraising with pet adoption ideas, consider featuring a photo contest with the theme of “traveling companions.” Many pets make wonderful family members and traveling companions. Taking pets on drives, hikes, walks, bike rides, and trips to the park are activities many pet owners enjoy on a regular basis.

For this animal shelter fundraiser, ask for photographs featuring pets that act as a traveling companion. They could be riding in the car next to an owner, on a walk, jogging beside a bike rider, or even hanging out with their owner on a trip to the pet store for their favorite food. No matter where the pet owner goes, if their furry friend is with them, they have the opportunity to snap a picture and submit it for the contest.

5. On Vacation

Another fundraising idea features the theme of pets on vacation. This theme works especially well during late spring and summer, when families are already planning on vacationing and taking their pets with them.

There are several perks to this contest theme. First, it can help demonstrate that your rescue group helps match families with the type of pet that is just right—including animals that can go on vacation with their pet owners. Second, it can be a type of virtual pet event to raise awareness for the amazing pets in your community that were adopted from animal shelters. Finally, it helps encourage people to support your work and adopt animals from the shelter rather than purchasing them from a pet store.

6. Pet Fashion

While pets most often dress up for the holidays, there are plenty of pet parents who would jump at the opportunity to dress up their furry friend in style and snap a picture or two. The pet fashion theme focuses on fun styles of dressing up that are not necessarily holiday related. The greatest benefit of this fundraising idea is that it can easily be run at any point during the year. Everyone loves cat and dog fashion shows.

If you find your local shelter running low on funds for veterinary care, pet food, or expenses related to pet rescue missions, run this pet photo shoot contest and invite every dog owner and cat owner to submit their best photos. Supplement the virtual fundraising event by printing the top five pictures and placing them in the front office, along with a donation jar for people to vote in person with cash. Whether in-person or online, every small donation you receive will add up in support of your animal shelter.

7. Tricks

If you’re looking for a fun and unique way to raise money while creating a pet calendar to give away or sell, consider running a photo contest based on tricks and special moves that dogs and cats can perform.

This is a great opportunity to show off the new lives of former homeless animals. It’s also a great chance to highlight the dog training your shelter provides. If you want to hire a trainer, utilize this theme to show off the amazing things animals can do with a little training while reaching your fundraising goal to employ a part or full-time trainer.

Though this is a great theme you can implement anytime, consider running this photo contest during the warmer months when dogs and owners will already be outside playing catch, working on their high jump, and learning all sorts of new tricks to show off to visiting friends and families.

8. Rescue Events

Rescue events provide multiple opportunities to raise money for your local animal shelter in tandem with each other. Combine multiple animal shelter fundraising ideas into one by running a rescue event and featuring adoptable animals ready for their forever homes. In addition to the on-site traffic you’ll bring in with a community rescue and adoption event, charity dog walk, and awareness campaign, you’ll want to take photos of the adoptable animals and feature them in a photo contest.

You could take pictures of animals interacting with potential owners, performing tricks, playing indoors, or frolicking outside in the dog run. Then encourage those who attend the event (and those who don’t) to vote for their favorite. This gives you the opportunity to raise awareness for the shelter or rescue, help get adoptable animals into forever homes, and raise money from interested donors for things like vet bills, daily expenses to run the animal charity, or specific needs of your animal cause.

9. Glam Shots

Want to feature furry friends looking their best? Have some fun with a glam shots photo contest. Contribute glam shots of adoptable animals in your shelter or put out the call for pet owners who have adopted from your shelter to submit their own glam shot pics of their pets.

This contest can be run any time of the year, or you can combine this fun idea with a rescue or adoption event at your shelter by hiring a photographer to snap photos on-site when dogs and cats get adopted. New pet owners can be provided with a glam shot of their new family member, and their picture can be entered into the photo contest. Glam shots always raise interest in furry friends waiting for adoption and highlight the fun of bringing a new companion animal into your home.

Benefits of Photo Contests for Animal Rescues

A photo contest is an excellent opportunity to raise money for any animal shelter need that needs funding. There are so many fun themes to choose from, that it might be hard to pick just one. And once you learn how a photo contest works, you’ll be amazed how easy it is to set up.  

Hosting a photo contest for your animal shelter has plenty of benefits, including:

  • Easy to Set Up
  • Saves Time
  • No Extra Employees or Costs
  • Very Efficient (Low Cost, More Donations)
  • Gather Contact Info
  • Power of Crowdfunding and Social Sharing
  • Virtual and Covid Friendly
  • Fun!

We’ve seen tremendous success when animal shelters run these photo contests. In fact, we have so many happy clients, we’ve put together a page of photo contest success stories. We invite you to read through these stories and gain inspiration for your own.

Fundraising That Everyone Enjoys

Fundraising for your animal rescue is critical for providing much-needed vet care, food, and shelter for the animals you take in. But many fundraising ideas take more time, money, and staffing than you have. With a photo contest, you can make it as simple or extravagant as you want. You don’t need extra staff, and it won’t take from the funds you so desperately need to run the shelter. Instead, you’ll enjoy a fun, virtual event the entire community can get in on and tap into the power of crowdsourcing to raise much-needed funds.

Give us a call for a free demo and learn how to start your photo contest today!