By Jennifer Copley (Last Updated 6 December 2011)
Having a sick or injured pet can be extremely expensive. Some popular fundraising approaches that can be used to raise money for veterinary bills include tournaments, sponsored activities, contests, sales, auctions, teaching, events, prize draws, and collections.
Hold a tournament and have friends, family, and coworkers pay to enter. Possible tournament activities include:
- Board games
Sign up sponsors for an athletic activity such as swimming, running, aerobics, or anything else that you can do for a long time. Ask people you know to participate as well, and have sponsors either make a donation for the completed activity (100 laps in the pool, 26 miles run) or pay a certain amount for each mile, lap, or hour.
Another way to raise money is to give up a bad habit such as smoking (or have someone you know do this) and have friends, family, and coworkers donate a certain amount of money for each day without a cigarette, up to a set number of days. Alternatively, you could quit smoking or drinking and put the savings toward the vet bills. Ask friends and family to do the same – they may be more likely to succeed if it’s for a good cause.
To raise money through contests, have people pay to enter and offer a prize to the winner. Prizes could be anything from homemade baked goods to handcrafts to gifts someone else donates to the cause. Some popular contest ideas include:
- Having coworkers bring in baby pictures and seeing who can correctly match the most pictures to adult coworkers
- Hosting a cake decorating, baking, or cooking contest
- Getting coworkers to guess how many jelly beans are in a jar
- Holding a model boat or rubber duck race
- Playing a few seconds of various songs and seeing who can guess the most song titles correctly
There are plenty of things that can be sold to raise quick money, including baked goods, arts and crafts, books, plants, and second-hand items. If you have a creative flair, you could make unique items such as homemade fortune cookies with unusual or hilarious fortunes inside and sell them to people you know.
Having friends, family, or neighbours to participate in a multi-family yard sale will raise more money than a single-person sale. You can also ask people to give you unwanted gifts they’ve received and resell these on eBay or at a garage sale. Many people hang onto such gifts out of a sense of guilt, but will part with them on behalf of a good cause. Additionally, you can ask everyone you know to donate old books they’ll never read again and hold a book sale, either live or online.
As long as they’re well-promoted (in other words, e-mail everyone you know and ask them to tell their friends), auctions can be good money makers. If you have creative talent, you could make gift baskets, jewellery, pet toys, and other items and auction them off either live or online.
You could also auction your services to coworkers, friends, or family. Participants bid on a set number of hours of a service, and the highest bidder wins it. Service ideas include:
- Cooking or baking
- Helping someone move
- House painting
- Lawn or garden care
- Minor household repairs
- Running errands
- Shovelling snow
- Tarot card, astrology, or palmistry readings
There are many more possibilities depending on your preferences and abilities, as well as the needs of bidders.
Ask around to see if anyone you know (or anyone they know) is interested in learning something that you’re good at and sell lessons. Some teaching ideas include:
- Computer skills
- Cooking or baking
- English or another language
- Flower arranging
- Household repairs
- Weight training
- Writing skills
More money can be made by holding classes with a number of people rather than just one at a time. Offer a discount for pairs and groups, and ask people you know to tell their friends. You could also put up fliers at universities, local businesses, and your workplace. However, if teaching strangers, choose subjects that can be taught in public places, such as cafes, gyms, or local community centers.
Hosted events are a fun way to raise money and get everyone together. Attendees make a donation either in advance or at the door, and may also donate prizes, food, or other items. If you know people with musical or other talents, they might be persuaded to perform on behalf of the cause as well. Donation event ideas include:
- Arts and crafts nights
- Pub quizzes
- Treasure hunts
Other fundraising activities, such as prize draws, can be combined with these events.
There are a couple of different ways to do a prize draw. The first is to sell tickets and offer prizes that you make or others donate. Prizes don’t necessarily have to be items – they could be services such as household repairs, yard work, or cleaning. The other type of prize draw is a 50-50, where people buy tickets and the winner gets half the pot, while the other half goes to the cause.
Make collection boxes with a picture of your pet and an explanation of the medical problems that require treatment. Get permission to put the boxes on counters at work, local stores, and other places. There are also more amusing ways to collect money, such as setting up a swear jar at work.
GiveForward is an online fundraising tool that people can use to make personal fundraising pages for any cause. The service has helped many pet owners raise the money they needed to cover veterinary expenses.
There are a number of organizations that assist people who can’t afford to pay vet bills for their companion animals. For more information on this, see Charities That Help Pay Vet Bills.