A Guide to Providing Coronavirus Relief for Animal Shelters

young man petting a dog that is laying on the ground
| 7 min read Crowdfunding

People are not the only ones that need financial help during coronavirus. Animal shelters and other organisations providing help to our furry friends are among the most impacted by the effects of the pandemic. While there has been some good news, such as big increases in adoptions and pet fostering, animal shelters face financial challenges and other shortfalls that make surviving the crisis difficult. In order to make sure these organisations make it through the current crisis, it’s important we all look for ways to provide coronavirus relief for animal shelters. Finding ways to support such crucial organisations during this time can help them weather the pandemic and ensure their survival so that they can keep taking care of our furry friends. 

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Five easy ways you can help animal shelters affected by the coronavirus

From donations to virtual volunteering, you can do your part to help animal rescues in your community or across the world. To get you started in helping animal shelters affected by coronavirus, we’ve put together this short list of ways you can make a difference. 

1. Donate to a shelter

The easiest way to help is by making a monetary donation to an animal shelter. You can opt to donate to large organisations, like NSW Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service (WIRES) or Humane Society International, but another great option is to find a small organisation that needs financial help.

Donate to a local shelter

To find an animal shelter in your area, you can use a nonprofit directory, like Pro Bono Australia’s Guide To Giving. If there aren’t any shelters in your local community, use the directory to locate shelters that may need support. 

Donate to shelters in other countries

Animal rescues in Australia are not the only ones struggling during the pandemic. Animal shelters in developing countries may be feeling the pain more than other places. Organisations like the Humane Society International are a great place to start if you want to help international efforts. You can also search across Instagram and Twitter for smaller independent shelters, such as Animal Rights And Rescue Lismore, that need support and are not funded by any large organisations or government funding. 

2. Donate supplies 

You can also provide coronavirus relief for animal shelters by donating supplies. Animal shelters depend on donations of all kinds in order to survive and that includes basic supplies. Here are just a few of the most needed items:

  • Unopened pet food, including treats
  • Leashes, collars, and harnesses
  • Blankets and towels
  • Cleaning supplies and office supplies

This is just a short list of things shelters may need, so it may be helpful to call your local shelter and ask them if they are in need of any specific items or supplies. 

3. Fundraise for an animal shelter

Like many nonprofits, animal shelters rely on in-person events to get support but with stay-at-home orders in effect they may not be getting the funds they need to operate and provide care to animals. By creating a fundraiser for a shelter, you can help them get through this tough period and ensure all the animals in their care have what they need. Get creative with the way you fundraise by creating a fundraiser during an important milestone for yourself. Here’s a few examples to get you going: 

Start a birthday fundraiser for a local animal shelter

Being stuck inside during your birthday doesn’t have to limit your ability to help. Create a fundraiser in honor of your birthday and ask for donations rather than gifts. 

Start a fundraiser for a big life event

While coronavirus has forced many to cancel big celebrations, it hasn’t canceled the big life events that were the reason for those celebrations—coronavirus weddings go on, and people are celebrating births and anniversaries. Consider celebrating your life event by starting a fundraiser for a local shelter. Rather than gifts or a registry, fundraisers can serve as a way to celebrate a big milestone and give back to those that need it most during the crisis. 

4. Virtual volunteering

At some animal shelters, it may be hard or impossible to volunteer for in-person, but there might be other ways you can help. First, if you’re tech savvy, offer to help animal shelters with their online presence. This can mean helping them update an outdated website or offering to help share their message on social media. The best part of volunteering virtually is you can do it from anywhere, which means you can reach out to shelters across the country and offer your support. 

5. Sponsor an animal at a shelter

If you want to find another way to help, some animal shelters may offer sponsorship programs where you can sponsor an animal for an ongoing period. A good example is the Pawsitivity Service Dogs service that re-homes animals that were displaced during the Australian bushfires. Other organisations wll have similar programs that allow you to make a donation that will pay for a spay or neuter procedure for an animal, or other treatments for animals in their care. 

How you can get help if you run an animal shelter

If you run one of the many animal shelters that have been affected by coronavirus, there are ways you can continue to encourage support for your organisation. Below, is a short list of some of the most impactful options you should consider as you decide what best suits your organisation and its resources. 

Improve your online and social strategy

If you have an opportunity, consider updating any out-of-date information on your website and decluttering your home page. Make it easy for people to find what’s most important to your organisation, like donation pages, contact details, and ways people can provide support for your organisation during coronavirus. 

Also, invest some time into your social media strategy. With so many people at home, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook are a great way to share your organisation’s story and ask for support. Post photos and updates about how animals at your shelter are doing and ask for donations, sponsorships, or anything else your organisation needs. 

Related reading: Do You Need To Raise Money Quickly? Try These Fast Fundraising Ideas

Create an online fundraiser

You can bolster your online arsenal by creating a fundraiser that’s easy to share with your network. fundraising platforms like GoFundMe, are a reliable and safe way to get support from donors. You can easily share the fundraiser on social media or email, and funds can be sent directly to your nonprofit. 

Right now, fundraising for coronavirus relief can be seen across GoFundMe as thousands of people and organisations use the platform to help those affected by COVID-19, or to raise funds for themselves. By creating a fundraiser like this, you can expand your reach as your supporters can easily share your fundraiser with their extended network and help you get more donations. 

Help animal shelters affected by coronavirus today

When it comes to making sure animal shelters have the resources and funding they need during coronavirus, crowdfunding is among the best options for that. If you want to help an animal shelter, or you want to find funding for a shelter you already work with, get started today on GoFundMe. Within minutes you can start sharing your fundraiser with your network to get funds to organisations in need. 

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