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How to Support Dog Charities
If you love dogs, you want to help them in any way you can, right? Charities for dogs help dogs and their owners in a number of ways, from rescuing dogs to training assistance dogs and advocating for animal rights, as well as many other functions. Their needs can be a little different, depending on the type of organization they are. However, almost all dog charities can use help from people like you in three forms: donating, volunteering, and raising awareness.
Making Financial Donations
Find a charity.Before you can support a dog charity, you need to find one that deserves your support. Start with your local community. Most cities and states have a registry of nonprofits, where you can find legitimate dog charities. When looking at a charity, it's good to find out if it has 501(3)c status, meaning it's registered as a nonprofit with the federal government.
- Try a site like Charity Navigator to see what it has to say about the charity you want to support. Sites like these evaluate charities. You can also check with the Better Business Bureau Giving Alliance.
- If you have a vet for your own pets, you could ask what charities they support.
Make a one-time donation.A simple way to help your favorite dog charity is to make a one-time donation of a set amount. Charities run on donations, so anything you can offer will be a help. Their dogs will thank you for the help you provide.
- Set up a regular donation. Another way to donate to your favorite dog charity is to set up a regular monthly donation. You can treat it like a bill that comes out of your check each month. Some charities have ways to set this up, but you can also just include it in your bills and mail a check each month.
- Most charities take donations in a variety of ways. Often, you can donate online or by check.
- Keep in mind that a donation to a non-profit is tax deductible, meaning you can use it as a deduction on your taxes.
Include a charity in your will.One way to help a dog charity is to include it as part of your will. If you don't have much extra cash now, leaving a bit after you die can still help the charity. Talk to your lawyer about including it as a bequest in your will.
Participate in the dog charity's fundraisers.Most charities run their own fundraisers to raise funds. You may not even need to donate to participate. For instance, some fundraisers, such as 5K charity races, give you the chance to ask other people to sponsor you to walk or run in the race. You'll need to ask your friends and family to support you and the charity.
- Another example may be a phone campaign, where you make phone calls to ask for donations, or a letter campaign, where you help put together mail-outs asking for donations.
- If you don't know how to approach your friends and family, try this approach: "Hi, I'm walking in the Homes for Dogs 5K to raise money for the charity. They help rehouse over 250 dogs per year, but they need help to keep running. Would you like to sponsor me for the 5K? Every little bit helps."
Giving Time and Resources
Walk dogs.Not all dog charities have dogs actually on campus, but many do. Those dogs get attention from the people who work at the organization, but most of the time, an organization has too many dogs for each one to get the attention it needs. By volunteering your time to walk dogs, you'll be giving the dogs the attention they need, plus giving much-needed relief to people who work at the organization.
- Often, you'll need to complete a short orientation before volunteering. Many places have age requirements, so call ahead.
Help plan events.Another way you can help your local dog charity is to volunteer to help plan or run events. Charities often have limited staff members, and volunteering your time can help the events come off without a hitch.
- For instance, maybe you can volunteer to run a table at a fundraiser.
- Alternatively, maybe you can check in people at an adoption event.
Put your skills to use.Even if you're not great with animals, you can still contribute to a dog charity. The key is to offer what skills you do have to the group, as expert help is always needed. Think about the skills you have that could be beneficial to a charity.
- For instance, if you're good at writing, you could assist with grant writing.
- On the other hand, if you're in publicity, you could offer to help the charity publicize events.
Donate supplies.Another option is to donate supplies that the group may need. Many dog charities need all sorts of dog supplies, and they may even take some supplies used, such as dog crates. They'll also need things like dog food, leashes, collars, and blankets.
Adopt a dog.Not all dog charities are rescues. However, for those that are, one great way you can support the charity is to adopt a dog. The main goal of these charities is to find good homes for the all the dogs that come through, and if you can provide one, that's a great way to offer your help.
- To adopt a dog, you take the dog into your home permanently. Often, older dogs need homes more desperately because most people go for puppies or young dogs. However, older dogs still have a lot of love to give.
- If adoption sounds like too much of a commitment, consider fostering. Many rescues don't have large facilities, so they put dogs and other pets into foster homes until the pet can be adopted. That way, you only provide a temporary home for the dog, but you play an important part in helping the dog find a home.
Make your birthday matter.One way you can encourage others to donate to a dog charity of your choice is to make your birthday about that charity. For instance, you can set a fundraising goal, then ask your friends to give to that charity instead of buying you birthday presents.
- If you post on social media, you could write something like, "My birthday is in two weeks (I know, happy birthday to me!). If you were thinking about getting me a gift this year, consider donating to Homes for Dogs instead. I have more than I need, but this charity helps local dogs find forever homes. I'll leave a link below if you'd like to help."
Write guest posts for the charity's social media.One way you can help raise awareness is to give your time to help the charity publicize themselves on social media. For instance, you could volunteer to write blog posts or to take over the charity's Facebook posts.
- Offer your services as a volunteer. Contact the charity, and say, "I've noticed that your social media doesn't get as much love as it could. Do you need a volunteer to help with that? I'd like to help."
Raise awareness on your own social media.You don't need to have access to the dog charity's accounts to raise awareness for the charity. You can do it all on your own. If you know the group is having a fundraiser, for instance, post it on your own social media accounts. You can also help advertise when the group tries to get dogs adopted, if it's a rescue.
- For instance, you could write, "Look at Johnny's big brown eyes! He's up for adoption with Homes for Dogs. Will you be his forever home? If you can't commit to adopting Johnny here, think about donating to the organization.
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