With the upward trend in online engagement for non-profits, it is imperative to ensure donating online is easy. Just the act of taking out their wallet, logging in to a donation portal, or deciding on an amount to donate may create a barrier to giving to your animal rescue or shelter.

We’ve compiled some quick tips and best practices that can be used by your animal rescue to maximize the donations you get online! Check them out below!

Dedicate a full page to Donating on your website.

Your animal rescue or shelters website will need a full webpage dedicated to donation, make it easy to share or link to the page directly. Having the full page dedicated to making it quick and easy to donate will allow page visitors and interested donors to give without having to do mental gymnastics to figure out how to support your organization.

On this page you may want to add an embeddable widget that cuts down on the decision making and steps donors must take, such as the one provided by Pawlytics. With this embedded donation widget, donors can simply select a pre-entered amount (or enter a custom amount), then fill in their name and credit card details. This widget will also automatically send them a receipt, cutting down on your work for accepting donations!

On this page, it may help to showcase to your donor how much each donation amount will impact the animals in your care. See this example webpage for how this could look for your animal rescue or shelter.

You’ll of course need a website for your animal rescue to complete this first step. If you don’t yet have a website, your website is hard to change/manage, or your looking for a general upgrade – don’t hesitate to read more about getting started here. At Pawlytics, our team of animal rescue experts offers Website Design, Development, and Hosting specifically for animal rescue and welfare organizations!

Promote your Donation Page across platforms and events!

Now that you have a page dedicated to making giving easy and you’ve laid out exactly how a donor can help animals in your care…its time to promote the page and leverage it across platforms and events! A few places that will be easy to share or link back to your donation page is on your social media pages such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. On Facebook you can create a post about how much each donation impacts the organization and pin it to the top of the Facebook page. On Instagram and Twitter you can also have the link always in your page’s “Bio” that sits at the top, making it easy for people to find. If your animal rescue or shelter sends out email newsletters, it would be advantageous to always have a section that links out to the donation page. Lastly, if you are planning for an in person event, you can use a free QR code generator, such as this one, to make it easy for people to scan and give right at an event!

Capitalize on the end of year donation momentum.

According to a Blackbaud study, November and December of 2021 accounted for 32.2% of all online donations given to animal welfare and animal rescue throughout the year. With the momentum already growing, you can capitalize on this by setting a large goal to encourage larger donations. People would rather donate to a $5,000 goal that already has $1,000 in the pot versus a $3,000 goal with $0 in the pot. Everyone loves to be part of a success story! Other ways to capitalize on the end of year momentum is to promote memorable animal rescue stories that were highlights of the year. If there were any stories that particularly stood out to or resonated with your online followers, now is the time to recap them and maybe even share an update!

Show appreciation to your existing donor base.

Our last tip, may sound obvious, but has less obvious benefits. Showing public and private appreciation to existing donors can inspire others to give, encourage the existing donors to give more, will increase donor retention, and strengthen donor relationships.

A few ways to show appreciation online could be: (1) Giving a nice dedication at the bottom of your main Donation webpage to your largest donors (with their permission); (2) Social medial shoutouts to smaller portion donors.

Bonus Tip: Gamify donating with the animals they are helping!

After working in animal sheltering and animal rescue for so long, I’ve seen some really creative donation drives online, especially since the pandemic when events went out the window. I’ve seen one animal shelter use their social media to post that for every $5 donated that particular day, each dog in their care would get an ice cream cone in the donors name (with a photo as proof on their social). This worked SO incredibly well and within 5 hours that animal shelter had raised thousands of dollars. Not only did it drive donations, it helped drive a few adoptions as well. People couldn’t resist how adorable the dogs looked getting sloppy eating ice cream from a cone through the photos posted online, and ran to the shelter to adopt some of them! I’ve seen similar techniques work with catnip for cats, stuffed Kongs for dogs, etc. Engaging the audience in donating online in a way that is sharable creates a win, win, win! Fun for the donors and animals, fun for your audience, donations for your animal rescue or shelter, and even potentially more adoptions!