You’ve likely heard of a car wash fundraiser, where volunteers wash cars to raise money for a charitable cause. But what about a dog wash fundraiser?
A dog wash fundraiser is an easy and unique spin on the car wash, perfect for supporting animal-related causes. Instead of washing cars, volunteers will pamper four-legged friends! In exchange for this service, participating dog owners will donate cash to your nonprofit.
If this sounds like the right fit for your nonprofit, follow these steps to host a successful event.
1. Build a Strong Volunteer Base
Volunteers are the backbone of any fundraising event. Follow these volunteer management best practices to build a strong team:
- Recruit for multiple roles. Define and communicate the specific volunteer roles and responsibilities needed for the dog wash fundraiser. Some volunteers may be comfortable with dog handling, while others may prefer administrative or logistical tasks. Offer a range of roles and flexible scheduling options to accommodate different preferences and time commitments.
- Lead training sessions. Conduct orientation sessions or training workshops before the fundraiser to familiarize volunteers with your nonprofit’s mission, the event’s goals, and their respective roles. Consider bringing in a professional to provide expert guidance on dog handling and safety protocols.
- Foster a sense of community. Create a sense of belonging and community among volunteers by organizing social events or gatherings outside of the fundraiser. Building camaraderie can encourage volunteers to stay engaged and return for future events.
Consider conducting background checks or screening processes for volunteers to protect the safety of both dogs and participants.
2. Find the Right Venue
Finding the right venue for your dog wash fundraiser is essential to ensure the event’s success and safety. Whether you’re hoping to host the event for free at a local park or rent out a space at a dog business, keep these tips in mind:
- Consider accessibility and space. Look for a venue that is easily accessible to both volunteers and participants. Choose a location with ample parking or good public transportation options. Additionally, assess the available space to ensure it can accommodate the number of dog washing stations and other event components you plan to have comfortably. Keep in mind the need for safe and efficient traffic flow for dogs and their owners.
- Check for amenities. Look for a venue with access to water sources and drainage facilities, as these are essential for dog washing. Ensure there are enough hose hookups for the number of washing stations you plan to set up. Additionally, there should be restrooms for volunteers and participants, shaded areas for waiting, and dog waste disposal options.
When looking for a venue, you should also consider local regulations and permits that may be required for a public dog wash event. For example, a public park may require proper waste disposal and leashes for all dogs, whereas a private business may have a noise ordinance.
3. Advertise Across Multiple Channels
Sharing the specifics (who, what, when, where, and why) of your event in an engaging format will encourage more people to register. Multi-channel marketing can be a useful tool for this, as it allows you to reach a wider and more diverse audience.
Plan to take a multi-pronged marketing approach that accounts for the following channels:
- Email: If you have an email list of potential supporters, send out a well-designed email campaign to promote your dog wash fundraiser. Include compelling visuals, event details, a clear call to action, and a link to your website or social media pages for more information.
- Website: Add a dedicated event page to your nonprofit’s website with the schedule, pricing, FAQs, team bios, sponsors, and any other relevant information. Make sure the webpage is visually appealing, easy to navigate, and mobile-friendly.
- Social media: Post photos and videos of happy, clean dogs and include event details in the caption. Additionally, consider reaching out to influencers in the animal welfare space and asking them to post in support of the fundraiser. If a well-known dog daycare business owner or animal rights advocate were to endorse your event, you could convince their followers to attend.
- Print marketing: Create eye-catching flyers and posters that provide information about your fundraiser, including the date, time, location, and purpose. Distribute these materials in high-traffic areas such as community centers, pet stores, and parks.
For the best results, keep your nonprofit’s branding elements, including its logo, color scheme, and typography, consistent across channels. Doing so will reinforce your event’s professionalism and help you build trust with potential attendees.
4. Gather the Necessary Dog Wash Supplies
Now, it’s time to gather the supplies you’ll need to properly run your fundraiser. Ask local businesses or pet supply stores to donate or offer discounts on the following supplies:
- Shampoo and conditioner: High-quality dog shampoo and conditioner are essential for a thorough and gentle wash. Choose products that are safe for dogs and consider options for different coat types and sensitivities.
- A water source: You’ll need a water source, along with one or more hoses, to provide water for the dog wash. Ensure that you have a consistent water supply and enough hoses to reach all of your washing stations.
- Towels and drying equipment: Have an ample supply of clean, absorbent towels for drying the dogs after their wash. Consider using a dedicated drying station with blow dryers or industrial fans to speed up the drying process.
Additionally, consider using automated tools like Gingr’s dog grooming software to manage registrations, record keeping, and donation tracking. The platform can also assist in scheduling volunteer shifts and ensuring a smooth flow of dogs through the wash stations.
5. Wash the Dogs!
On the day of the event, volunteers and participants will gather at the designated venue where dog washing stations are set up. In return for a donation, the participants’ dogs will be bathed, rinsed, and dried by volunteers.
To ensure that this process goes smoothly, be sure to:
- Use positive reinforcement. Approach each dog with patience and a gentle touch. Many dogs may be nervous or unfamiliar with the grooming process, so it’s essential to use positive reinforcement techniques. Offer treats and praise to reward good behavior, and avoid using force or harsh handling. Always respect the dog’s boundaries and comfort level.
- Work as a team. Organize your volunteers into teams or pairs to wash the dogs efficiently. One person can handle the washing and rinsing while the other manages the dog’s leash and ensures its safety. Teamwork not only speeds up the process but also allows for better control and safety during the wash.
- Maintain a calm environment. Dogs can be sensitive to their surroundings, so it’s crucial to create a calm and stress-free environment. Minimize loud noises, distractions, and excessive commotion around the washing stations. Keep the dog wash area organized and clean to reduce potential hazards.
After your fundraiser is over, eCardWidget recommends sending personalized thank-you letters to participants, volunteers, and sponsors. Include statistics about the number of dogs washed and the amount of money raised so supporters understand their impact.
Before, during, and after the event, remember to have fun! Your dog wash fundraiser is an excellent opportunity to raise money for your nonprofit while spending quality time with like-minded volunteers and furry friends.