NutriSource Blogs

Doing good: Heartfelt ideas to give back to animal organizations in your town

December 22, 2020
photo of two women holding puppies and smiling at each other at shelter

Since animals make the world a better place for us humans, you may think it’s only fair that we give a little extra to make life better for our furry friends. If you’re in the mood to spread the love, giving the animals a helping hand is certain to give you the warm fuzzies!

Whether it’s the holiday season, or the giving spirit has moved you any time of the year, here are some ideas to help animal-centered nonprofits in your community, whether it’s a pet shelter or rescue, or an organization that trains service and therapy animals.

Launch a crowdfunding campaign

If you have fellow animal lovers in your social circle, kick off a virtual fundraiser with a little crowdfunding campaign on your social network of choice. To make your pitch extra compelling, tell a personal story how this group, say, matched you with your furry friend. It also helps a ton when you throw in matching funds, so be sure and kick in a matching pledge. Whether your efforts raise $50 or $500, your efforts and contribution will be deeply appreciated.

Donate on behalf of your loved ones

If you’re having trouble coming up with gift ideas, giving to an animal organization in someone else’s name can be a great new tradition for holidays, birthdays and other special occasions — particularly if it holds some meaning to your friend or loved one.

Buy the swag

During the holidays, check in with your local animal nonprofit. This is a time of year where you may find calendars with plenty of cute animal photos, branded gear and other great stocking stuffers. Doing good while crossing off your gift list is a win-win!

Check the wish lists

Most nonprofit animal organizations maintain an ongoing list of supplies they need to keep their organization going, like dry food, cleaning supplies, gently used blankets, food and water bowls, washable toys and more. Add some of these items to your next shopping list and drop them off. Better yet, organize a drive in your neighborhood, religious organization, workplace or any service organization you belong to and give on behalf of the group.

Share your time

Most shelters and rescues are always in need of volunteers. In some ways, spending some one-on-one time with homeless animals can offer a deeper satisfaction because you’ll be helping homeless dogs and cats socialize in preparation for their forever homes. What your shelter offers in the way of volunteer opportunities will depend on their needs and setup, but here are a few possibilities:

  • Get your steps in with a daily walk with one or two shelter pets.
  • Have play sessions with shelter pets.
  • Bathe and groom incoming pets.

Because most nonprofits host some type of annual fundraisers, they rely on a fleet of hard-working volunteers to make the event a success — whether it’s registering participants in the fun run or directing traffic in the parking lot. Check the events calendar and reach out several weeks before the event.

Check the events calendar

Fill your social calendar by getting involved with special fundraising and community events. Subscribe to an organization’s newsletter and follow their social media feed, and as soon as they announce the next fundraising fun run or other event, you’ll be in the know.

Channel your creativity for good

Are you the crafty type? Consider making and selling animal-themed goods at the next fundraiser, or simply sell them on your own and donate the proceeds.

If you’re a knitter, this blog from is chock full of fun ideas to get the inspiration flowing. You can donate animal-themed hats and mittens for the next fundraiser, or you can create adorable doggy sweaters for chilly days.

Or perhaps you have a knack with paint. Offer your talents as a painter of cat or dog portraits, and donate the proceeds to the local rescue group. This can be a great prize for a silent auction fundraiser. Whatever your talents, put them to work for a great cause.

Have a garage sale

If you need to clean out your closets and downsize the clutter, hosting a rummage sale can stand in as a mini-fundraiser. If you have kids, tying the sale of their outgrown books, games and toys to a worthy cause is a great way to get them on board and encourage them to help you with the sale. Post a sign to let people know the proceeds are going to the organization of your choice; a donation jar can also be a nice touch!

Foster dogs and cats

Fostering is a great way to make a difference in the lives of homeless pets — dog by dog, cat by cat. Some service dog and therapy dog groups also rely on volunteers to raise and train puppies to become future support animals. In either case, when pets have an opportunity to develop a positive relationship with a family like yours, you’re playing a role in their future success and that feels pretty darn good.

[Learn what to expect when fostering a homeless pet.]

Stronger together as a community

At NutriSource, our company values are all about building strong communities. One way we express that is by giving to pet rescues, shelters and humane organizations across the country. “What good are we if we aren’t trying to make a difference?” That’s the philosophy of our President, Charlie Nelson, and speaks to the values held by the company.

For that reason, NutriSource gives back and here’s a look at how.

We also helped launch a Facility Dog program at a children’s hospital in Minneapolis. Read here about Rocket the golden retriever, and how he provides comfort and support to young people undergoing medical treatment and surgery.

Then, listen to his handler tell stories of the remarkable things he does.

Fans of the affable helper dog can also contribute to his support.