The Pet Fund regularly advises animal-related nonprofits, shelters, rescue groups, and others working in animal rescue about nonprofit development and fundraising options. Our staff is always available to consult with serious nonprofits beginning the incorporation process or with established nonprofits who are in need of fundraising and development evaluation. The following suggestions may be helpful to those wishing to start their own animal-related nonprofit organization and may help those charities already formed to add to their fundraising goals and achievements.
For Start-Up Animal-Related Nonprofits
Books and resources: Your local library will have information available about nonprofit incorporation. There are many helpful books and resources to help with forming a new charity as well as grantwriting and fundraising assistance.
IRS website: The IRS has a comprehensive overview of the rules for nonprofits and the forms you will need to create and maintain your nonprofit. http://www.irs.gov/charities/index.html?navmenu=menu1
Free legal help: You may want to request assistance from a local law firm providing pro bono (or free) legal assistance to the community to help you through the incorporation process.
Professional seminars: Many organizations offer free or low-cost nonprofit instruction seminars around the country. This is often helpful for start-up organizations in developing goals for new charities as well as increasing fundraising and development skills. The Association for Fundraising Professionals offers ongoing seminars year round. http://www.afpnet.org/
Better Business Bureau: Your local BBB will have information available to nonprofits to help them establish professional standards for incorporation and reporting requirements. Ask your local bureau office for a list of nonprofit review guidelines to help you get started.
Attorney General/ Secretary of State: Each state’s AG and Secretary of State’s office will have a list of reporting requirements for nonprofit organizations. Contact your state’s office or review the website for a list of nonprofit reporting rules and guidelines.
Online giving: The Pet Fund recommends both JustGive and Network for Good as online giving resources for your website. These services enable your charity to receive online donations without having to pay credit card fees.
Network for Good: http://www1.networkforgood.org/
Facebook page: If you have not already done so, create a Facebook page for your website and highlight the work your nonprofit has already done, including your organization’s mission statement and fundraising goals. Increasingly, nonprofits are reaching new audiences through online sources, including Facebook. http://www.facebook.com/
Veterinary assistance: Your local vet (or multiple veterinarians in your area) may be willing to set up a collection box at their clinic’s front desk to benefit your organization. The most effective means of working with this potential funding source is to engage the clinic’s staff on an ongoing basis to ask clients to donate a dollar to your charity at the time the vet bill is paid. You will also need a photo or charity brochure, contact information about your charity, and a description of the veterinary care you need to have funded.
University veterinary teaching hospitals: Contacting the nearest university with a veterinary teaching hospital may be helpful to your organization on an ongoing basis. Vet students may be able to assist your organization with free or low cost medical care, depending on the school’s needs. Contact the veterinary department to discuss the university’s ongoing needs to determine what care might be available to provide to your organization. This may include spay and neuter surgeries or more unusual and difficult procedures.
Partnering with community organizations: For rescue groups in particular, partnering with other similar rescue organizations and/or shelters in your area is often a helpful strategy in terms of boosting fundraising potential. Reaching out to organizations in your area creates a network of support and heightens community awareness of your organizations’ mission.
The following links are good resources for animal rescue organizations. For additional information, feel free to contact The Pet Fund for consultation about your organization’s fundraising and development goals.
Humane Society of the United States: http://www.humanesociety.org//
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: http://www.aspca.org//
Maddie’s Fund: http://www.maddiesfund.org//
Banfield Charitable Trust: http://banfieldcharitabletrust.org/about-us/faqss
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