Social Media Fundraising for Animal Shelters

Social media tips
Social Media Fundraising for Animal Shelters

By Emily Garman,

Online giving increases each year. In 2017, it increased 12.1% over 2016.* So how can you take advantage of online donations, and how is the process different from offline donations?


Have a “Donate” or “Give” button or link highly visible and in the same position on all pages of your website. Include a donation link on every online channel you use, so when people feel the urge to donate, they can do it immediately and easily.


Visuals are the most important element of your fundraising campaign. A cute animal looking at the camera, for example, creates an instant and positive connection with the donor and can open wallets faster than anything you can write.


People respond the way you want them to when they are well informed. Be specific. Provide the facts needed and take the guesswork out of your request. Once you’ve removed objections and eliminated questions, people will feel confident donating.


We all procrastinate. Creating a sense of urgency and setting a deadline causes donors to act more immediately. If you have an animal needing surgery, the urgency is apparent, but if you’re raising money for a vehicle, you’ll need to explain how it will help save lives and why you need it now. If you’re raising money for something large, break it into smaller campaigns. For instance, a $40,000 goal can be split into campaigns of $5,000. You’ll reward progress eight times (with one REALLY big celebration at the end).


People are primed right after they’ve given their support, so don’t be afraid to use the “thank you” email or letter to make another pitch about other programs or events coming up. Send another email within 24 hours, sharing a measurable result that happened because of their donation. This keeps people interested and willing to participate in future campaigns.

Public thanks via social media
Use social media to thank those who support your work. Tag individuals or companies via posts when possible. This gives your donor public recognition, which most donors want. (Always honor requests for anonymity.)


Goals are critical for fundraising. If you don’t have a goal, your supporters can’t measure success. Thermometers or other progress meters on donation pages are excellent incentives. If you’re almost to your goal, people want to be part of that success story and are more likely to donate. Success itself is a magnet, so always set a goal you know you can attain.

Use these six strategies consistently in your social media fundraising campaigns, and they will be more effective. Above all, be specific, have a goal in mind and communicate successes back to your donors to demonstrate good stewardship. You’ll be rewarded with more funds that will ultimately save more lives.

Emily Garman has been a foster mom and animal welfare volunteer for 20 years and founded in 2008 to teach animal advocates how to use social media to raise money, recruit volunteers and save more lives. She presents on next-generation fundraising, social media and internet marketing all over North America.

* Blackbaud Institute for Philanthropic Impact’s Charitable Giving Report: How Nonprofit Fundraising Performed in 2017 – accessed at