How to Make an Impact as an Animal Welfare Nonprofit

Animal welfare is an issue that hits close to home. More than half of American households have companion animals at home and an increasing number are searching for cruelty-free alternatives to everyday purchases. Yet despite the growing concern around animal welfare, most Americans don’t know how to channel their compassion into real change.

That’s where nonprofits organizations come in. As leaders in the animal welfare, wildlife rescue, environmental protection, or social justice space, nonprofit organizations are uniquely situated to facilitate action for animal welfare. How? Fetchem Puppies presents the following guide that explores how you can make an impact in your area.

Starting a nonprofit organization

Nonprofit organizations engage and coordinate community members to work towards a common goal. Here’s what to know about starting a nonprofit to help animals.

  • Nonprofit organizations working in animal welfare include shelters and rescues, advocacy and public awareness campaigns, and legal defense organizations. Environmental and social justice organizations may also get involved in animal welfare.
  • Most nonprofits form as a nonprofit corp. Compared to unincorporated nonprofits, nonprofit corporations have greater legal protections, tax benefits, and funding opportunities.
  • Incorporation is also necessary to apply for 501(c)(3) status. Organizations with 501(c)(3) status are exempt from federal corporate income tax and may accept tax-deductible donations.
  • 501(c)(3) nonprofits must uphold rigorous record-keeping and compliance requirements or risk losing tax-exempt status. Violations of private benefit, political activity, and unrelated business income rules are common reasons organizations lose 501(c)(3) status.

Engaging volunteers and community members

Community involvement is critical to a nonprofit’s success, whether your community is local or global. Use these ideas to get others engaged in your mission.

  • Waiting for volunteers to come to you is one of the biggest mistakes a nonprofit can make. Organizations should actively market volunteer opportunities by advertising, networking, and emphasizing the impact of volunteerism.
  • A clearly defined volunteer program helps organizations recruit and retain high-quality volunteers. Outline different ways that volunteers can lend their skills, such as fostering, adoption counseling, shelter upkeep, staffing events, or marketing and administration.
  • Volunteer training maximizes the impact that volunteers have on an organization. That includes educating volunteers on the organization’s mission, aligning volunteers’ skills with open positions, and onboarding new volunteers.
  • A positive experience keeps volunteers coming back and turns them into an organization’s biggest supporters. Assigning meaningful tasks, expressing appreciation, and asking for feedback shows volunteers that they’re an important part of the organization.

Encouraging and increasing donations

Fundraising is what fuels nonprofit organizations. In order to grow your impact, you need to increase donors and grow donations to reach your fundraising goals.

  • Storytelling triggers an emotional response to a nonprofit’s mission and is one of the best ways to increase donations. Combine emotional appeals with success stories to demonstrate the impact donations have on animal welfare.
  • To reach casual donors, leverage social proof. Showing that others are donating encourages new supporters to do the same. Testimonials, peer-to-peer campaigns, and user-generated content are creative ways to generate social proof.
  • Fundraising events are a tried-and-true method for engaging donors. Silent auctions, casino nights, and 5Ks, and fun runs are popular charity events for animal welfare nonprofits.
  • Fundraisers should align with a nonprofit’s mission on every level, including serving a cruelty-free menu. Adopting a plant-based menu policy strengthens an organization’s commitment to the welfare of animals, humans, and the environment.


Nonprofit organizations are vehicles for change, but your mission can’t be realized alone. It takes a village to make the world a kinder, more humane place for animals. Use these tips and resources to build a nonprofit that engages its community for lasting change.

Fetchem Puppies helps connect breeders and buyers from around the country. Watch our informative videos to learn more about how we operate.


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