The Association Blog

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It’s Time to Shift the Mindset

September 14, 2022, David Miller

How do we get animal lovers to give to animal-loving people?

Our donors are animal lovers—just like we are. They support organizations out of love with the goal of saving the lives of animals. For decades, our fundraising offers have been centered on helping animals, and we’ve seen incredible success.

But there’s been a shift happening in the animal welfare industry over the last few years as our community continues to thrive. During the pandemic, millions of Americans adopted pets. Now, inflation and the threat of a recession are stretching household budgets thin. This becomes even more apparent when we look at numbers from several recent surveys:

  • 1 in 5 households in the U.S. acquired a dog or cat during the pandemic.
  • 63% of pet owners said inflation has made it more challenging to pay for surprise vet bills.
  • Nearly a quarter (24%) of pet owners in a recent survey have considered rehoming or surrendering their pet as a result of inflation in the last 12 months.
  • At KC Pet Project, 40% of the dogs given up to the shelter so far this year were surrendered due to financial or housing issues.

While these numbers can feel troubling, the underlying theme is clear: Now more than ever, pet owners need our help keeping their animals in their homes. The reality is that giving up a pet is the last resort for most pet owners. If they had access to affordable care and food, then fewer animals would be surrendered to shelters.

In the last few years, many animal welfare organizations across the U.S. have recognized this need. While some are still offering their traditional services, many others have added services or shifted services to address these rising needs:

  • Opening pet food banks or partnering with local food banks to provide access to pet food
  • Offering temporary housing
  • Providing access to affordable vet services, including telehealth
  • Continuing spay and neuter services
  • Helping rehome pets

All of these services are targeted at helping pet owners continue to care for their pets. But with this shift come a few challenges.

Many animal welfare organizations have donor pools who are used to giving to animals in need. How do we turn this shift in services into a fundraising offer? Most importantly, how do we get animal lovers to give to animal-loving people?

Join me and Michigan Humane’s Matt Pepper, CEO, and Jamie Westrick, Chief Philanthropy Officer, on September 21. We’ll discuss how to transform this shift into a fundraising offer, address the challenges of getting animal lovers to give to people and share insights we’ve learned along the way. Register for the webinar, Breaking Down Resistance: Convincing Animal Lovers to Give to People, and we’ll see you next Wednesday.


More from RKD

Blog: Don’t Let Inflation Slow You Down
Blog: Major Donor Bootcamp: Modeling & Advanced Analytics
Upcoming Webinar, 9/21: Convincing Animal Lovers to Give to People
Upcoming Webinar, 9/28: Monthly Giving Doesn’t Happen By Chance


Photo: Michigan Humane/Facebook

About David Miller
David Miller is Senior Vice President at RKD Group, a leading fundraising and marketing services provider to hundreds of nonprofit organizations. He brings more than two decades of animal welfare experience to help organizations craft their fundraising strategies for success. Prior to joining RKD in 2011, David spent 14 years working at animal welfare organizations, including serving as the CEO of three organizations in Florida and North Carolina.

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