“Adopt a pet or donate some money.” Those are probably your first thoughts about how you can help your local shelter. And while those are the best ways (by all means, go for it!), what if your donation fund is tapped out and you already have all the furry friends your household can handle? We’re glad you asked. Here are seven ideas to get you started.

Volunteer Your Time

Shelters might be run by the city or county, or they might be private, non-profit organizations. Either way, they usually welcome volunteers helping at the shelter itself, at fundraising events, or with activities that increase awareness in the community. Consult the shelter’s website for their needs and opportunities.  

Share Your Skills

So you’re not qualified to perform emergency surgery on a cat. That’s okay! Shelters need the same services other organizations need: marketing, design, IT, accounting. Consider offering your expertise.

Donate a Package of Goodies

Some shelters create their own wish lists so you know exactly what they need. Have some fun with it and assemble your own package. Consider essentials, like extra absorbent dog pads, stain and odor cleaners, poop bags and natural flea and tick solutions (the staff will thank you). Add some treats, like all natural buffalo rawhide chews.  While you’re at it, consider treats for the hard-working staff too (pastries and coffee come to mind).

Raise Funds

Yep, it’s a fact, shelters need funds. Hold a fundraising event, set up an online campaign through a site like GoFundMe, or use the various fundraising features of a social site like Facebook. There are many tools that make it easy to spread the word. Ask your shelter if they have guidelines for DIY fundraising. They may have a lot of great ideas for how to make your fundraiser fun and successful.  

Become a Pet Foster

Your local shelter probably has a network of people willing to take animals into their homes temporarily. This increases the number of animals they can help, because it opens up space at the shelter itself. So if you have the time and space, consider becoming a pet foster.

Be a Designated Driver

Not able to provide a home but still want to help? You can provide the wheels. Sometimes animals need a ride to their foster home or their new forever home.

Get Creative

Your shelter will appreciate any sincere outpouring of love and attention. Find a way to help that suits you. If you’re an artist, create a piece to be auctioned off, with the proceeds donated to the shelter. If you’re a writer, provide some advocacy in the form of a letter to the editor. Share your ideas with the shelter first. And, no pressure, but remember: you might be the only person to have your particular idea. If you don’t act on it, who will?  

Do you have more ideas? Please share them in the comments section below!