Every time I visit a web site full of adoptable pets, I see the thousands of animals needing homes and I want to do more to help. But like many people, I have a lot going on in my life, and a few years ago I had to cut back on the “hands-on” volunteer work I was doing at my local shelter. But that doesn’t mean I don’t care anymore.
Maybe you’re like me and things in your life have changed so you can’t go walk dogs every day at the animal shelter anymore. Or maybe that’s just not something you’ve ever felt comfortable with at all. Maybe sometimes you feel a little guilty for not “doing more” or making a huge cash donation.
You can still help the animals, even if you’re busy and don’t have a lot of extra cash. Here are five quick and easy ways you can help homeless animals right now that cost less than $10.
- Donate: No, it doesn’t have to be a million dollars. Every little bit helps. For example, if you work in a busy office, ask your local shelter if you can put one of their donation cans at the front desk. All that extra change adds up! Or if you (or your employer) have a popular blog or Web site, see if you can give a portion of your ad revenue or a percentage of a day’s sales to your favorite rescue group. Even if you don’t have a Web site, a lot of companies such as GoodSearch.com make it easy for you to donate, simply by surfing the Internet.
- Gather supplies. Smart shelters and rescue groups post lists of items they need on their Web site. Often the lists include basic necessities, such as pet food, blankets, or kitty litter. Print out the list and call up 10 friends. Ask if they are willing to either buy or donate something on the list. Gather up the items and drop them off at the shelter.
- Offer your skills. If you hear that your local shelter is doing a big fundraiser, opportunities exist for you to help on a short-term basis. For example, if you’re a writer, offer to write a blog post or press release for the event. If you’re a graphic artist, offer to do a flyer or logo. The skills you use at your job every day may seem humdrum to you, but they might thrill the folks at the shelter.
- Foster an animal. Every shelter and rescue group needs more foster homes. If you are willing to open up your home and your heart to an animal, you help save lives. Fostering isn’t always easy, but shelters often do cover the cost of food and veterinary care. (The biggest risk is probably being a “foster failure” and keeping the pet.)
- Put up flyers. People underestimate the power of a simple flyer. Many animals have been saved over the years because people really do look at flyers on bulletin boards at post offices and community centers. Flyers with cute faces of adoptable animals remind people the shelter is there and pets need homes. If you have a PO Box or regularly go to a place with a bulletin board, take flyers of adoptable animals or shelter fundraisers with you.
All of these ideas have one thing in common: they take advantage of something you’re probably already doing. You call your friends and surf the Internet, right? So why not donate? If you stop by your PO Box daily, why not post a flyer? Or if you write press releases for a living, just write one more for that shelter fundraiser.
Helping the animals doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. When you look for creative ways to help, you’ll find them all around you!