Many of us would love to dedicate our lives to saving and caring for adorable, unwanted animals, but in reality, we have jobs, families, and expenses to consider before we can help others. Fortunately, there are fantastic ways you can support animal rescues for $5 or less, including these 7 ideas:
Share Photos on Social Media
Is it really possible to help animals in need with just a click of a button? Yes! All you need is a social media account – Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest are particularly useful platforms for rescues, but Twitter may work as well – and simply share a photos posted by the animal rescues in your area. You never know when a family member, friend, or neighbor might be looking for a new pet, and you can help get the word out to strangers by using relevant hashtags on your public posts as well.
Volunteer with the Animals
What’s more fun than working with animals? While you may be asked to help clean the animals’ living areas, volunteering with cats and/or dogs can be a ton of fun. You could offer to walk and/or train dogs, groom new arrivals, read stories to anxious pups, socialize the shy rescues, etc. There is almost never an oversupply of volunteers at animal rescues, which means your volunteer services will be greatly appreciated.
Volunteer Your Services
Animal rescues need so much more than volunteers who work with animals. If you have a day job unrelated to animals, consider offering a few hours of your time and your skills for tasks such as repairing kennels, building new fences or furniture, sewing damaged pet bedding or collars, designing graphics for the rescue’s marketing materials, managing the rescue’s social media accounts, grant writing, transportation, and so much more!
You never know what services might be of use to an animal shelter, so it doesn’t hurt to ask what they currently need help with.
Donate a Collar or Toys
You can find several collars for sale online that cost less than $5 (sometimes less than $2!). Sites like eBay also sell lots of affordable pet toys that you can directly ship to the animal rescue, and daily deals websites like Groupon have entire sections dedicated to discounted pet supplies. Another way to save on collars, toys, and other items you wish to donate is through couponing websites like RetailMeNot, where you can find great promo codes for pet products.
Are you obsessed with Pinterest and a whiz in the kitchen? If so, then why not put your skills to good use and bake a batch (or several) of treats for homeless pets? Pinterest has a variety of dog treat recipes that you can make on a budget and donate to your local animal rescue while the treats are still fresh. It’s a delicious donation idea that any adoptable pup or cat would love!
Donate Credit Card Points or Miles
Several rewards credit card programs include the option of donating your points to charity. This process is somewhat complex, as point values might change due to account credit or cash conversions on the way to the charity’s bank account. Depending on your credit card company, you might be able to donate miles to a charity, which would be helpful for transporting adoptable pets from high-risk shelters to other locations where they might stand a better chance of getting adopted.
3 important things to consider before donating points/miles:
- The IRS does not view credit card rewards as income, which means that these types of donations are not tax-deductible.
- Points might have low redemption values for the recipients, which means that you might be better off taking the cash-back option for your points balance and donating the money to charity that way.
- Many credit card companies only offer points/miles donations for major charitable organizations, so your local animal shelter or rescue might not be eligible for direct donations.
Shop with Amazon Smile
If your favorite animal rescue isn’t included in your credit card provider’s list of available recipients, then AmazonSmile is a good alternative. By shopping with AmazonSmile, a portion of your purchase (0.5% of eligible items) will be diverted to the charity of your choice. As of early 2017, the AmazonSmile has generated over $46 million for charities in the U.S.
You don’t need to be rich to help animals in need. The best ways to help oftentimes don’t involve money at all, because actively donating your time, skills, and efforts are immensely more gratifying than mailing a huge check to the rescue. Animal rescues are always in need of more volunteers, supplies, and social media support, so make it your goal to start helping your favorite rescues today.