Get ready for some furry fun when you raise money for your organization with a pet show fundraiser! This is a great event for the whole community to get involved in. Who doesn't like to show off their pets? Don't let the fun premise fool you. It still takes some planning and work to put together, but it also doesn't have to be a huge undertaking.
It should be fairly easy to get the community excited about your event, and there are a lot of things you can do to make it unique and enjoyable for everyone. You can charge participants a small fee to enter the show, and then charge admission for those who want to attend.
If you like, you can also offer some simple concessions to make a little extra money. Just remember that because you're dealing with animals, you must take certain things into account. The most important thing to keep in mind is the animals' safety and well being.
But with planning and patience, your pet show fundraiser will be the cat's meow.
Decide What Kind of Pet Show to Organize
Will you include any pet, regardless of species or size? Or will it just be a dog show? Or a cat show? Part of this decision will depend on the location where you plan to hold the pet show.
If you hold it indoors, make sure it's easy to get outside quickly, if necessary or it might not be a good idea to include dogs. You don't want accidents inside, especially if you've rented a venue. At least one small grassy area outside is optimal, as well, and bring supplies to clean up after the dogs. Cats are easier – a few well-placed litter boxes backstage will do the trick.
Find a Location
Some indoor venues like theaters, schools, or churches may not allow pets inside. It never hurts to ask, though, especially since the event is for a good cause and just for one day. If you can't find an indoor location, have it outdoors. A park is a lovely spot to spend a day with pets and families.
Just be sure to check with the city to ensure compliance with any ordinances and rules. If you have your pet show outdoors, be prepared for bad weather. Maybe have a tent set up.
Also, consider the weather where you live. If temperatures reach three digits in the summer, it's not a good idea to have people and their pets outside for extended periods of time. If that's the case, consider holding the event in the spring or fall when the weather is cooler and more comfortable for all involved. Again, bring supplies to clean up after the pets.
Choose Specific Events
The simplest pet show will be one that emulates the big pet shows where the animals are put on display for the judges, and then awarded prizes based on looks and obedience. That's all well and good, but why not mix it up a little and make it fun?
Include a best trick event where pet lovers can show off their pet's skills and talents, whether it's the basic commands like sit and speak, or a dog who loves to dance on his hind feet. You can also have a fashion portion where the participating animals are dressed up in cute and silly costumes.
Just be sure that none of the costumes or tricks put the animals in any danger of injury.
Break the Show Into Categories
Depending on the number of people and pets involved, you may find it necessary and desirable to create subcategories for the show. For example, divide the animals into groups not just by species or perhaps breed, but by size.
It might not be fair for a Great Dane to compete against a Chihuahua. You may also want to create a separate part of the show for kids to show off their pets. The kids will feel great about being included, and won't feel intimidated by being in a group with grownups.
Have Plenty of Water on Hand
If you're in an indoor facility with a kitchen or restrooms, you'll have access to faucets so you'll just need bowls to keep the animals hydrated. The pets' owners should bring everything their pets will need, but it's a good idea to have some extras on hand just in case.
If the pet show is being held outside, check to see if there's a spigot or water fountain nearby. If not, ask everyone participating to bring a few bottles of water, or provide a few coolers filled with water so no one will go thirsty.
Set Behavior Rules
When you get a bunch of animals in one place, it can sometimes be tricky to have them all get along and behave the way they're supposed to. If you're including cats, dogs, and other animals in your show, keep them separated so there are no tussles or chases. If it's just a dog or cat show, the animals might be friendly with one another, but it may still be a good idea to keep them separate so there are no battles for attention.
Either way, pet owners should be required to keep their animals on leashes or in pet carriers at all times, unless they're on stage or participating in an event. Let owners know beforehand that if their pet cannot behave properly, they will be disqualified. All of these precautions are as much for people's safety as they are for the animals'.
First, second, and third place ribbons are great, but consider adding something like a gift certificate to a local pet supply store. Ask the pet stores in your area if they would like to provide gift certificates, or get involved in any other way. It can mean support for your event, and free advertising for them.
If you include kids, consider giving them all prizes, whether they “win” or not. This isn't Westminster – everyone can win and have a great time!