Life can be ever so serious at times. Every day brings new challenges to be overcome, a constant vigilance to keep your self and your art alive. As we have discussed before, raising capital is one of the top priorities and often the biggest obstacle to any artists growing studio practice, or anyone who need to raise money for that matter! Who says you can’t combine your needs to fundraise with a little levity? Sometimes the wildest ideas are the ones that take off. Let’s face it, everybody is looking for a reason to laugh.
Enter the pet party. A sweet and entirely irreverent way to raise a little green and have a great time while you’re at it.
These days, pets have achieved familial status. Folks want to pamper their furry friends like never before. There are pet spas, pet bakeries, pet enrichment classes, you name it, somebody is probably doing it. Why not let this work for you?
The first thing you will need to throw your very own pet party is a venue. Outdoor venues are strongly recommended in order to give animals the space they need to be, well, animals. Ask around at your local parks and recreation office or churches to see who might have a green space you can reserve.
This event can be whatever you want to make it. Your imagination is the only limit. Here are a few ideas you might consider.
Pet fun fair: Invite guests to a carnival aimed at four legged friends. Offer pet-friendly treats, obstacle courses, contests for the best pet costume (yes, I said pet costume) or better yet, contests for the best pet and owner costume combination. If you have artist friends who are adept at making quick sketches, have a caricature booth or pet portraiture on site.
Pet wedding: This is a tradition among some pet owners. Furry friends don bride and groom costumes and head down the aisle. Host an elegant affair, complete with (fake) flowers and a sumptuous pet buffet. Make sure any food you serve is safe for all animals.
Paint your pet party: Host an afternoon of artistic endeavor. Invite guests to bring their pet and try their hand at turning Fido into a masterpiece. Provide inexpensive art supplies and paper, and guide your guests through the process of creating their own pet portraits.
Dog wash: Find a spot where you have access to running water and where it’s ok to make a bit of a mess. For a small fee, give dogs a bath and a brushing. Offer various pet spa packages at different price levels. If you’re feeling very ambitious, have a dog nail painting station for those who want to go all out.
There are no limits to the possibilities when it comes to throwing your own pet party fundraiser. Be sure to get the word out (some flyers, a Facebook event, word of mouth) and set up a suggested donation at the entrance. Once people are in the gate, make sure they get their money’s
Once people are in the gate, make sure they get their money’s worth. This doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg to do either, there are lots of ways to ensure a good time for all on a tight budget. Here are a few ideas to keep your crowd happy on the big day.
Bake your own dog treats to offer attendees. Recipes abound online for all kinds of homemade pet goodies. Brush off your bakeware and get cooking.
Hold raffles for pet themed door prizes. They don’t have to be anything very fancy. Every guest receives a raffle ticket at the entrance for a chance to win. Have a few prizes. Things like a pack of pet treats, a grooming brush set, or an offer for a free pet portrait.
No matter what you plan, be sure to fully disclose the meaning behind the event. Let your guests know that you are fundraising. Consider donating a portion of any proceeds raised a local animal shelter. Not only is this a good way to incentivise people to attend your event, it also gives back to the community you’re asking for support from.
A pet party is indeed a very silly fundraising idea, and that’s the whole point. All too often we get caught up in the seriousness of things. Pets are one of life’s best reminders to live every moment. Anyone who has ever watched a dog for any length of time can understand what it looks like to be truly present. What’s more, pets radiate joy, something we could all use more of. Reaching out to people’s pets is a great way to broaden your network and a fun way to bring the community together.