Do you want to know how much money animal sanctuary businesses make yearly? If YES, here are 7 factors that determine the profit margin for animal sanctuaries owners. Starting and running an animal sanctuary and providing compassionate lifelong care to every resident requires a significant amount of financial resources.

This sort of adventure is always suited to anyone who loves animals and has good business sense. A heart for animals is needed because these businesses focus on helping animals. Business acumen helps owners transform a traditionally non – profit model into a for – profit business.

Note that a for-profit animal sanctuary, which is always unlikely, can make money when animals are dropped off and when they’re donated. However, sanctuary owners who want to open a for – profit sanctuary must believe in their business.

Why Is It Expensive to Run an Animal Sanctuary?

Most people expect sanctuaries to work as non – profit organizations. So it falls on the business owners to explain that pets have value – and people should be willing to pay for that value. If they can’t explain this, owners will struggle to justify their high fees.

An animal sanctuary owner spend time taking in animals and caring for them. Caring for animals involves feeding them, getting them veterinary care, brushing them, cleaning their cages and playing with them. Owners also work to get pets adopted. This involves going to events, promoting adoptable animals and interviewing potential adoptees. Also during slow times, business owners pay bills, manage volunteers and employees, and promote their business.

Many organizations, out of necessity, devote themselves to one species or breed. The needs of dogs are obviously vastly different from the needs of horses. And some animals have breed – specific behaviours – which can be made worse by inbreeding or abusive conditions – that are best handled by specialists. Some organizations further specialize by rescuing animals from specific situations.

However, a common misconception among animal adopters as well as the community at large is that animal sanctuaries are funded by tax payer dollars and adoption fees.  Howbeit, unless the sanctuary in question is run by, or has a deal with the municipality, most don’t receive government funding. As for the adoption fees, those are meant to cover the cost of care animals receive in the sanctuary.

So how do Sanctuaries make money to keep their doors open to care for animals and residents? The following is a collection of tried and true methods that animal sanctuaries leverage to generate funds, starting from those that can be accomplished by founders alone or a few volunteers, up to suggestions for organizations with a larger personnel and supporter base.

15 Ways Animal Sanctuaries Make Money

  1. Grants

A lot of sanctuaries in the United States are sustained through grants. It is typically more challenging than grant – searching for other types of nonprofits organizations. A sanctuary is expected to do some diligent searches on grant databases, as well as seek out region – specific opportunities in order to find applicable grants that they may be eligible for.

Although local grants may be less lucrative, many sanctuaries have had good luck getting them. Some organizations that occasionally distribute grants to certain sanctuaries or micro sanctuaries include The Micro sanctuary Resource Center’s micro – grant program, the ASCPA’s grant opportunities.

  1. Visits & Tours

A lot of Sanctuaries in the United States offer visitations and tours as a way to spread their mission and garner additional financial support from compassionate members of the public.

For some of them that charge a fee for visitations or tours, they do this by offering a suggested donation basis rather than a fixed cost; this way, anybody who wants to hear the organization’s message but may not be able to afford the cost of the visit can still attend. Visits and tours also include a gentle request for funding at some point of the experience

  1. Memberships

Memberships is also one very excellent way sanctuaries encourage recurring givers, or those who give a predefined amount of donations in a certain span of time, or even those who donate a certain amount of time volunteering for the organization. Note that some sanctuaries allow members certain perks, such as special updates, discounted sanctuary events, preferential access to activities, or even private visits.

Some other sanctuaries in the United States have set up membership programs that grant individuals’ discounts through businesses who wish to support the sanctuary. However, even though this requires a fair bit of coordination, it can be an excellent tool for Sanctuaries to widen the organization’s appeal to potential donors in their community.

  1. Donation Jars

Donation jars onsite for cash or checks are highly popular for a reason: it is easy and affordable to leave a donation jar out at a sanctuary, especially in strategic locations such as near the exit of visitation areas, or at major sanctuary gatherings and activities.

In addition to keeping donation jars onsite and during events, some sanctuaries also find areas in their community to leave donation jars! Grocery stores, restaurants, and independent establishments of all kinds with a small sign and a resident photo to get some spare change from a checkout.

Sometimes, to capture donations from folks who may not have a dollar on their person, some sanctuaries leverage services that offer a digital alternative to the donation jar. There are text – to – give services that allow anyone to send a quick donation via a text message, and there are services like DipJar, which for a fixed fee, offer a device that securely accepts a set credit card payment when a card is inserted.

  1. Crowdfunding Websites

Some sanctuaries also leverage crowdfunding websites such as GoFundMe and others that are more specifically geared towards nonprofits.

However, they have to be specific as to why they are trying to raise the funds, providing transparent updates during and after the fundraising, and it is also important they don’t over saturate their community with crowdfunding requests! Also note that some crowdfunding websites deduct a certain amount from each donation; some service fees are as high as 10%.

  1. Thrift Store

Some animal sanctuaries in the United States have found tremendous success fundraising by operating a thrift store in a nearby community whose revenue directly supports the sanctuary.

Since thrift stores sell donated items, once the overhead costs of operating the location are covered, quite a substantial amount of income can be generated. For sanctuaries, operating a thrift store is a huge commitment in terms of setup, personnel, and policies, so this may not be realistic for organizations still finding their footing.

  1. Off – Site Tabling

In addition, a lot of sanctuaries have found success by tabling at community events such as farmer’s markets, nonprofits conferences, and festivals that promote compassionate living.

They do this by having staff or volunteers show pictures or videos of the residents, offer merchandise or promotional materials, and keeping a donation box prominently displayed, depending on the crowd size and disposition. This revenue generation means is also a good way to increase awareness of the organization in the community, either for bringing in new visitors or potential volunteers.

  1. Community Support

In the United States, there have been cases of supporters asking for donations to a sanctuary in lieu of birthday or holiday gifts, or to help celebrate big events in their life. Some even setup their own off – site events for their friends to help spread the word about the sanctuary.

Another valuable form of community support for Sanctuaries comes from attending other organizations’ events (with their prior permission, of course!) and tabling or speaking. This helps folks sympathetic to similar causes learn about the sanctuary’s mission and the complimentary solutions it brings to the community!

  1. Fundraising

Note that part of the responsibilities of an organization’s board is to aid in fundraising. Many sanctuaries make it each board member’s responsibility to contribute a predetermined amount to the organization, either through a donation or through fundraising efforts.

Some sanctuaries also leverage major social media platforms with fundraising tools built into their services, or an easy ability to link to a crowdfunding or donation platform. This social media fundraising have proven to be an effective tool because supporters can share the sanctuary’s appeal easily with their communities.

Social media fundraising tends to be more effective once a sanctuary have a specific, detailed reason for the fundraising, such as improvements to your sanctuary, resident medical care, or a need for funds to facilitate a necessary rescue. Impactful photos and videos and transparent updates are also very important elements of social media fundraising.

10. Sponsorships

Some companies, especially those who serve populations have for long been more sympathetic to sanctuaries in the United States, and some tend to be interested in providing one – time or ongoing financial support to the organizations.

Some sanctuaries have obtained corporate sponsorships in exchange for displaying the sponsor’s name or logo on events, sanctuary merchandise, or even in the naming of certain structures on property. Some businesses may even create products or dishes that publicly guarantee a percentage of sale back to a specific organization!

In addition, many sanctuaries have sponsorship programs for individual residents, allowing donors to support those that they may particularly resonate with. Sanctuaries that have resident sponsorship programs often provide perks for individual sponsors, such as special updates, photos, videos, and visits with the supported resident.

  1. In – kind Donations and Services

Sometimes, individuals or companies may not be able to provide a cash donation, but would still want to contribute to a sanctuary’s mission. They do this by providing in – kind donations, such as supplies, food for residents or visitors, tools, or other resources.

It can be a highly valuable way to free up some of the sanctuary’s budget, and once the organization is a United States 501©(3) nonprofit, this also offers tax – deductible donation receipts. Most animal sanctuary websites include a donation appeal and an accompanying donate button that is always easily accessible across the site to facilitate donations whenever a visitor may feel compelled to give.

  1. Direct Mail and Newsletters

Some sanctuaries use physically mailed requests for donations and support. Although this can be an expensive and regulation – heavy way to solicit for funds, many individuals still prefer to receive communications and give donations through mailed campaigns.

Online or physically – mailed newsletters of a sanctuary’s updates and events have also proven to be a good platform to raise some funds. Most sanctuary newsletters include a request for financial support, especially to help out with the residents, activities, and updates outlined in the publication.

  1. Special Events

Sanctuaries in the United States also raise a significant amount of revenue through special events, held either at the sanctuary or held off site as a benefit for the organization.

These are a great opportunity to combine many fundraising avenues in one place, to help maximize giving by all attendees in whichever way they feel most comfortable. They use events as an opportunity to collect more contact information (especially from first time guests) for future fundraising down the line.

14. Merchandise

So many animal sanctuaries have found success in the form of merchandise that they can offer to the public. Merchandise that includes t – shirts and other apparel, stickers and other small items with the sanctuary’s logo, and even artwork of the residents.

Also note that this has the dual benefit of generating some revenue as well as getting an organization’s name and message out into the wider community. And folks tend to feel good paying for merchandise if they know it is supporting a good cause.

15. Plaques, Bricks, Benches, and More

Some organizations incentivize giving at certain levels by offering donors the opportunity to have their name or even a statement inscribed somewhere on the sanctuary grounds.

Some organizations have donor walls, plaques, and names on benches, donor brick paths, or even names emblazoned on stakes in tranquillity gardens. Some organizations solve the donor honour space issue by offering it as a perk that must be renewed with additional giving on a set schedule, rather than a permanent honour.

How Much Money Animal Sanctuaries Make Yearly (Profit Margin)?

Animal sanctuary profitability isn’t widely known, especially since most sanctuaries are run as non – profits. These non – profit sanctuaries often employ a director, vet tech and other staff. However, a for – profit sanctuary can earn enough to pay for a team’s salaries, which often total six – figure sums, and still provide a profit.

Nonetheless, reports have it that an animal sanctuary may charge a few hundred dollars when an animal is dropped off and when it is adopted. Some sanctuaries have reported asking for about $200  –  $370 when a dog is dropped off. Note that this amount increases to around $1,800 for dogs over seven years old. Some sanctuaries have also reported charging around $400  – $640 to adopt a puppy. However, most adoption fees are determined by the market.

Joy Nwokoro