New Shelter Campaign

handyman dog with a hammer
Embarking on a capital campaign to raise funds for a new animal shelter is, “without a doubt”, the most complex and daunting task your organization will ever undertake in its history.  Animal Shelter Fundraising can guide your organization through the challenges that come with a new shelter campaign.  In fact, most staff and board members of an animal welfare organization have never been through a new shelter campaign (i.e. capital campaign) and lack the skill set and experience to initiate a successful campaign.  New shelter campaigns require a huge amount of specialized and detailed work and you need experienced counsel to guide you through the various stages of a campaign.  As the ONLY fundraising experts from within, and for,  the animal welfare industry, we can guide you through successful completion and funding of your new animal shelter.  In fact, we have conducted more feasibility studies for animal groups than any other consulting firm in the country.
Uncertain of how and where to begin a capital campaign for a new animal shelter?
Here’s our easy-to-understand five-step process illustrating a capital campaign from start to finish:


The first step in building a new animal shelter begins when your organization’s leadership (i.e. board of directors and executive director) convert generic ideas about the need for a new animal shelter into serious discussion. This becomes a critical juncture in building and funding a new animal shelter. It is at this point the leadership should recognize that it wants to seriously pursue building and funding a new animal shelter and that it must take very deliberate steps in order to achieve success.  Step One is comprised of three important sub-stages:

Stage 1. Strengthen your organization’s board by ensuring that a diverse array of professional disciplines are represented. Individuals with professional occupations in law, finance, human resources, marketing and veterinary medicine should all be on the board. It is also critical that all board members make an annual financial commitment to the very organization they are governing. (This situation is best handled with a “board giving policy”).   Any board about to embark on a campaign to raise funds for a new animal shelter should be comprised of individuals who, not only, are financially invested in the organization, but who are well connected and willing to use their network to facilitate introductions to other individuals and companies within the community to support your capital fundraising campaign.  The success of a capital campaign hinges in large part on a board of directors that is financially committed to the organization and well-connected to the community at large.
Stage 2. Develop a three-to-five year strategic plan that includes operational, fundraising and marketing plans complete with goals, tactics, timetables and holds specific people responsible for each strategy and tactic.
Stage 3.  Commission a building planning study.   A building planning study provides your organization with important data and information that indicates the size and animal housing capacity of the new animal shelter.   A study will look at such things as past, current and projected human and animal populations; the amount of space needed, along with number of kennels and cages, to house the projected number of animals; staff and volunteer space needs; program and service resources required; interior and exterior needs; geographic location; pedestrian and vehicular traffic flow; road systems; and may even take into consideration residential and commercial building growth.

Let ANIMAL SHELTER FUNDRAISING help you with STEP 1 of your campaign by:

  • Training and developing your board
  • Developing your strategic plan
  • Conducting a building planning study


The second step takes the information from your organization’s strategic plan AND building planning study and puts it “to the test” – literally.  This step in the process is called a fundraising feasibility study, commonly referred to as just a feasibility study.   The feasibility study evaluates your organization’s chance of conducting a successful campaign prior to the onset of the campaign and even indicates whether your organization should proceed with a capital campaign or if it has work to do prior to initiating the campaign.  A feasibility study is a comprehensive and thorough examination of numerous factors regarding your organization, its leadership,  supporters and funding sources.  There are many things that a feasibility study will indicate, among them being:

  • how much money can realistically be raised,
  • how long it will take to raise the money,
  • who will make leadership gifts to the campaign,
  • who will serve as campaign leaders,
  • the readiness of the staff and board to undertake a campaign,
  • insight into how the general public perceives the organization,
  • if the proposed project has the support of the community
A feasibility study is conducted by interviewing donors, volunteers and other key stakeholders in your community (i.e. city/county officials and local philanthropists)  to gather their thoughts and opinions to your proposed project.   These personal and confidential interviews are based on a Statement of Intent written by Animal Shelter Fundraising.   It is important to understand that the Statement of Intent is the pre-cursor to the case statement – the very heart of your capital fundraising campaign for your new animal shelter.  A case statement articulates the need of your organization’s project and its importance to the overall community.  The case statement lays the foundation upon which your campaign is supported – it can and will persuade your key stakeholders, major donors and campaign leaders to become involved.  It explains why a donor’s gift will make a difference to the organization and the community.
Once the feasibility study has been completed and shared with your organization’s board and key stakeholders, it is time for the board to discuss the findings and decide upon an appropriate course of action.  If the study recommends, and your board agrees, moving forward with the campaign to build a new animal shelter, it is highly recommended your group retain a fundraising consultant with expertise in animal shelter issues.  (Animal Shelter Fundraising is the ONLY consulting company specializing in fundraising for animal welfare groups). Then based upon feedback and information gathered during the feasibility study, we will then draft the case statement which will be at the center of your campaign and all campaign material (used in Stages 3-4).
Under our guidance, your board will hold a meeting with key stakeholders (i.e. campaign leaders, major donors, key staff, key volunteers, and local government officials) to share the news of the campaign and its goal.  Let ANIMAL SHELTER FUNDRAISING help you with STEP TWO of your campaign by:
  • Writing your Statement of Intent
  • Conducting your feasibility study
  • Creating, developing and producing your campaign material


This step of the campaign is so called because the campaign to raise funds to build your new animal shelter has not been publicly made. Your capital campaign leadership is quietly going about their business cultivating and soliciting the top tier gifts identified in the campaign gift chart prepared by Animal Shelter Fundraising.  The campaign gift table is a chart detailing the size and number of gifts needed to achieve your campaign goal (see sample chart below for a $1M campaign):

Amount of Gift 

Gifts Needed 

Cumulative Total

$150, 000


$150, 000

$100, 000


$250, 000

$  50, 000


$350, 000

$  25, 000


$500, 000

$  10, 000


$600, 000

$    5, 000


$700, 000

$    2, 500


$800, 000

$    1, 000


$900, 000

$       500


$1, 000, 000

During the” quiet” fundraising phase your campaign leadership has two goals: First, to set the tone of the entire campaign by making their own leadership gift (usually one the highest gift for the campaign); and second, to secure between 50-65% of the total amount of money needed for the campaign .  As you can see illustrated in the chart above, the top ten gifts, which is but 3% of all campaign gifts – makes up 50% of the campaign fundraising goal.   The larger the top gifts made by the campaign leadership, the faster the campaign proceeds.  Successfully securing those top leadership gifts allows your organization to move on to the next Step feeling confident that the campaign goal will be achieved.
Let ANIMAL SHELTER FUNDRAISING help you with STEP 3 of your campaign by:
  • Helping you secure your campaign leaders
  • Training your board and volunteers to cultivate and solicit leadership/major gifts for the campaign
  • Developing a comprehensive, strategic plan for your entire campaign
  • Identifying and researching prospects
  • Guiding and motivating campaign committee members


Now that your campaign has secured between 50-65% of your total campaign goal, it is now time to make public your campaign to build a new animal shelter.  This is important because your organization’s donors and supporters will now feel secure and confident in the campaign’s success because leaders have invested in this community project and the campaign is at least half way, if not more, on its way to the campaign goal.  Emphasis now shifts toward getting the final 35-50% of campaign funds from lower level gifts.
Let ANIMAL SHELTER FUNDRAISING help you with STEP FOUR of your campaign by:
  • Planning and implementing campaign kick-off events
  • Continuing to guide and keep campaign leaders and committee members motivated to complete the campaign
  • Developing donor stewardship programs
  • Training staff to cultivate and acknowledge donors


The final stage of your capital campaign to build a new animal shelter is marked by the continuation of cultivating prospects and donors as well as collecting on pledge commitments.  Often time the organization will host a grand opening or other similar type of event to celebrate the success of the campaign.
Let Animal Shelter Fundraising help you with STEP 5 of your campaign by:
  • Planning and implementing events such as a grand opening ceremony
  • Writing and distributing news releases
  • Working with the board and campaign leadership to install donor recognition

To discuss your new animal shelter, contact us by phone at 623.975.1234, e-mail us or complete and submit the form on the Contact Us page.