If you’re in the process of obtaining a Service Dog, one of the first things you should start thinking about is fundraising since this investment can cost thousands of dollars. The cost of these animals greatly depends on the program – some of them are free for qualified, low income families, but the free ones generally have waiting lists that could take years before you’re matched with a dog.
The average Service Dog costs between $20-$30k with the program asking the handler to cover about $10-$15k of the cost (depending on the program). This is a huge amount of money to many families and individuals who are desperately hoping for help. Some people even get discouraged by the cost and give up trying to get one of these dogs altogether.
While it may seem impossible, there are many ways to raise the needed money but it’s important to make sure that you’re able to financially own a dog and can take on all the responsibilities after you’ve obtained your match.
If you know that you can financially afford a dog, here are several fundraising ideas to offset the cost of the Service Dog’s training:
– Friends & Family – Most people will start asking friends and family for support. You can create a gofundme.com or firstgiving.com account and post it to Facebook & social media describing your situation and ask if anyone is able to help you.
– Donations Jar – Create flyers explaining your situation and attach them to a jar. Ask local businesses, schools, and churches if you can place the donations jar on a counter where visitors regularly visit that you’ll come pick up weekly.
– Sell something hand crafted – Create little keychains, braided bracelets, dog collars, anything that’s very simple to create and doesn’t cost much money along with little info cards about your situation. Then go to local businesses (malls, grocery stores, airports, festivals) passing out your handcrafted items asking people for donations. People respond well this as they feel like they’re getting something in return along with helping someone out.
– Create an Etsy store – If you’re craftsy, create something to sell on Etsy.com – make sure in the information section you describe your situation and let people know that their purchase is for a great cause and will help someone in need.
– Car wash – Go to local schools and explain your situation and ask if the kids could put on a car wash for your benefit.
– Write letters – Churches love to help those in need. Write a letter to a few churches and ask if they could help sponsor you. Many times the church will make an announcement to the whole congregation during service asking for donations.
– Eagles, Boys & Girls Scouts – Contact local boys/girls scouts and ask if they can sponsor you. Also Eagle Scouts love to help those in need – if you can find someone working on their certification they might be willing to help you plan out your entire fundraising and do a lot of the leg work for you.
More creative & festive ideas to raise money:
– Bake Sale
– Haunted House
– Cake Walk
– Car detailing
– Board game tournament
– Dog sitting
– Fish fry
– Dodgeball tournament
– Face painting
– Garage sale
– Ice cream social
– Outdoor Movie night
– Pizza party
– Scrapbook party
– Skate party
– Silent auction
– Talent contest
– Trivia night
– Yard Sale
– Dog wash
It’s important to make sure that you follow any instructions regarding donations with your program (if any). If you’re on SSDI or SSI, you want to make sure that these donations do not count as your income as that could affect your eligibility.
If donations get sent directly to the program, make sure that they are clearly addressed to you or state “on ‘your name’s’ behalf”. If you have the donations sent directly to the program, also ask what happens to the money if you don’t end up getting a dog from them.
Don’t get discouraged or let this be a daunting task, fundraising can be a lot of fun and a great way to meet new people!