9 ways to help animals without spending a dime

One of the most difficult situations for an animal lover is not having enough funds to donate to a favorite organization or sponsor an animal.

Every little bit might help, but what if you don't even have a little bit?

There are countless ways you can help animals – some are little things that add up, while others create a bigger impact. While money and funding are important to many organizations that help animals, there are some other ways to help that don't involve spending money.


Probably the way you can impact animals' lives the most is through donating your time. Shelters depend on volunteers in order to properly run the organization. Volunteer tasks can include everything from walking the dogs, playing with the cats, cleaning out cages and kennels to helping out with customer service. Volunteering is one of the best ways you can not only help animals, but help an organization continue its mission.

Donate pet supplies

If you have unused pet supplies lying around the house, shelters will happily take them off your hands. Perhaps you just lost a companion and have extra toys, food and other supplies. Honor your buddy by helping out another animal that needs those items. Maybe you bought a toy that your dog or cat refuses to play with. Another dog would probably love that toy.

Don't throw away those papers and plastic bags

Many shelters use plastic grocery bags to pick up poop while walking the dogs. Instead of throwing away bags, ask around to see if any shelters will use them. Give the bags a second life and help shelters save money on poop bags. You can do the same with old papers. Many shelters have rabbits for adoption. Those rabbits will sometimes have shredded paper in the bottom of their cages, or use paper to shred for their own entertainment.

Foster an animal

Full disclosure: Fostering is a big responsibility, and you may ultimately end up spending some money. If you have an adequate housing situation and enough time to give for a few weeks, fostering is a great way to help an animal acclimate to living in a home. Most shelters will provide food and supplies for you. All you need to do is provide housing and good care. Before you make the decision to foster an animal, do lots of research to ensure it's the best decision for everyone involved.

Be active in local politics

If you want stricter consequences for animal abusers or want to ban the use of animals as entertainment in your city, speak up. Contact your local lawmakers and ask what you need to do in order to create a better community for animals.

Host an event

As the saying goes, “There's no harm in asking.” Hold a community event and ask for people to donate specific animal foods, toys, cat litter, dog leashes, animal beds and whatever else you can think of that will help a rescue organization. Make sure to provide information about the organization you choose so others who may not know about it can learn.

Have a selfless birthday or holiday

Instead of asking people for gifts, ask them to donate to an organization or issue you care about.

Learn as much as you can

There are plenty of articles online and resources at your local library. Read a book about factory farming, look up articles on what to do when you find a stray animal, get acquainted with homeless animal statistics. There is so much information out there that will help you understand animals' needs and how you can make a difference. Plus, you can spread the knowledge you learn to other people.

Create a petition

If there is an issue that is really bothering you and you want to do something about it, start a petition and share it online. The issue could get in front of thousands of people, many of whom will share it on. You will also be able to inform people who may not be familiar with the cause.

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  1. 7 years ago
    Melania P.

    Agree, I donate my clothes/other things for the sales they do to raise money. These are great ideas. Really, you don't have to be a rich person to make some positive change. Sharing as well.

  2. 7 years ago
    Christine J.

    Wonderful article. Even without spare cash, everyone can do something.

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