We use cookies to help us provide you with the best experience, improve and tailor our services, and carry out our marketing activities. For more information, including how to manage your cookie settings, see our privacy notice.


Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Covid-19 update: Government guidance changed on 19 July 2021 - we're currently updating our information in response to this. In the meantime, visit the government's guidance on lifting restrictions.

Community-made content which you can improve Case study from our community

How wildlife charities can raise funds at Christmas

Christmas is a great time to fundraise. Here are six fundraising ideas for wildlife charities, with examples and tips for success. 


Christmas cards

Many people prefer to support small local charities by buying their Christmas cards. The Institute of Fundraising report that the Christmas card market for good causes is worth an estimated £50 million per year. A well designed card will generate income and help you to reach new potential supporters.

For example, Devon Wildlife Trust raised almost £6,000 from Christmas card sales in 2014. They sell their cards at Cards for Good Causes shops across Devon and at events. They promote the cards to their members and supporters through their membership magazine and e-newsletter. They also produce a press release each year which has been taken up by local newspapers.

Check out how to produce and sell Christmas cards for more information.


Sponsorship and adoption

Many of the big charities offer animal sponsorship or adoption gifts. This is a simple and easy process that can be replicated by small not-for-profits.

  • Sponsor a patient schemes are a great way to raise funds towards the medical costs of shorter term animals in your care.
  • Adoption schemes are ideal for long term and resident animals such as those who are unable to be released back into the wild.

Top tips for success:

  • create a sponsorship/ adoption gift package with a Christmas card, photo and certificate
  • provide a range of payment options
  • provide regular updates of the animal’s progress via letter or email
  • provide a soft cuddly animal toy or other small gift (for a small extra cost).

For example, Hessilhead Wildlife Rescue in Scotland care for injured and orphaned wildlife. They offer a gift sponsorship package for a wide range of their animal patients for £25.


Animal experience days

Do you need an extra pair of helping hands at feeding time? Animal experience days can be a great way of raising funds and getting some jobs done! They are ideal for organisations who run wildlife centres or for rescue centres with resident animals who are in good health but remaining under your care.  

Top tips for success:

  • ensure you have animals that are suitable for receiving visitors without becoming distressed
  • create a gift package with a Christmas card, photo and date options
  • ensure that qualified staff or volunteers will be available to deliver the sessions and that they have had the appropriate security checks (such as DBS)
  • provide customers with a health and safety briefing before the experience
  • carry out a risk assessment and check that you are insured for visitors
  • provide information on sponsorship, membership, fundraising and volunteering opportunities where relevant.

For example, Living Coasts provide a range of different animal experiences. This includes a ‘Feeding the Otters Experience’ - £65 for 45mins and a ‘Keeper Experience’ - £125 for 3hours. 


Wildlife themed gifts

Selling animal-related gifts is a great way to gain further funds from your supporters.

British Wildlife Gifts enables your supporters to choose from a wide range of beautiful wildlife gifts at below the recommended retail price and donate to your cause. The online shop enables wildlife organisations and rescue centres to raise funds for free. 


Ask for a gift

What is your organisation’s Christmas wish?  Do you need building materials for a new animal enclosure? A new washing machine or perhaps you are running low on tins of pet food? Christmas is a good time to ask people if they can help your cause by donating essential items or equipment and materials. 


Sell donated goods

Have you had any nearly new items donated that would make nice gifts? Or perhaps you have received some retro or vintage items that would catch the eye of a collector.

Auction them for free using eBay’s scheme for good causes. To get started you need to register for free with The PayPal Giving Fund.

For example, Paradise Wildlife Park have a ‘Donate unwanted items and gifts’ section on their website. They use donated gifts to sell from their log cabin shop and also sell their items on eBay. 


Plan for next Christmas

  • Book your street collections: Popular locations in big cities can be booked up a year in advance for Christmas street collections.
  • Cash in on unwanted Christmas presents: Book a date in your diary in January to ask your supporters for unwanted Christmas present donations.   This will help you to build up a stock of good items ready for next Christmas.
  • Run a Christmas card competition: Whilst everyone is feeling Christmassy you could launch a ‘Design A Christmas Card’ competition for next year’s card image.

Whether it is big or small remember to celebrate your results!

Further information

This how-to is based on a blog post written by fundraising consultant Gemma Kingsman for Tennyson Insurance now Zurich Insurance.



Page last edited Jun 09, 2017 History

Help us to improve this page – give us feedback.