How can you support dog and cat charities?
It is almost Christmas! We are all very excited in our house. As I write this, Leo (Border Terrier) and Henry (Cavalier King Charles Spaniel) are curled up on the sofa. Princess (tortoiseshell kitty) is stretched out in front of the fire and Rufus (Bengal/Maine Coon cross) is jumping up on stuff and knocking things over. I’m a crazy dog and cat lady and we have stockings for the creatures hanging up on the fireplace and they will have their own gifts to unwrap on Christmas day. If you are reading this, I imagine you have or have previously had similarly spoiled pets of your own. Sadly, not all pups and kitties have comfortable, loving homes. And at this time of year in particular, you may be thinking about how you can support dog and cat charities.
I have been giving this some thought and have collated information on several different ways you can support dog and cat charities.
1. Give As You Earn
Give As You Earn, also known as Payroll Giving is a convenient and tax-efficient way for UK taxpayers to make a regular donation to the charity of their choice. Many UK employers are enrolled in the scheme. You can support any UK registered charity and provide them with a regular stream of income.
As the donation is taken from your pre-tax pay, the cost to you is actually less than the donation. The rest is provided by the tax man! For standard-rate taxpayers, each £1 donation will cost you 80p and for high-rate tax-payers it will cost you 60p. Payroll Giving or Give As You Earn is the only means of charitable giving that allows higher-rate tax-payers to pass on their 40-45% tax. All other methods only provide a maximum of 28% tax relief.
You can check here to find out if your employer offers this facility. You can also use the link to sign up directly.
2. Sponsor a Dog or Cat
Another popular method to support dog and cat charities is to sponsor a dog or a cat. Again, this is a great regular stream of income for a charity. It also makes a good gift for an animal lover. It could be a good option for you if your employer doesn’t offer Give As You Earn.
Each charity with a sponsorship programme has a slightly different offering. But generally, you make a monthly donation by direct debit to sponsor a dog or cat and in return, you receive regular photos and updates about your sponsored pet.
You can off-set your regular donations against your income tax. Check the HMRC website for more information.
3. Volunteer at a rescue centre
Giving money is not the only way you can support dog and cat charities. If you have some time to spare you could consider volunteering at a rescue centre. This is a brilliant option for people who love dogs and cats but are unable to have their own.
Opportunities include dog-walking, spending time playing with dogs and cats or helping out at fund-raising events. If you have a professional skill or qualification, you may be able to offer your services to help the charity.
There is more information on volunteering on the Government website, including links to listings for specific volunteering opportunities.
Alternatively, you can contact a local charity directly to ask them about volunteering for them.
4. Buy gifts and cards that include a donation to charity
Another easy way you can support dog and cat charities is by shopping! There are loads of gifts and cards available that include a donation to charity in the price. Most larger charities have an on-line or catalogue shop with a wide range of products.
Barks & Squeaks also has a few lovely gifts that support charities. Check out our charity page to see which products include a donation to charity.
In addition, if you create your own hamper and opt for one of our wicker hampers, £2 of the cost will be donated to pet charities. Currently we are dividing the proceeds equally between Dogs Trust and Blue Cross.
5. Sponsored events
This is a good one for New Year if you want to get fit or give something up! There is a wide choice of events across the UK that you can take part in and ask people to sponsor you. It is a great way to set yourself a physical challenge and support dog and cat charities at the same time.
From a 5K walk, jog or run, to a half or full marathon to 20 mile muddy obstacle courses, bike rides and even events for kids there should be something for most people. If a physical challenge appeals to you, this fitness website has details of hundreds of events across the U.K. Often, charities have places available for big events like the London Marathon. It is worth checking with your favourite charity to see what they may have already organised.
Or if sporting activities are not your thing, there are plenty of other options of things you can (or can stop!) doing for sponsorship. Cake bakes, raffles, guess the number of jelly beans in the jar, sponsored silence etc etc. This website has loads of suggestions to start you thinking about how you can support dog and cat charities.
6. Adopt Don’t Shop
One of the main reasons that dog and cat charities exist is because there are so many pets desperate to find a home. If you have room in your life for a dog or a cat, a fantastic way to support dog and cat charities is to re-home a pet. Henry and Rufus are both re-homed pets and I cannot imagine our family without them!