7 Ways to Build Community by Giving Back

The Pacific Northwest is full of fun and unique ways to bring groups together around a shared interest. Oregon is a beautiful and diverse landscape with no shortage of unique experiences. Microbrews, hiking trails, small batch coffee, locally hand-crafted trinkets – all of these things can bring people together to create community in Portland. But nothing quite brings us together like the love we have for our pets. After all, Oregon ranks among the top states in pet ownership. Combined with the fact that Oregon has also historically been one of the most charitable states in the country, it makes sense to combine our affection for animals with our desire to give back.

If this sounds like you, you’re not alone! DoveLewis receives inquiries every year from groups and individuals who are looking to merge these two passions. It only takes one person with a desire to help or an idea to bring people together to create real impact and contribute to the life-saving work of DoveLewis.

In this post, we’ll review the DoveLewis Fundraising Toolkit and provide instruction on how you can implement a giving campaign for DoveLewis. 

The first step in organizing a group fundraiser is to familiarize yourself and your group with the work and mission of DoveLewis. Page 2 of the Toolkit showcases the work of DoveLewis and the many ways we support animal wellness in our community. Find something that especially speaks to you about our mission and focus on that. It may be our 24/7 emergency care that you find most compelling, or it may be one of our community programs. Determining your focus here will help you focus your fundraiser.

The second step is to decide how you want to help, and where your donations will go. For example, financial or in-kind donations can support hospital operation, or one of our six community programs. For a list of our community programs, see the third page of the Toolkit. You can then combine your focus area with one of the seven fundraising options below.

1. Birthdays/Special Occasions

Increasingly, people are opting out of gifts and in to giving back with special occasion fundraisers. For your next birthday, wedding, your pet’s birthday, or any occasion where you might receive gifts, you can express to your friends and family that you would prefer they make a gift to DoveLewis. They can easily donate online and make a gift in your honor (or your pet’s honor!). If you are a goal-oriented person, you can start a Facebook Fundraiser for DoveLewis and share it with friends near and far. Dedicating your next special occasion to raising money for DoveLewis is an easy and special way to share your love for animals and support pet owners in your community.

2. Organize a Drive

Organizing a supply drive can be a great way to bring people together. For complete list of needed items, check out page 4 of the toolkit. If your crowd likes to shop or has any of these items laying around and would like to repurpose them, simply send one (or all) of these wish lists to your group, set a timeline for gathering the items, then bring them to DoveLewis! A favorite around the holidays is a toy drive for our Blood Bank Superheroes!

3. Workplace Campaigns

If your employer is looking for a way to support local nonprofits, consider suggesting DoveLewis as a charitable partner. There are several ways companies can get involved, from sponsoring an event to matching charitable donations. They can even host any of the other six fundraiser ideas listed here. To get your company involved, contact us at events@dovelewis.org.

4. Percent of Sales

If you or someone you know owns a business, consider donating a percentage of sales to help save animals! Whether you choose a specific day or item to promote, or would like to set up an on-going promotion, DoveLewis will help you promote the opportunity through our marketing channels. We can also work with your company to identify custom products that highlight our partnership, like the Fuzzy Muzzle hazy IPA that Lucky Lab Brewing crafted for us in the Summer of 2019, and sold in New Seasons stores across the Pacific Northwest!

5. "A-Thons"

You know them, you love them, you can host them! Bowl-a-thons, jog-a-thons, wag-a-thons, you-name-it-a-thons. Identify an activity you love, organize a group to do the activity together, charge an entry fee, and donate the proceeds to DoveLewis! Our team can provide some support and promotion depending on the scale and nature of your “a-thon”.

6. Tournaments

If you and your friends are really good at something, consider making your past-time a full-on tournament! Similar to the “a-thon” option above, you can determine an entry fee for your tournament, then get people to sign up. Make sure the entry fee is enough to cover any expenses you may incur when planning and hosting a tournament, plus whatever amount you’d like to benefit DoveLewis. Our team is happy to offer advice and guidance as you plan your event.

7. Community Fundraiser

This is a great option for those looking to engage lots of people, beyond their core group of friends and co-planners. Community fundraisers can be anything that gather people together and raise money, like BBQ’s, lemonade stands, dog wash parties, car shows etc. Not only will your event likely have a big impact financial for DoveLewis but bringing in new community members will raise awareness about our mission and community programs.


This list covers a lot of options, but the sky is the limit when it comes to planning a third-party fundraising event for DoveLewis. Get a group together and get creative! This can be a great team building activity for anyone to try.

The DoveLewis Fundraising Toolkit is an excellent resource to start with. It outlines what we’ve covered here, and it has guidelines for you to keep in mind as you shape your fundraiser. Use the final two pages to submit your proposal to the DoveLewis events team. We’ll then work with you on how we can help support and promote your idea.

Many third-party fundraisers went on to become annual favorites among DoveLewis supporters, including Dogtoberfest, which celebrated its 25th year in 2019, and the Westie Walk, which celebrated its 20th year in 2018. These, and other third-party fundraisers, help raise awareness and critical funds for DoveLewis. Thanks to our community of supporters, we treat thousands of animals every single year.

Who knows? Maybe your idea will leave a legacy beyond what you could have imagined!

For questions about this article or the Fundraising Toolkit, contact us at events@dovelewis.org.

Happy planning!


Recent Posts