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Many people are animal lovers and want to help, but they don’t have the space to adopt or the extra funds to sponsor an animal, so what do you do?

Surprisingly there are a variety of different ways that you can help animals and charities without that extra commitment. It’s a great way to feel warm and fuzzy inside because you can help one of the many thousands of animals in need, but in a way that suits you too! It’s a win, win and charities are always looking for people to help.

For me, animals are a huge part of my life and if I had all the money in the world I would probably have my own shelter and take in all the abandoned and unwanted. Unfortunately, I have neither the funds or the space to do it so I have to settle for other ways to do my part. So here are some ways you can help animals without spending money, regardless of your time commitment that isn’t as much effort as you think!

Educate Yourself on Brands

You would be surprised to learn how many big names still test on animals and many of them are household favourites that you hadn’t considered. Avoiding these brands helps to send a message to the industry and avoids contributing to the problem. Avoiding these types of brands doesn’t have to put you without your favourite products however as there are plenty of cruelty-free alternatives!
 make up - educate yourself on brands


Here is a fabulously inclusive list of Brands That Still Test On Animals from Cruelty-Free Kitty
and some Cruelty-Free Alternative Brands to try out.


The more obvious solution because if you can’t donate money, then why not donate time?! That being said, not everyone is able to make it down to their local shelter to muck out. There are plenty of other options you can try including distance volunteering which is something I do with my spare time! (learn more about my Volunteer’s View of Cats Protection).

Another option is volunteering your unique services, for example, if you are a photographer you could spend a couple of hours per week or month, photographing the animals and getting their best side for the website or publications to make them look more adoption-worthy! As an IT or marketing expert, you could offer free services to help with online advocacy and improve website navigation and usability making it easier to search for adopted animals online. Don’t feel like you have to do the traditional volunteering if you aren’t able, there is always something for everyone!

Volunteering also doesn’t have to be a permanent thing, many charities run family or corporate days so a large group of you go in and perform a variety of tasks to help with a backlog or merely pitch in for the day to take some of the pressure off and these can be excellent team building or family bonding exercises.

cute cat volunteerings


It may seem silly but petitions and getting involved can make a powerful impact and cause pressure to make changes! Unity is important when it comes to changing large industries and it is something quick and easy you can do from your desk or phone at work or during your lunch break! If you think that signing a petition isn’t worth it, look at the 14-year-old Lucy Gavaghan who fought Tesco and won using petitions to stop them selling eggs from caged hens due to their unethical treatment. Your signature matters!



What part of animal care are you passionate about? I advocate for owners to neuter their pets (here’s why) and I use the platforms that I have to speak about them and try to be informative. You can do the same, whether it is about animal testing, food production, animal adoption, dog fighting or the number of other issues that need to be discussed and identified, become an advocate, educate yourself and start discussions with others.

rabbit advocacy

Social Shares

If you see lost animals or those up for adoption (from reputable sites) share them on your social media channels, it takes two seconds and expands their reach. Sharing petitions you have signed on social media can also help them gain traction and increase awareness, why do you think social media marketing is such a big industry? Because of you and me making an impact. Consider if you have 100 friends, you share it and they see it. Even if only 5 of your friends also share it, that could be potentially 500 more that would see and become aware of an issue, and so on and so forth. Social media is a powerful tool so don’t underestimate yourself.

Plus, you never know who you might reach, your next door neighbour could be looking for a new cat or dog but haven’t found one yet and voila you could be the catalyst to a new animal finding its forever home!

cute dog social shares
*A word of warning, be careful about sharing animals “for sale” from social media sites because these are usually not reputable sources and should be discouraged. Also, some users may find graphic images disturbing and therefore not want them coming up on their newsfeed so always be mindful of what you choose to share and show.


For those who like the idea of having an animal but don’t want (or can’t give) the long-term commitment, fostering could be the way forward. I interviewed Heather from the Toronto Cat Rescue on her role of a fosterer if you want more information or for cat lovers in the UK, watch this video from Cats Protection to see if you want to learn more!


We all know about the traditional fundraising methods that involve raising money for charities, from bake sales to sponsored sports in some cases it is the only thing can keep some shelters afloat. That being said, it can be a lot to constantly ask friends and family for funds (especially if you don’t have many!) but fundraising doesn’t stop there!

It’s not always about the money and you can fundraise other items that can be just as helpful;

  • Leftover animal food
  • Blankets for the winter
  • Cleaning products
  • and even silly things like newspapers and plastic bags that can be used for smaller animal hutches and lining cages helps.

Anything that you can donate can be helpful because it saves a shelter or charity from needing to buy them itself!

cute hamster

Get Creative

For creative types, it offers the perfect opportunities to do something you love and help animals at the same time! Making toys, beds and blankets for animals in need can brighten their day and be donated to local shelters! You don’t even have to buy materials, old clothes that people donate or you no longer need can be sewn and turned into pillows and blankets or even makeshift toys!

For the knitters – Here is the knitting pattern for “Captain Cat Battler, The Catnip Mouse”

Alternatively, you can check out my 11 Fun & Frugal DIY Cat Toys post for more ideas on some makeshift fun!
 cat toy playing, fundraising idea

Ultimately, it is all about doing what you can and using your own skills and expertise to help others! Even if you aren’t a cat lover or are allergic, these can also be adapted to other charities you are more passionate about.

If you’re a cat lover you might want to visit Cat Corner for all of the cute cat and cat care related posts on The Mummy Toolbox

Ways you can help animals even if you can't commit to adopting, have little funds and regardless of the amount of free-time you have.

32 comments on “Ways To Help Animals Without Spending or Adopting”

  1. Back when I used to do a lot of crocheting, I made animal blankets and catnip toys. There was also a group I belonged to crafters for a cause that served a variety of charities, namely, GreyHounds.

  2. I love these ideas. We have resued several animals and are getting a new rescue cat on Saturday. I always have a soft spot for animals.

  3. I have a friend who is passionate about animal rescue, so I found this post very interesting. I especially liked your unique tip to volunteer a specific skill. Why I’ve never thought of that, I have no idea! And that picture of that bunny…so cute!

  4. Yes!! Love all these ideas! I’ve been trying to only buy skincare, makeup, and beauty brands that strictly do not test on animals.

  5. It is such a great idea to volunteer if you love animals – especially good for youngsters who are considering a career with them

  6. I love this post so much. I am a big advocate of animal welfare. There are tons of ways to get involved that don’t require money. Thanks for sharing a few!

  7. I believe that volunteering not only helps the animals but it helps with your personal growth as well. Thank you for reminding everyone of these simple things to promote pet caring! 🙂

  8. These are such interesting ideas. I would have never thought of these myself. Whatever little you can do is great and things like petitions and volunteering or fund raising go a long way in helping the animals.

  9. I love volunteering at this shelter in Brooklyn that lets you walk two dogs (30 minutes each) and it’s such a great bonding time and the dogs are just so happy to be out and playing. They also have a program where you can play with cats or clean their cages. Love volunteering!

  10. We have not ventured into owning an animal yet as my hands are full with kids, but I loved all these ideas. My kids would love to have a dog in the family, but until things settle down I think we will help animals these different ways. Thanks!

  11. These are some great tips! Especially the first one because it might seem small, but that’s a big way to put brands that hurt animals out of business!

  12. This is all great advice, with some things I hadn’t even thought of! My daughter is a huge animal lover. She loves animals of all kinds, and constantly wants to adopt the stray whatever, but we simply can’t adopt them all. So great ideas!!

  13. I am so glad that you are cruelty free. I went cruelty free not too long ago after finding out how many brands tested on animals and I felt so much happier! x

  14. Excellent and very fitting read for someone like me. I recently put my dog down, not ready for another yet but want to stay involved somehow. Thank you, great tips!

  15. Aww, this post is so sweet. I think fostering is such a great idea for those who can’t keep a pet long term. I wish we had a bigger house so I could adopt a bunch of dogs! 🙁

  16. This is a great list of suggestions! However, I must warn you: volunteering can lead to adoption!! It happened to me! I fell in love with a cavashon at the Humane Shelter and within a month, he was living with me, and still is!

    • it’s a great way to give them the responsibility without you taking on the responsibility! And many charities cater for 14-year old volunteers and above or days that are chaperoned.

  17. Most of what you’ve suggested sounds more useful than owning a pet. I care about where my meat comes from, good farming rather than atrocious conditions, and I need to look more at where my toiletries/makeup come from.

  18. Love this post! I think many people aren’t really away of the ways you can indirectly help animals so this is a must read to anyone who wants to do so.

  19. I agree, I recently checked my makeup brands and was horrified to see I had some that tested in China, so in the bin they went! I now am more aware of what I buy

  20. I’d love to be able to volunteer in a nearby pet shelter, but I don’t drive you see and we live in the middle of nowhere. Hoping to finally get my licence this year, and then I can find a place to volunteer 🙂

  21. I’d never heard of animal fostering before – what an awesome idea!

    We’re not quite sure what our pet policy is going to be – we don’t have any at the moment and our 4 year old is definitely wanting us to take the plunge. I’m slightly hesitant but I like these ideas for dipping toes in the water.

  22. Great advice. There are so many ways people can help animals, and it is of course our duty to do so. Sharing…

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