Animal shelters rely on the funding of philanthropic individuals and private foundations to support their efforts to protect animals. Grants provide animal shelters with an opportunity to alleviate suffering and improve public consciousness. You should know how to get grants for animal shelters since grant writing is a challenging, time intensive process.

Step 1.

Determine the type of funding that you need, such as general operating support or program support. Very few organizations provide grants that allow you to spend a grant according to your own discretion and foundations often maintain very strict guidelines, regulating how the money can be spent, such as spay/neuter programs, facility improvement, animal education or other areas. Make sure that you know exactly what type of funding you need to simplify the grant process.

Step 2.

Go to the Foundation Center and federal grants website, to search for corporate and foundation center grant opportunities. You can search through potential grant opportunities by searching terms like no kill shelters, animal shelters, animal welfare, animal education and similar terminology. Make a list of your previous benefactors, including key contact information, deadlines, and other requirements.

Step 3.

Create a grant calendar based on the deadline and make sure that you have time to commit to the grant writing process. If you do not have time, then make sure that you have someone within your organization who can focus on the grant process from start to finish. Narrow your grant list by deadline and create your calendar, keeping in mind the time necessary for research, writing, revision, and the submission process.

Step 4.

Make phone calls to contact the funder’s by e-mail in order to clarify the application process and make sure that they are still funding animal shelters or animal related projects. Many foundations are happy to discuss their funding process and discuss their specific guidelines for the grant process. This can help you get an edge in the grant process.

Step 5.

Outline the grant requirements and determine whether the funder wants animal shelters to use common grant applications. Write the application so that it includes a cover letter, the mission of your shelter, accomplishments and programs, a needs statement and the goals, objectives, and evaluation process. When developing a grant request, it is important to include information about your organization’s leadership. Make sure that your organization develops an accurate budget for the project. Submit your grant request before the deadline.


Grant proposals are often rejected because the organization did not follow the directions of the application.


Do not get discouraged even when rejected. Grant writing takes time and you may receive more rejections than grants.