Many people dress their best for special occasions and there is no reason why pets cannot put their best paw (or claw or beak) forward as well. A pet contest is a fun and easy way to raise money for a charity, organization, or school. Whether the contest is held on its own or as part of a local fair or festival, it is easy to organize and run.
Step 1: Create a list of roles and solicit volunteers to perform each responsibility. Put someone in charge of prizes and charge several others with a concession stand, stage construction, and seating. Let someone with a dynamic personality serve as emcee and have the most creative folks in the group assist with creating decorations, posters, flyers, and other advertisements.
Assign someone to secure a venue in a public location such as a school, church, or park. Apply for the necessary permits and find out what guidelines, if any, pet owners must follow regarding vaccinations.
Step 2: Determine which pets will be permitted to enter the contest. Dogs and cats are popular choices and ferrets, rabbits, hamsters, and guinea pigs will add some excitement. Consider opening the contest to amphibians and birds as long as these are leashed or in a cage/tank.
Step 3: Decide on a theme for the contest. Holidays, television shows, movies, and celebrities are several potential categories. Encourage owners to dress pets in costumes. If the event is a fundraiser for a health-oriented charity, consider a sporting theme and have a competition of pet tricks or different activities.
Step 4: Select contest judges and create criteria for judging, which may include uniqueness, attractiveness, agility, behavior, or intelligence.
Step 5: Find companies and individuals to donate prizes. Pet stores are good choices because they can provide treats, toys, or shopping sprees. Pet spas, day care centers, or groomers can offer gift certificates for services. Have several people with craft skills make banners or medals for the winners and runners-up.
Step 6: Have the advertising team put up posters and distribute flyers several weeks before the event. Use free online classifieds, free ad space on public access television and radio, and social media networks to spread the word to other audiences. A local newspaper or magazine may even be willing to donate free advertising space.
Step 7: On the day of the event, have all volunteers arrive early and stay throughout the event to help with setup, registration, crowd control, and the concession booth.