Deck the Paws

My name is Katie Davis, and my husband, Jason, and I are the owners of Route 24 Ale House in Bel Air. Four years ago we came up with a little idea to make a big difference for one of our favorite charities – the Humane Society of Harford County. We knew how good it felt to host a holiday event and donate our proceeds – and we wanted our fellow business owners to feel the same!

With the holiday season right around the corner, we’re inviting you to join us for Deck the Paws, a group effort to raise funds for the care and comfort of homeless animals at the shelter.

The basic concept behind Deck the Paws is businesses like yours host a one-day event or month-long donation drive and donate proceeds to brighten the holidays for all the animals who don’t have homes and families this season. The shelter would love to do a check presentation photo with you for social media. Animal people love to shop and dine with businesses that support animals!

Below is everything you need to get started: suggested fundraising ideas, a sample flyer, and even sample social media posts!

With the end of the year approaching, this is a great opportunity to not only donate to a phenomenal organization, but also to contribute funds on behalf of your business in order to squeeze in some last-minute deductions. Last year, the Harford County business community donated over $12,000 for Deck the Paws!

We are extremely excited about raising funds for the Humane Society, but can’t do it without the participation of amazing business owners such as you! Please email me at if you have any questions, and we really hope to make this the largest fundraiser of the year for Harford County’s homeless pets!

Thank you!

Katie and Jason Davis
Volunteers, Humane Society of Harford County
Owners, Route 24 Ale House


Check out our Facebook page for specific event details.

Deck the Paws Fundraising Ideas

This list is not all-inclusive. Choose one of the suggestions below or feel free to be creative and come up with your own idea!

  • Put a donation jar on your counter. This makes it easy for customers to give their unwanted change.
  • If you serve alcohol at your establishment, name a special beer and host a “Kick the Keg” event.
  • Host a booster night and donate a percentage of the day’s sales. This will not only result in donations, but it will also encourage customers to visit your business.
  • Allow employees to pay $5 (or more!) to wear casual.
  • Hold a 50/50 raffle.
  • Host a trivia tournament. Charge an entrance fee as well as admission for the audience.
  • I Won’t Come Down Until….Select a well-known member of your staff and keep him or her detained until a fundraising goal is met.
  • Host a Karaoke competition. Charge an entrance fee and charge for votes to determine a winner.
  • Host a Throwback Thursday dance or themed night. Sell tickets.
  • Raffle off a gift basket or tickets to a concert or sporting event.
  • Offer to wrap gifts at your business. Either charge a minor fee for the wrapping or wrap for free with a prominent donation jar.
  • Have participants pay to guess how many pieces of candy are in a clear container. Charge participants a small fee, and the closest to the number wins the jar.
  • Host a cook-off. At your event, people can taste all the different food and vote for their favorites with contributions.
  • Sell paw prints. We’ve all been asked to give $1 at the local drugstore for a chance to put your name on a paper balloon that hangs on the wall. You just need to ask patrons at your register to purchase a paper paw print and display them on your walls.
  • Host a pet photos with Santa event.
  • Hold a Round-Up where customers can round their check up to the nearest dollar and donate their change.

Commonly Asked Questions

What is Deck the Paws?
Deck the Paws is a fundraiser hosted by you, and 100% of the proceeds will go directly to the comfort and care of homeless animals at the shelter. You are responsible for all the planning and marketing of the event or program, but please share any marketing materials with the shelter. You can hold your event or program any time between November 23 (Black Friday) and December 31 (New Year’s Eve).

Why should I have a fundraiser for HSHC?
Every year, the shelter takes in about 3,500 animals – not only dogs and cats, but also reptiles, birds, livestock, rabbits, horses, rodents, wildlife, and even fish! HSHC is the only municipal shelter in all of Harford County. That means not only do they take in animals from citizens of our county, but also any animals picked up as stray, or seized by animal control. HSHC is not affiliated with the Humane Society of the United States! Many people think they are a branch of HSUS, because the words “Humane Society” are in their name, but actually they are an independent 501c3 nonprofit, and do not receive funding from them. Please donate locally!

The shelter is always working hard to increase its live release rate through adoption promotions and innovative programming. With help from caring friends like you, the Live Release Rate reached 93% in 2018, the highest in the shelter’s 72-year history!

Aside from contributing to a great cause, your business will be recognized as a participant in materials distributed by the Humane Society, including social media. At the end of your event, HSHC would like to arrange a check presentation with you for posting on social media. Additionally, if you are seeking any last-minute deductions for 2019, we encourage you to consider donating on behalf of your business.

I want to organize a fundraiser for HSHC but I’m not sure what to do.
Listed above are some ideas of the many ways that you can help raise funds and awareness for HSHC. This list is by no means exhaustive; let your creativity guide you!

We’ve found it’s helpful if you set a fundraising goal. We’re providing several incentives to help you meet your goal:

  • Raise $250, get a small plate on the Plaque of Hope in our lobby that shows your business name
  • Raise $500, get a large plate on the Plaque of Hope that shows your business name
  • Raise $1,000, get a Copper Leaf on the hand-carved donor tree in our lobby with up to 4 lines of text
  • Raise $2,000, get a Brass Leaf on the hand-carved donor tree in our lobby with up to 4 lines of text
  • Raise $5,000, get a Contributor Stone at the foot of the hand-carved donor tree in our lobby with up to 4 lines of text

I want to host a fundraiser, what should I do next?
If you are interested in participating in the Deck the Paws fundraiser, please email, or fill out the form at the bottom of this page no later than Monday, November 18.

How do I promote my event?
We encourage you to advertise your event on your website, on social media, local media, blog posts, etc. – this will show your customers that you are charitable, and who doesn’t want to support a charitable business?! Share your event with the shelter as well (email any flyers to and we’ll share on our social media too. We’ve provided a sample flyer as well as sample social media posts, an email template and an event hashtag for Twitter and Instagram. Make sure to use #DeckthePawsHarford, #HarfordCounty and tag @HSHCHumane on any social media posts.


We’re raising funds for @HSHCHumane and out to score [INSERT YOUR GOAL] for homeless animals. We need your help: [INSERT LINK TO YOUR FUNDRAISER]

Help us raise a lot of money to brighten the holidays for homeless animals at @HSHCHumane. Learn more: [INSERT LINK TO YOUR FUNDRAISER]

Every homeless animal @HSHCHumane deserves a safe and warm holiday. Help out: [INSERT LINK TO YOUR FUNDRAISER]


We’re helping to raise funds for homeless animals at @HarfordHumane by [DESCRIBE YOUR FUNDRAISER]. Please help by giving what you can so the animals will have a safe and warm holiday.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…to start giving! Please visit [INSERT LINK OR BUSINESS ADDRESS] and give what you can to our fundraiser for homeless animals at @HarfordHumane. If we raise [INSERT GOAL], we’ll get [INSERT PLAQUE OR LEAF]. Every donation makes a difference, no matter how big or small.


We’re raising money for @HSHCHumane! Help us #DeckthePawsHarford here in #HarfordCounty #Maryland! [INSERT DETAILS ABOUT YOUR FUNDRAISER & YOUR OWN HASHTAGS]


SUBJECT: Deck the Paws for Homeless Animals | Help


We’re really excited to let you know that we’re working to provide a safe and warm holiday for homeless animals at The Humane Society of Harford County. You can play a major part in brightening the holidays for all the animals at the shelter.


Every donation makes a difference, no matter how big or small.

Thank you in advance for your support.


What do I do with all the cash and checks we raise?
Donations should be kept in a safe place, and we can either pick them up on an as-needed basis or at the conclusion of your fundraiser.

What if I have questions throughout the fundraiser?
If you have any questions throughout the course of the fundraiser, please email

Sample Flyer

You can create your own flyer or use the one provided to customize with your event details, logo and contact information. Click here to download the pdf or save the jpeg.

Participation Form