Instead of just handing money over to someone or writing a cheque, donate supplies. Shelters need basics such as paper towels, bleach, animal food, etc. You can purchase an extra bag of supplies and give it to the shelter, and if you are a groomer or a vet, you can donate your services. This will help bring down the cost of taking care of homeless animals until they are adopted, thus easing the burden on the shelter, and ensuring better care for the animals.
Consider donating at least two hours – one hour each on Saturday and Sunday – to help walk the dogs. Most shelters have dozens of dogs, stacked to the roofs, and having to walk them all would require an army, so any shelter would be happy to receive your dog walking services. By coming in for just two hours, you will have enough time to help walk at least 12 dogs that have been cooped up for hours in a cage. It really helps the dogs, as they can get exercise and fresh air, along with the chance to go to the bathroom. At the same time, you will also get some exercise while taking the dogs on a little walk.
Spaying and neutering is another great way to take care of homeless and abused animals. If you have wild cats in the neighbourhood that you feed, and that allow you to pick them up, then take them to a vet to have them spayed or neutered. Feral cats have a hard life and wild kittens can starve, be killed, or worse, breed more and more feral cats.
You should also consider teaching your children about the importance of adoption and taking care of homeless animals. Encourage them to volunteer at shelters during their spare time, and if they express the wish to feed the stray and homeless animals in the neighbourhood, help them in doing so.