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Crowdfunding is saving dogs right now, and it can have an even bigger impact in the future.
Posted on : 03/27/2014 11:56:45 AM

Do you think crowdfunding can save a dog’s life… in a year? A month? 24 hours

First, what actually is crowdfunding?  It’s collecting donations from a large pool of people – “the crowd” – for a specific cause, usually through the Internet. It involves three groups of people 1) those raising the money for their cause 2) the crowd of people who support the cause and 3) the website that provides the infrastructure to collect and distribute the money.

It can have sudden, concrete results from supporters all over the world, and is limited only by the reach of its payment processor, think PayPal. It’s been used to fund everything from movies to tech startups to you guessed it – saving dog’s lives.

Charlie is one of many amazing stories in which a dog was saved in only a month of crowdfunding. Charlie was shot in the leg when she daringly threw herself between an armed burglar and her family, literally taking a bullet for them. The vet costs to save her life were over $3,000 and out of reach for her family.  A local shelter helped them organize a crowdfunding campaign, which was then promoted online by the rescue organization, the Bill Foundation. The crowd responded overwhelmingly and within a month it raised over $8,000, more than twice what was needed!  Charlie will survive, get her operations and return home to a hero’s welcome.

Another wonderful example of the power of crowdfunding is Lucky, who was saved over the course of 2 years of funding.  In 2012, Brittney Townley of Temecula, CA witnessed a pup being abused by two people at a local gas station. The young dog sustained a laundry list of injuries and broken bones.  After taking the pup in, she and her family posted Lucky’s story on gofundme.com, and ultimately raised $6,540, paying for several surgeries and saving Lucky’s life. The donors should take real pride and satisfaction for what they accomplished, and Lucky because of who he is will also give back.

So how do you use crowdfunding to save your special rescue dog? Each campaign is unique with its own circumstances, but here are some ideas to keep in mind. Tell your story.  Let people know the names and faces of who they are helping. Personalize it as Brittney did when she told Lucky’s story.  Dogs (and the people who save them) can be very compelling. Use video. Campaigns that utilize video have a better chance of engaging potential backers, and it’s also easier to share via email and social networks.  Enlist your friends and family before you launch. That’s right, get them onboard BEFORE you launch and have them commit to spreading the word. Charlie’s campaign benefited from the grassroots support of the Bill Foundation and its large Facebook presence. Campaigns that start out quickly almost always perform better than campaigns that start slow. Have a goal. It could be a financial goal (“we need $4,000 for Charlie’s surgery”) or it could be a milestone (“we need to get Lucky well again”) or it could be an ongoing fundraise that fills a constant need for the community. Crystallizing your mission helps others focus and mobilize, especially as you get closer and closer to success.

One of the most poignant and unnecessary problems facing families today is having to relinquish their sick or injured dog because they cannot afford the medical costs.  In my view, there is no question that crowdfunding can save these dogs.  As we see from countless examples, there is a large, compassionate crowd of people, dog lovers included, all over the world who will do their part to save these animals. I know we can harness that goodwill, spread greater awareness of these crowdfunding tools and prove that anyone can do this. Yes, crowdfunding can save a dog’s life over years, months and 24 hours. Isn’t that great?

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