This year alone, 4 million pets will wind up in a United States shelter this year and sadly, more than a million of them will die. Something needs to be done, as this is an epidemic of the most horrific proportions. Here’s what you can do that is actionable and doable: Be creative. Ask any shelter worker who watches the faces of dogs in need day after day what it takes to get them homes. Smart marketing is key and being creative is crucial.
As much as you do, I want to just show the general public a photo of a dog, tell the story of what happened to them (if known), and then scream, “Wake up people, this dog needs a home or he will die.” The late night pleas for dogs needing homes whose lives are literally a race to beat the clock leave me shaken and in disbelief. For the most part, I’ve stopped sharing those images because:
A) I lose Facebook followers shortly after doing so;
B) I received numerous messages from followers and fans that they hide the page if they see these images;
I had to do something more, so I founded a creative fundraising arm of Fidose of Reality called Wigglebutt Warriors. Perhaps you don’t have the time, resources, or investment(s) to put towards such an undertaking, but there are specific things you can do to be creative in saving dogs’ lives. That’s what this is all about: Finding that fine balance between how to best help a dog in need without getting unfollowed, block, or ignored because of your request.
Go big or go home: That’s the way I roll, but not everyone has the resources to throw a big gala fundraising event the likes of planning a wedding: And that is truly what the big fundraiser I am hosting for homeless Cockers is about. If you are interested in hosting a huge gala fundraiser to help dogs (or cats or rabbits, or whatever) in need, stay tuned: A very special ebook will be hitting cyber store shelves from me soon.
Here, then, are ten things you can do to save dogs’ lives and fundraise without being a total pain or annoyance to people:
Start By Not Doing This
Before you decide to get creative, here are things anyone involved in pet rescue needs to read.
Host a Dog Pajama Party
This can be a lot of fun, makes for a clever way to host a get together, and is a fun way to spend an afternoon or evening. Each guest would pay a cover fee, you could hold a silent auction, mini bake sale, and more. Get complete details for how to host a dog pajama party here.
Sponsor a Dog
Not all of us can afford to give gobs of money to a favorite rescue. I sponsor a dog every month for $10 bucks. That’s like two packs of soda or a trip to Starbucks… and I give it a dog rescue group in need. Folks who foster a dog need all the help they can get, so I know $10 a month makes a difference. I hear about the vet bills, the supplies needed, the simple but necessary items it takes to keep a dog going until he or she finds a forever home. “A walk through the kennels, and one realizes these dogs are barking for their lives,” says Terry Humerickhouse, summarizing why he has fostered over 150 dogs in his lifetime.
So many websites have a “give back” option. finding out if your favorite rescue (don’t have one yet?) is involved in a “give back,” everyone wins. You shop, and the store gives a percentage of sales back to the rescue group. One caveat: You need to click through the actual website link for the rescue group to get the credit. For example, OBG Cocker Rescue pairs with Three Scoops of Vanilla for jewelry fundraisers. They also work with Amazon as an affiliate.You get bling, dogs get bling. Win win, right?
Watch for Dollar-for-Dollar Sponsorships
Some rescues have a matching funds drive, so be aware of them and donate then. Right now, for example, OBG Cocker Rescue has a Matching Funds Drive! Now through August 31st, every donation made to OBG up to $34,000 will be doubled for a total of $68,000 to help the pups! When dollar-for-dollar fund drives occur, that is the time to initiate a fundraiser to pull in more bucks for dogs in need.
Feed Your Dog
Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? In this case, it is true: When you feed your dog, another dog IN YOUR AREA gets to eat, too. Shelters and rescue groups are forever in need of donations and food. Some of us don’t have the budget or funds to give away, especially in these tough economic times.Your dog gets a great bag of nutritious food and so does the shelter dog down the street, in your neighborhood. Not halfway across the country. Not somewhere on a list where you have no clue what happens to the dog food or if a dog ever gets to be fed. The food is high quality and isn’t double priced nor overinflated pricing. Just Google, “buy one give one dog food.”
Strategic Video and Planning
Pick one dog in need and market the heck out of that dog’s plight. My friend, Eldad Hagar, rock star rescuer and founder of Hope for Paws rescue group, does this oh so well. Follow his lead. Get a camera, film in HD quality, and become proficient in video editing. It’s not an easy way to do it, but it works. You need to build a social media following. Hagar did this and is now viewed by millions of people. Learn more by visiting Hope for Paws and check out his moving videos, like this one, below:
Foster a Dog
Did you know fostering increases an animal’s chances of getting adopted? It is actually easier to give an animal up to a forever home than it is to think they died a sad, lonely death via euthanasia. The PetSafe blog has as fab post about 8 reasons why fostering a dog rocks. Check it out.
Dogs on the Catwalk
Host a fun “Pawject Runway” style fashion show for dogs, where dog parents actually have a time limit to make an outfit to strut for the judges. I have attended one of these and they are so much fun. My dog even won the Mr. Congeniality.
On Friday evening, May 9th, dozens of attendees of the BlogPaws 2014 Conference on Lake Las Vegas gathered for the Pawject Runway aka Pets Strut for Shelters event at the Westin Lake Las Vegas. After a pizza party and refreshments, a random drawing of all attendees was held. People and their pets were called on stage and given a number. Bloggers introduced themselves and their pets along with the shelter they were going to be strutting for at the event. Click here for full details on how you can host a Pawject Runway of your own, complete with a video. You could even do this in your back yard or basement.
If you are the type to go big with things, follow my lead: Host a huge gala fundraiser: Whether casual or formal, it can be done.
In 2013, I hosted the Wigglebutt Wedding where my dog, Dexter, was “wed” to a rescued Cocker Spaniel. We raised over $7,000 for a Cocker rescue group. As a result of that event, I formed Wigglebutt Warriors and we are crusading to save dogs’ lives.
On September 20, 2014, the Olde Towne Pet Resort in Sterling, Virginia will play host to “Wigglebutts Go Hollywoof,” where Carol, Darlene, and Dexter (and his date, Coco), will walk the red “paw-pet” with their shining star guests. This gala is pet-friendly!!! We are sold out and we have media coverage, sponsors, and much more.
Guests will be treated to an evening of surprises and upscale fun, where the evening is centered on the entire “Hollywoof” experience, including:
- A dog-welcoming evening including dinner, dancing, prizes, and surprises at a first-class luxury pet resort (Olde Towne Pet Resort) in beautiful Sterling, Virginia.
- The First Annual “Wiggy” awards from the Wigglebutt Warriors in a variety of categories, with 10 doggy guests in attendance being selected from a panel of peers to win trophies and prizes. Click here for all the deets on the Wiggy awards!
- Media coverage and post on the Step and Repeat
- Walking the red carpet, media interviews, pose for paw-parazzi, and more!
- Swag bags, mingling, networking, laughs, “fun-draising,” and memories made!
- Cash bar
- A divine menu of appetizers and dinner caterered by R&R Catering of Northern Virginia
- Dancing to the musical sounds of Touch of Class DJ, Mike Guariglia
- Custom canine couture courtesy Anthony Rubio
- Wigglebutt Silent Auction
- One lucky doggy or kitty attending will win a Custom Miniature version of their dog or cat as sculpted and designed by Lucy Maloney, Miniature Dog Artist.
- Official event photos by Jeanne Taylor Photography and Dirty Paw Photography
- Any DPFamily Pup Scout troop member can earn a Hollywoof badge by attending.
NEXT DAY GATHERING AT BARREL OAK WINERY IN DELAPLANE, VIRGINIA
We didn’t want to stop with a one-evening event, since many guests are coming in from all over the United States. So we decided to work with a pet-friendly winery in the area for a winery meet up and afternoon the next day. On Sunday, September 21st from 1 to 5 pm, the Barrel Oak Winery in Delaplane, Virginia will set the stage for a day of wine tasting, picnicking with your friends, dog-friendly fun, and a get together in a relaxed, casual, post-Hollywoof setting. There is no fee to join us, but folks may partake in the wine tasting for a fee. Click here for all the details.
Here are the key take-aways:
1. Define a rescue group or organization with which to get involved;
2. Determine what needs they have and craft a plan to execute on those needs.
3. Ask friends, folks you trust, and even rescue group volunteers if they want to pitch in.
4. Ensure everyone has their roles pre-defined: Too many cooks in the kitchen is never a good thing.
5. Get it in writing: From contracts to commitments. All sponsors I work with have a contract sent to them.
6. Have a PayPal account in place where funds can be sent, preferably directly to the rescue, and marked for your event.
7. Stay tuned for a step-by-step e-book on creative fundraising for the pet parent.
So you can see there are many ways to creatively fundraise. Have you ever done a fundraiser or anything similar to help dogs in need?
To stay current on news and fun with the “Wigglebutts Go Hollywoof,” visit Fidose of Reality and follow the event on Facebook. Let’s save dogs’ lives together! Please visit our sponsors. Their support enables these fundraisers to save dogs’ lives.