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10 climate change websites you should follow to stay up-to-date

Climate change might seem like an abstract concept, but it is a real and growing concern that affects every living person, creature, and organism on the planet. More than just letting the nation’s leaders decide on the fate of our Earth, every citizen should do their part in lessening their carbon footprint and helping build Read More...

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Climate change might seem like an abstract concept, but it is a real and growing concern that affects every living person, creature, and organism on the planet. More than just letting the nation’s leaders decide on the fate of our Earth, every citizen should do their part in lessening their carbon footprint and helping build a future that’s safe for generations to come

Be in the know about climate change by adding these websites to your bookmark and visiting them regularly for updates!

1 Climate Central

An independent group of leading scientists in climate science and respected journalists created Climate Central with a mission to “communicate the science and effects of climate change to the public and decision-makers.” Conducting extensive scientific research and reporting their key findings to the public, Climate Central presents unbiased reports on topics such as climate science, sea level rise, meteorology, energy, wildfire, and drought. Analyzing the data they’ve gathered, Climate Central also makes it their goal to provide media, local communities, and as many audiences as possible with the essential tools needed to visualize the real dangers of human-caused climate change and the growing need for practical solutions.

Climate Central’s stories tend to concentrate on studies done in the various US states, but the news (covering warming trends to heavy rain events), videos (ranging from extreme weather to climate in context), and reporting resources (with compelling graphics and detailed information) they provide can be of use to anyone from anywhere in the world.

2 NASA

US federal agency National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) keeps tabs on the planet’s vital signs through satellites that orbit the Earth (some of these have been in orbit for over 14 years!). Their interactive Earth Now feature lets you fly along these missions to monitor the current state of the planet from outer space. Clicking on a satellite lets you view various 3D models of the visible earth, air temperature, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, sea level, soil moisture, ozone, water vapor, and gravity field, but you can also opt to review the latest data in their Vital Signs tab. Wildfires, super storms, and algal blooms are also presented as geo-located satellite images in NASA’s Latest Events feature.

3 DeSmog Blog

The people behind this blog make it their goal to clear the PR pollution that clouds climate science. Since its launch in January 2006, DeSmog Blog has become a reliable source for fact-based information centered on global warming misinformation campaigns. The blog shares a compilation of helpful media resources, enlightening new series, and even a searchable research database that reveals the individuals and organisations who have actively confused the public into taking action against global warming.

4 InsideClimate News

Founded in 20017, InsideClimate News is a “non-profit, non-partisan news organization that provides essential reporting and analysis on climate, energy, and the environment for the public and decision makers.” With a commitment to establishing a permanent national reporting network as well as training the next generation of environmental journalists, InsideClimate News delivers impartial reports on hot topics such as agriculture, clean energy, climate science, and extreme weather.  

Receiving the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting, the award-winning InsideClimate News also features in-depth investigations (i.e. the effects of extreme weather and climate change to farmers and to national security), documentaries ranging from clean wind power to flash drought, and useful visual guides like charts, maps, and infographics.

5 Skeptical Science

From the “climate has changed before” to “it hasn’t warmed since 1998,” this blog debunks the 10 most used climate arguments through basic and intermediate explanations backed by compelling scientific evidence. Aside from rounding up climate change and global warming news on a weekly basis, its global team of volunteers provides a wealth of resources like John Cook’s Scientific Guide to Global Warming Skepticism, climate graphics, and even a temperature trend calculator. The best part? Skeptical Science offers arguments in 25 different languages (Japanese, Portuguese, Slovak, and more) so that more nations can learn and disseminate its information.

6 The Daily Climate

A publication of Environmental Health Sciences, The Daily Climate reports, publishes, and curates climate change stories from various news sites such as The Guardian, The Conversation, and The Washington Post. Putting the day’s events in a larger context, the team divides what they’ve gathered into five unique topics: solutions, impacts, causes, resilience, politics, and good news.

7 RealClimate

A commentary website created by climate scientists for journalists and the general public, RealClimate aims to “provide a quick response to developing stories and provide the context sometimes missing in mainstream commentary.” Presenting discussions of a scientific nature, the site offers a one-stop link of quality resources that people can check out whether they’re clueless about climate change or simply in need of more comprehensive information.

8 Climate Home News

Politics, finance, energy, land, tech, and science—these are the different topics covered by Climate Home News, an independent website focused on reporting climate-related news unfolding at different parts of the globe. This London-based editorial team seeks to publish pieces that touch on the political, social, and economic aspects of climate change, such as South Africa signing a carbon tax into law, school strikes taking place in 92 different countries, and European State Agency creating a satellite fleet to monitor carbon dioxide emissions worldwide. In addition to reading these stories, most articles on the site can be republished at no extra cost.

9 Climate Desk

A journalistic collaboration between various media outlets and organisations (The Atlantic, The Weather Channel, and Yale Environment 360 to name a few), Climate Desk is dedicated to exploring the multiple impacts of a changing climatefrom human and environmental to economic and political—and helping enrich the public’s understanding of this growing issue. The website breaks down the topics into seven categories for easy perusing: warming world, science, politics, energy & tech, food & health, weather & climate, and videos.

10 Grist

Claiming itself as “a beacon in the smog,” Grist has worked hard since 1999 to produce incisive online stories with witty headlines on topics such as clean energy, sustainable food, and environmental science. More than just crafting features, the independent, non-profit newsroom aims to expose inequities, offer solutions, and provide the much-needed knowledge and tools for its readers so they can help make a difference in the world.

Grist brings together a daily digest of must-read news, produces award-winning videos that are fun to watch and easy to understand, and provides a forum in which green advocates can share their thoughts. The website also rounds up an inspiring yearly list of 50 movers and shakers who are coming up with innovative solutions to help solve our global problems. 

Which websites do you follow to keep abreast of the latest climate change news? Let us know by commenting below!

Conservation Talks with Kaila Ledesma Trebol

Kaila Ledesma Trebol is the Trustee Adviser for Conservation and Education of Philippine Reef and Rainforest Conservation Foundation, Inc. (PRRCFI). A foundation that owns and manages Danjugan Island in Cauayan, Negros Occidental, PRRCFI was established 25 years ago with a mission to inspire people to take action for biodiversity conservation and sustainable development through experiential Read More...

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Kaila swimming over Danjugan Island’s famous big table coral

Kaila Ledesma Trebol is the Trustee Adviser for Conservation and Education of Philippine Reef and Rainforest Conservation Foundation, Inc. (PRRCFI). A foundation that owns and manages Danjugan Island in Cauayan, Negros Occidental, PRRCFI was established 25 years ago with a mission to inspire people to take action for biodiversity conservation and sustainable development through experiential learning, collaborative research, nurturing partnerships, and enabling communities.

Waldo’s Friends learns about the foundation’s origins, the tireless people behind it, and their continuing efforts to inspire change through their conservation work.

Waldo’s Friends (WF): Could you share the brief history of PRRCFI and Danjugan Island?

Kaila Ledesma Trebol (KLT): In the 70s, Danjugan Island was discovered by a group of SCUBA divers from Bacolod. They leased a small beach on the island as their base camp in the 80s. Over the years, they experienced a lot of environmental threats both in Danjugan and on mainland Negros. They made efforts to work with the leaders back then. However, it was a real struggle. It was then they realized that educating the youth was a way to build the right leaders to fight for environmental conservation.
 
Back then, Danjugan was also under threat from so many extraction activities. One day, the owner of the island asked the group if they would like to buy a tree on the island for its lumber. A pair of white bellied sea eagles called this tree home, so there was no way the group would see it cut down. They asked if the island would be for sale instead. The owner agreed to sell it, but the group had no money. They had to seek assistance from Land Bank of the Philippines (for its first environmental loan) and World Land Trust in the UK to help purchase Danjugan Island for its conservation. The island is now owned by PRRCFI and is a private protected area. In 2000, the Municipal Ordinance No. 99-52 was passed declaring “the surrounding waters of Danjugan Island as a marine reserve and portions of it as marine sanctuaries.”

A white bellied sea eagle on the tree that was meant to be cut down

WF: What do you do as a part of PRRCFI?

KLT: I am part of a nine-member volunteer Board of Trustees. We are the management committee for anything PRRCFI takes on. We are responsible for making sure that all the activities and programs are in line with its vision and mission.
 
As Trustee Adviser for Conservation and Education, my work involves helping create the camp curriculum and materials, acting as resource speaker, camp staff, or just work in camp logistics. I also assist the creative department in information education material development as well as find ways to ensure the sustainability of the foundation’s operations—from a well-organised ecotourism program to enterprise development and other activities taken on to help sustain PRRCFI. Documenting biodiversity is also one of my passions on Danjugan, so I work closely with the Communications and Science & Research Departments as well.

Board of Trustees, Project and Island Staff

WF: What would you say are PRRCFI’s most effective campaigns to date?

KLT: The most effective and popular program of PRRCFI is the Marine and Wildlife Camp, for sure. The first camp began in 1991. I was one of the campers, and my father, Gerry Ledesma, was the visionary who started it all. It started with just one annual summer camp, but over the years, it gained popularity and the demand increased.
 
Today, we do multiple camps all year round (except during the typhoon season) catering to all groups and all ages. We even expanded to do family camps, so parents and children can discover and connect with nature together. The camp’s tagline was “today’s youth, tomorrow’s conservationists” because it really started with the youth. Today, however, we find that it really is not too late to become a conservationist. We have had so many lives touched by Danjugan, and so many connections have been made that we have created a family of people who really want to make a difference. And as for camp alumni, we have had many who were inspired to go into the field of natural science and environment conservation. Many testimonies have assured us that our camp program is indeed working.
 
Our newest campaign is SWEEP (Sea Waste Education to Eradicate Plastic). It’s only a year old, but it’s one of our most ambitious and difficult projects to date. Here we create awareness of the growing plastic problem and its effects on marine life. SWEEP embarks on an awareness campaign (through coastal clean-ups and audits, mobile museum, and workshops) in the hopes to get the public to face the problem head on and hopefully find ways to cut their dependence to plastic. We created a mobile museum called “fishbolan” that tours around our partner municipalities to engage communities in creative discussions of this problem (like plastics entering the food chain).

We also opened a Wala Usik (which means “nothing is wasted” in Hiligaynon) store in Bacolod and formed partnerships with sari-sari stores (neighbourhood sundry stores) to join us in our journey toward a “wala usik” lifestyle. We also engage the local government units in helping them in their municipal action plans to really tackle the problem of solid waste management.

SWEEP team with the fishbolan mobile museum; PRRCFI SWEEP team; Sweep Walk

WF: What would you say is the best thing about working for PRRCFI?

KLT: It is being able to be in Danjugan Island, working with the most amazing people and the most dedicated team and island staff. We are just so lucky to have them. Being able to work with such an amazing team makes everything rewarding! It has become a real family.
 
Danjugan is the real uniting factor—it is a healing place. Over the years, we have strived to build a culture that respects nature and people. We strive for balance, an understanding and inclusiveness that make Danjugan such a welcoming place for those who are also open-minded about it and the experiences you allow it to give you.

WF: On the flipside, what’s the most challenging thing about working for PRRCFI?

KLT: When environmental conservation is not a priority for most leaders in this country, you can already see what we face. Yet we continue. No matter how slow the process seems to take, we just keep on doing the work that is meant to be done.
 
We are also here to support and encourage others who want to do this kind of work too. This is our way, but there are many approaches and many avenues toward conservation. We partner with others who do the things we can’t but ultimately work toward the same goal.

WF: Over the years, has there been any misconception about the work your foundation has done for Danjugan Island?

KLT: We had to battle years of notions that the marine reserve and sanctuaries were protected for our selfish agendas. For years, we had to educate that having marine protected areas are meant not just for biodiversity conservation but also for food security. This goes both ways, meaning we are for the people, too. There are fishermen around Danjugan who are allowed to fish in certain areas. This somehow is also misunderstood for some who visit. They think the whole island is protected, but our vision is “wildlife and people in harmony for a sustainable future.” What we hope to ultimately achieve is balance.

Typhoon Beach in 1991 and 2015

WF: Personally speaking, what do you love most about Danjugan Island?

KLT: Everything! It is the most unique small island because in just 43 hectares, you find so much wildlife and so many ecosystems. Plus, it was kept to keep tourism low-impact and low-volume, but with high-value and high-quality experiences. The trails on the island are easy. You would not need to trek for hours to see amazing birdlife and a cave full of bats. And if you’re lucky, even a python!
 
I never get bored on the island. It is living simply next to nature, and it has given me the best kind of work and advocacy I could ever hope for. It is like a second home since I’ve been visiting it since the 80s. I already know where the critters are, where the beautiful blue anemone is, where the school of batfishes are, when the shark pups will show up, or where the rare beach thick knee lives. I truly have a love affair with this island. I am also fortunate that I am able to give my kids the same kind of childhood my father gave me.

Some of the creatures you can find within Danjugan: Bats, shark pups, octopus, and batfishes

WF: Can you share some interesting stories about the island?

KLT: There are many! There are love stories and forever connections formed on the island. Maybe one interesting fact about Danjugan and its visitors is that they manage to come back somehow. The island contributes to changing their lives significantly. From a British volunteer who came in 1998 and came back eventually choosing to live in the Philippines to a camp volunteer who is now one of our hardworking trustees, Danjugan truly inspires.
 
There is one special story about a green sea turtle that we rescued. We found her floating, unable to dive back down. Turtles are known to get buoyancy disorders which are dangerous for them because they may get hit by boats, become easy prey, or starve as they are unable to dive down for food. Together with our kids on board the boat, we rescued her and they named her Star.

Star was rehabilitated in Danjugan Island. She underwent many tests and procedures, close care, hand feeding, and was even brought to a nearby clinic to get an x-ray. We were so fortunate that Dr. Nielsen Donato and Dr. Ari Barcelona treated her. Slowly, Star got better and was able to leave Danjugan’s Moray Lagoon on the 48th day of rehabilitation. It was a bittersweet day. We were all happy she was well and free, but sad as we were going to miss her.

Sea turtle Star when she was first found floating and during rehabilitation with Kaila’s daughter, Aria

WF: What’s your advice for other people involved in protecting the environment?

KLT: It’s not easy and frustrating, but the rewards are great. I always say that the stars aligned for Danjugan Island—to make what seemingly was impossible to happen, happen. Everything fell into place, from the timing and the people who got involved down to the grants. I feel our hearts have always been in the right place, but it happened with a lot of hard work. So as long as your heart is in the right place, I feel your work will come across and be heard.
 
The Philippines is so rich in natural resources. We have the rarest and most unique wildlife there is, but they are fast disappearing. We NEED more people to go into wildlife conservation. It is not easy and your heart will break many times, but when you do see an animal that is wild, free, and meant to be there, it is the best thing.

Manta Reef and aerial shot of Moray Lagoon

WF: How can people support your organisation?

KLT: You can support PRRCFI by visiting Danjugan Island or taking part in one of our camps. All proceeds of our ecotourism program go right back into conservation. It is what keeps us going and doing what we do! Visit our Facebook and Instagram pages for more information.
 
Danjugan Island is nature’s perfect classroom. With so many ecosystems and wildlife, it really is the perfect place for anyone to connect with nature.

20 things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint

Whether we are aware of it or not, we all invariably contribute to the world’s carbon footprint. Defined by Oxford Dictionaries as “the amount of carbon dioxide and other carbon compounds emitted due to the consumption of fossil fuels by a particular person, group, etc.,” carbon footprint comes from day-to-day activities that require energy. Energy Read More...

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Whether we are aware of it or not, we all invariably contribute to the world’s carbon footprint. Defined by Oxford Dictionaries as “the amount of carbon dioxide and other carbon compounds emitted due to the consumption of fossil fuels by a particular person, group, etc.,” carbon footprint comes from day-to-day activities that require energy. Energy is produced by the burning of fossil fuels such as petroleum, coal, and natural gas, which then result in greenhouse gas emissions that keep the heat trapped within the earth’s atmosphere.

Be an everyday hero by following 20 of our suggestions below to lessen your carbon footprint! 

1. Walk or ride a bicycle.

Did you know that 15% of manmade carbon dioxide comes from cars, trucks, planes, and other transportation vehicles? If you are going somewhere nearby, opt to take a stroll or ride your bicycle to get to your destination. Not only are you helping prevent global warming, but you’re also getting in some much-needed exercise for the day![/vc_column_text]

Photo by Chris Barbalis/Unsplash

2. Take care of your car.

A well-maintained vehicle benefits you and the planet. By regularly having your engine tuned, checking your oxygen sensors, and inflating your tires, your car emits fewer toxic fumes and improves its fuel use by up to 40%.

3. Drive smart.

To help you avoid traffic jams, use a GPS navigation app such as Waze or Google Maps that shows you the quickest route you can take. Also, refrain from unnecessarily stepping on the acceleration pedal and remove excess cargo (whether it’s on the roof or in your trunk) to increase fuel economy.

4. Combine trips.

Schedule a day to do all of your errands with other family members, or take turns carpooling with officemates. Air pollution will be undoubtedly less with fewer cars out on the streets. Plus, you get to save money on gas and parking fees!

5. Lessen air travel.

On average, a commercial plane produces 53.3 pounds of carbon dioxide for every mile flown. Compare that to a tree that can only absorb as much as 48 pounds of carbon dioxide per year. That’s a doozy! If you travel for work, why not schedule video chat conferences instead of face-to-face meetings? But if you really need to fly, select non-stop flights (so you have less takeoffs/landings that use up more fuel energy) and economy seats (more seats mean more passengers sharing the plane’s carbon emissions).

Photo by Jordan Sanchez/Unsplash

6. Fix air leaks.

Create a more energy-efficient house by sealing air leaks around doors, windows, vents, and electrical outlets and improving your overall insulation. Doing so can help you save up to 25% of heating costs and maintain a comfortable indoor temperature.

7. Regulate your thermostat.

Lower your electricity bill while fighting global warming by keeping your thermostat lower during winter time and higher during the summer season. To stay warm, wear extra layers indoors and invest in rugs and carpets that create a soft barrier against the cold. To stay cool, wear breathable clothes and install ceiling fans that use less electricity (55 to 100 watts) compared to air conditioners (500 to 1,500 watts).

8. Choose energy-efficient appliances.

From refrigerators to washing machines to water heaters, climate-conscious companies like ENERGY Star produce slightly expensive yet highly effective appliances that use less energy to complete a required task. Having them at home or at work will result in an overall lowered electricity bill.

9. Change your light bulbs.

Replace incandescent, halogen, and compact fluorescent light bulbs with low-energy LED or CFL ones that shine brighter, last 15 times longer, and use only one-fifth of the energy of a conventional bulb.

10. Unplug and turn off.

The easiest way to reduce your carbon footprint is by switching off the lights (open the windows and let natural sunlight in!) and turning off and unplugging appliances when they’re not not in use.

11. Wash in cold water and air dry your clothes.

The Guardian surprisingly reveals that “washing and drying a load every two days creates around 440 kg of CO2e each year, which is equivalent to flying from London to Glasgow and back with 15-mile taxi rides to and from the airports.” That said, be responsible about washing your clothes. Only wash when you have enough for a full load, choose a cold wash cycle (a 10-degree temperature increase impacts the environment), use concentrated detergent, and skip the fabric softener. When you’re done, hang your clothes to dry on a line or rack instead of using a dryer, which is said to be the third most energy-hungry home appliance.

Photo by Dan Gold/Unsplash

12. Be a kitchen energy saver.

Plan all the meals you want to prepare before you start cooking. Always choose to cook your food on a stove top rather than an oven. Not only does an oven use the most energy, it also raises the temperature of the entire room. And while cooking, cover your pan with a lid to trap the heat. This lessens the amount of energy and time needed to cook your food.

13. Shop conscientiously.

Buy organic and sustainable food that has been harvested from your local farms and fisheries instead of picking imported produce. This provides much-needed support to your agricultural community and eliminates unnecessary transportation of food. Also, choose products with less packaging and bring big, reusable carrier bags whenever you shop!

When shopping for clothes, skip the trends and pick classic styles and durable pieces that you can use for longer periods of time.

14. Only buy what you need.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations reports that 8% of greenhouse gases are caused by food waste, with 20 to 50% of the food we buy just ending up in landfills. Do the planet a favor by purchasing only what you need and storing leftovers in the freezer so they don’t spoil immediately.

15. Go the meatless and dairy-free route.

Meat and dairy products are known to create higher carbon footprints because of the more complicated process it takes to make themfrom farming and processing the animals to packaging and shipping them. Consuming produce that are low on the food chain such as vegetables, fruits, beans, and nuts reduces your carbon footprint.  

Photo by Anna Pelzer/Unsplash

16. Go paperless.

Choose to receive your utility bills, tickets, and other paper documents through email. Aside from preventing a stack of papers to grow on your desk, it eliminates the need to print the document and have someone deliver it to you. Plus, it makes it easier to search for your files just by typing in the right keywords.

17. Recycle your things.

Prevent landfills from growing by reusing what you have at home and recycling paper, plastic, glass, steel, and aluminium products. In the US alone, it is said that 29% of greenhouse emissions come from the extraction of resources, manufacturing, transport, and disposal of goods.

18. Try alternative energy sources.

Solar, wind, and geothermal energy are just some of the cleaner alternatives to fossil fuels. Do your research and see if there are companies that can provide these in your area. Or if you have the means and time, why not try making your own solar panels?   

19. Reduce water use.

There are so many ways in which you can save water. From skipping long hot baths to collecting rainwater for your plants to limiting the number of times you wash the car, you save gallons of this precious resource that can be used for other, more important purposes.

20. Take your reusables with you.

Say no to plastic! Stash your recyclable drinking bottle and reusable utensils (straw, fork, spoon, and knife) in a tote bag and bring them wherever you go.

Photo by Maria Ilves/Unsplash
Your carbon footprint greatly impacts the environment. Calculate your carbon footprint by logging how much energy your home uses, the car rides and plane flights you take, as well as what you purchase. We all need to do our part in protecting and caring for our planet because it’s the only one we’ve got!

Pet Adoption Tails: Angela Sy and Popo

Shanghai-based Angela Sy always thought she was a dog person until she fostered a bullied cat named Floki. Five years later, she is the proud paw-rent of two cats, Popo (a mixed breed) and Tofu (an American shorthair), and continues to rescue other strays in need of new homes. Waldo’s Friends (WF): How did you Read More...

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Popo

Shanghai-based Angela Sy always thought she was a dog person until she fostered a bullied cat named Floki. Five years later, she is the proud paw-rent of two cats, Popo (a mixed breed) and Tofu (an American shorthair), and continues to rescue other strays in need of new homes.

Waldo’s Friends (WF): How did you first come across Popo?

Angela Sy (AS): Popo was one of the street cats who lived in Longhua Temple in Shanghai. My friend Jasmine rescued him because she thought he was pregnant. Turns out, he was just fat from all the sweets and unhealthy food he was given by temple visitors.
 
Popo was called Floki back then. He stayed at Jasmine’s house, but her other rescues bullied him so he had to stay in a cage all day. He became very depressed. Jasmine brought Floki to adoption days for JAR (an animal rescue organisation I was volunteering for back then) and asked me if I could foster him for a few months, just so he could get out of his cage.
 
I’ve always been a dog person. I didn’t know how to live with cats. I just said yes ‘cause I was too shy to say no. Plus, I was living by myself so I thought, “Why not?” Eventually, I fell in love with him and officially adopted him. I’m basically a foster fail.

WF: Did you experience any problems when you first adopted Popo?

AS: Honestly, none at all. Cats are easy. Popo is a sweetheart and everyone who meets him loves him. Even my mom who said she hates cats now take naps with Popo.

My only hardship was introducing Tofu to Popo. We found Tofu roaming around a friend’s compound. He had been living outside for around three weeks, and was very friendly to people, so obviously he had an owner. We tried looking for his owner, printed posters, talked to building guards. We couldn’t find his owner, so in the end, I took him in.

To this day Popo and Tofu still have the odd scrap, and while they will never be cuddly to each other, I know they miss each other when I take Tofu to the office.

Tofu hard at work

WF: Could you talk more about your unique office set-up?

AS: Our office allows us to bring pets, so sometimes, we all bring our rescues in. It’s a ton of fun, but no one gets any work done. The office has a lot of cat ladies. When we find lost or injured animals, we bring them back to the office and try to find them homes. Eventually, a colleague will come play with the animal and then fall in love and want to adopt it.

We have a new young colleague who recently joined the company, and she and her boyfriend ended up adopting two kittens that we found abandoned by their family. Currently, our meeting room has a total of four kittens, and when we get stressed we just pop in there and get cuddle time with Kimchi, Riceball, Dango, and Nori.

Rescue kittens at the office

WF: Why would you personally encourage adopting animals instead of buying them?

AS: Because most animals sold at pet shops are purposely bred, and their breeding mothers locked up in cages, in pain, ill, malnourished, and forced to give birth over and over again until they die. My friend once rescued a purebred toy poodle who was blind, skin and bones, covered in mange, and staggering under a bridge in the trash. When they found her, she had just given birth a few weeks ago. The vet said she must have given birth several times already at her young age.

Another friend bought a Shiba puppy for 3,500 RMB. Turns out, she had parvo and died within three weeks. Meanwhile, my colleague bought a black kitten from a pet shop which fell sick after a few days and died within a week. I’m not saying all pet stores are fraudulent, but in China, it is a well-known practice to drug sickly animals and sell them off before they die.

WF: Any advice for people thinking of welcoming a rescue animal into their home?

AS: Do it. Rescue pets love you harder because they know what it’s like to be without a home. My adult rescues are so sweet, cuddly, and grateful for having a safe home.

WF: How has adopting your cats changed your life?

AS: I’ve definitely liked staying home more often. Sometimes I’m conscious about how late it is or how long I’ve been out, and want to rush home to feed and cuddle my boys who I know are waiting for me.

Living in China was all the push I needed to start rescuing animals. Popo started me on the path of pet rescue, just because I met so many other rescuers from the organisation. Lots of pets get abandoned for a multitude of reasons (i.e. a family member falls pregnant and they think pets are unhealthy for babies; a dog barks too much; a cat scratches; a cat is in heat) and if they are young, the winter time could be deadly for them. I try not to adopt too many of my rescues. Instead, I make it a point to find them homes because I tell myself I will always need the extra space in my home for the next rescue I find.

Adopted cats Tofu and Pop

Follow the adventures of Floki, Popo, and their other rescue friends at http://www.instagram.com/flokipopo.

Do you know of an interesting pet adoption story? Share your suggestion with us by commenting below!

Pet Adoption Tails: Nina Segarra and James

Twenty-one-year old Nina Segarra, a makeup artist and artistry coach from Australia, shares the touching story of how James came into her family’s life at the right time. The first pet they’ve ever adopted, James is a ginger cat that was dumped and rescued near Blue Mountains, New South Wales more than five years ago. Read More...

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Twenty-one-year old Nina Segarra, a makeup artist and artistry coach from Australia, shares the touching story of how James came into her family’s life at the right time. The first pet they’ve ever adopted, James is a ginger cat that was dumped and rescued near Blue Mountains, New South Wales more than five years ago.

Waldo’s Friends (WF): Can you tell us how you came to adopt James?

Nina Segarra (NS): James’ adoption story is definitely one that represented a new beginning for our family after a period of grief. We had another cat before James—a ragdoll named Rupert. We bought him off a breeder back in 2004, when we first migrated to Australia from the Philippines.

In 2014, at the age of nine, Rupert was in and out of the vet for about six months. He was at the point where he was struggling to do his normal day-to-day activities. Eventually, his health deteriorated to the point where we had to face the choice to keep putting him through treatments to extend his life or peacefully put him to sleep. We came to the conclusion that Rupert would not have the best life as he would be in the hospital having treatments most of the time without us being around him. A day before my 17th birthday, we decided to peacefully euthanize Rupert. To this day, it has been one of the hardest decisions my brothers and I had to make. He was a huge part of our family and I am sure many people would say the same about their beloved pet.  

Our house felt so empty after Rupert passed away. Eventually, after a period of grieving, my brothers and I decided to adopt online instead of going through a breeder. Whilst looking at PetRescue (an adoption website we had been going through for days), we came across James’ profile and his photos. We fell in love with him right there and then, so we contacted the rescue centre. They arranged for him to be brought to our house after we did all the paperwork online and on the phone.

The rescue centre told us that James was the only one out of his litter to survive as he was rescued along with his siblings near the mountains. Turns out, his litter was dumped in the mountains along with their mother. His original name was actually Tangerine, but we ended up naming him James after a band that sang the song, “Moving On.” It was a song that my brothers and I had on repeat after Rupert died since it was about the death of a loved one and celebrating the life they lived. Eventually, James came to our house and he’s been with us ever since!

WF: What made you decide to adopt a pet?

NS: We decided to adopt a pet because we realised there are so many animals that need loving homes in this world. Just like James, a lot of them come from difficult beginnings and they deserve to have a loving home with a family to take care of them for the rest of their lives. Not only that, but thousands of animals are left in pounds or shelters every single year. Many of them are put down without ever having the experience of being loved and cared for.

Personally, I can never go back to purchasing from a breeder. After rescuing James, he has brought so much love and happiness to my life that I cannot imagine my life without him around. The fact that he has been so resilient and is still open to loving a human despite the difficulties he has faced at the beginning of his life is so amazing.

WF: Were there any challenges that came with adopting James?

NS: We had no problems with adopting him, but he did have a hard time adjusting to our tiled floors at home. He wasn’t used to it and kept slipping around, but eventually, he found his grip. The same day he came to us, he spent about an hour or two hiding, but he eventually came out and wanted to know who we were. It probably helped that we lured him out with raw meat though. Haha!

When James first came to us, he actually smelt like a small dog. It turned out he lived with dogs at his rescue centre since he was a kitten. We believe he thinks he’s a dog. He has many characteristics that are exceptionally unusual for a cat, like the fact that he is very forward with his affection and is incredibly needy. He needs to constantly be around people, and if you call him from a distance, he will come running to you. He also doesn’t like to clean himself as much as other cats do and leaves a trail of mess wherever he goes. He also enjoys being cuddled and held like a baby.

WF: What’s the best pet parenting tip you can give for first-time animal owners?

NS: Have a lot of patience. Just like how we cope with change, your pet will also need to learn how to cope with it. It’s not easy getting used to new owners and new surroundings. Surround them with so much love and encouragement.

WF: What’s your advice for people thinking of adopting a rescue animal?

NS: Be aware of your adopted pet’s history as many of them come from difficult and sometimes very sad backgrounds. Some of them come from the streets or have been abused at the hands of their previous owners. Some pets will require more patience and care than others, but ultimately, it is one of the most fulfilling things one can experience.

Rescue pets are the most forgiving, trusting, and loving beings out there! They do not see flaws the way we do and for them to still love you despite everything they may have experienced is honestly unparalleled.

James at play

Do you know of an interesting pet adoption story? Share your suggestion with us by commenting below!

Interview: Steve Veigel from atcharlie

I first came across atcharlie while searching online for animal rescue supporters who aren’t affiliated with any shelter, clinic or hospital – but support the ecosystem through communities and awareness; someone who does it for the love and compassion above and beyond a vocation or business-for-profit. When I found the website, I was excited to Read More...

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Steve with his daughter’s dog: Parker.

I first came across atcharlie while searching online for animal rescue supporters who aren’t affiliated with any shelter, clinic or hospital – but support the ecosystem through communities and awareness; someone who does it for the love and compassion above and beyond a vocation or business-for-profit. When I found the website, I was excited to see that Steve was doing what I planned to do – share resources and profiles of animal shelters doing great work. I wrote to him with information about Waldo’s Friends, and – as any good website content builder would – requested a backlink for a rescue dog adoption guide. Several emails and a wonderful shoutout to Waldo’s Friends later, I realised that I had found a mentor and kindred spirit. I hope this interview gives you a peak into his ideas and work for saving abandoned animals, and spreads his unrelenting message of love at all costs.

Waldo’s Friends (WF): All your articles about rescue shelters are detailed and evocative. They encapsulate each rescue’s specific experiences, while putting things within context of the world at large (such as how BROOD began with the backdrop of tech in 1996). Particularly poignant are your descriptions of the people behind these rescues (like the amazing dog man of Wedowee) and their communities (as in the case of the Lonesome Dove Rescue). Could you tell us about your first article about a rescue, and how it affected your future articles?

Steven Veigel (SV): I always understood people trying to start a business. Like anything else, a rescue is dealing with competition. Competition for donations to survive as an organization. But with a rescue it’s not just about the business end you have to consider. It’s looking at animals, looking back at you, who cannot survive without you. It’s about their food, shelter, and medical care. It’s like caring for little children.

My first attempt at an article was actually “Hope for Life” in 2013. Pauline Cushman ran a rescue for cats and dogs in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The building was divided into two areas. One was Hope Center where she cared for abandoned animals, and Hope’s Garden Resort Boutique where dogs with owners were groomed and kenneled. The Boutique then gave her additional funds for the Hope Center.

I had just started my website with a few listings and Charlie’s story. I think I had about 40 visitors to my site (now over a million per year) and I had no idea how to interview people. But “Hope for Life” is where we got Sammy. Sammy was a dog we knew had cancer (mentioned at the beginning of Charlie’s story), so if you want to get started, go where you know and learn how to ask questions.

Pauline had never met me but knew we adopted Sammy. That at least gave us something in common to talk about. When I arrived, she was cordial but a little suspicious. What I didn’t know was that she previously had some people nosing around. She thought they were there to adopt an animal, but they weren’t. They were just poking around in her business. But despite any concerns about my true intention, she let volunteers give me a tour, spoke with me about the animal control facilities she rescued animals from in different US states, and her efforts to get the animals adopted. I watched her handling day-to-day situations with papers all over her desk. When we finished, I walked away with a few scraps of notes and a new appreciation for the dedication it took to keep operating as a charity.

What impacted me the most was when Pauline said, “It shouldn’t be about the organization. It’s about the animals.” To this day, I continue to echo those words: “It’s about the animals.”

WF: In your articles about personal experiences with rescuing animals, you’ve mentioned adopting Charlie, then fostering and eventually adopting Smoke and Ginnie, and fostering several others. Could you tell us about your decision to foster and adopt “difficult” dogs?


SV: I had grown up around farm animals and pets, but Charlie is the dog that motivated my efforts. If you will for a moment, imagine a dog that’s so quick and agile that it takes two people to corral him in a small backyard. Then, imagine you get him in the house and he leaps on top of a closed wood roll top desk and stands there balancing himself on the curvature of the roll top. He was just confused and fearful of where he was now. He had no idea what a house meant.

Charlie’s story is not just a dog story. It’s about how I had to break down his issues into manageable categories and goals. Charlie gamed me, forced me to learn, tested me, and made me understand his emotional struggle and intellectual nature on a far deeper level than I ever had to think about.

With Charlie, we had four dogs to manage and it became my responsibility. When Charlie passed, we were motivated to foster more dogs. Our experience with fostering, and then adopting our fosters, was wonderful. We had many really sweet dogs. We had a reputation with Basset Rescue of Old Dominion (BROOD) and on our original adoption application, I selected “willing to work with difficult dogs.” So when Lisa at BROOD called asking if we could help with a special case, we did. We knowingly took dogs with aggressive cancers understanding they were only going to live one to three months. That was difficult, but we gained so much from their love it only deepened our commitment. And that brought us to Smoke and Ginnie. Two dogs that no one was going to take in, especially because they were an older bonded pair that had to be adopted together. When they arrived my wife, Jenny remarked, “Oh my, they are Charlie times two. They’re your responsibility.” They weren’t that difficult, but they did have issues.

Before Charlie, we’d have three dogs and a cat. After Charlie, we’d have four to five dogs in the house. My wife then started calling me “the dog herder.” This was not anything official. More of a title of amusement as I walked around the house with all the dogs following me and gathering wherever I was trying to work.

When I had my first knee surgery, I had to do everything with a walker, but that didn’t change the fact that I had four dogs to take care of and I was determined to do everything myself. In the beginning, a therapist would come to the house to get me started on recovery. One day she wanted to see if I could get out the back door and then back into the house properly using my walker. I not only accomplished this with the walker, I did it with the walker, a cup of coffee, and four dogs. Impressed with how I managed it all, the therapist concluded, “Well, I think we have that one covered.”

WF: What is your recommendation for people who want to follow in your steps in adopting “difficult dogs” but are hesitant due to jobs and kids?

SV: I think it’s worth noting that some things we took on did not represent a normal dog adoption. And Charlie did nip my mother-in-law in the butt. In Charlie’s defense, she wasn’t dog friendly and she did surprise us about four o’clock in the morning with a brief visit. The small hallway was dark, the dogs were barking, Charlie didn’t know her, and in our surprise, we were not paying attention to the dogs. Charlie was still new to the house, confused, and thought she might be a threat.

It’s funny now and she did not really get hurt, but it impressed me with the basic rule: Be aware of the situation and don’t put the dog in a position you know will get him in trouble. If we had just turned on the lights and got the dogs under control for a moment, Charlie never would have felt the need.

Steve and Charlie

If you want to help “difficult dogs,” understand that we’re not talking “dangerous dogs.” Difficult dogs are anxious, lacking guidance, and a bit fearful for their situation. They sometimes get labeled “dangerous” because they are unruly, like someone insisted on improperly feeding them a treat by hand and kept getting nipped. Start off by reading Charlie’s and Smoke and Ginnie’s stories. Pay attention to some subtle changes in behaviour I try to bring attention to. Learn some basic dog training, and go in with commitment. Understand you are taking responsibility for a life. They’re not a toaster you return because you don’t like the model. They’re living, feeling, sentient beings. And they are not there to protect you. You’re there to protect them.

There are literally hundreds of sweet dogs who just need a home. Rescues generally do their best to pair you with a dog that will fit your situation. Try to time your adoption when you have a couple days off so the dog can explore the house under supervision and get to know you. Don’t let small children create confusion where the dog is trying to eat. Give them a comfort zone of about six feet (two meters). Your house is already strange to them and even an established pet deserves to eat in peace. Also, don’t let small children walk around with food in their hand. Dogs are opportunistic. If they can take the cookie, depending on their previous living conditions, they might. Don’t put them in that position. And then, don’t blame the dog.

WF: Your animal rescue directory shines the light on rescue shelters. Unlike sponsored and funded organisations in animal rescue who focus almost exclusively on pet adoption listings, you focus on volunteers and organisations that run with low to no funding. Could you tell us about your decision to focus on the rescue shelters and not on animal adoption listings?

SV: I don’t really care if someone is an “established charity.” Established charities had to start somewhere and I try to note that. If someone is doing a good job trying to get pets adopted, I’m in their corner. With our throw-away societies there are just far too many animals who need our help. The only way to make a dent in the problem is to assist, advise, and encourage those who have the motivation and the dedication to take it on.

I try to bring attention to the efforts of animal rescues large and small. My articles serve two purposes. First of all, I try to invite people to learn more about animals, animal care, and the people. Second, if my article draws a reader because they’re searching for “why do dogs eat poop” (for example), maybe they’ll also notice the rescue listings while they’re on my site. Maybe they’ll be encouraged to adopt an animal and/or get involved with people in their area.

WF: You comment on the nature of volunteers, and this sentiment (mentioned in your article about BROOD) stands out: “These people struggling in the animal rescue community to get our attention are among our unsung heroes who represent the best of humanity. It doesn’t take much to help them.” In your experience, what do you consider the most challenging hurdles that a rescue shelter faces, and how best, in your opinion, do you think that regular people like us can empower them?

SV: I think the most challenging hurdles that rescues face are donations and volunteers. You can’t buy food or provide medical care if you can’t get donations. Some rescues are working in economically depressed regions, and not everyone is a master at fundraising. Just getting the donation page of your website noticed is extremely difficult given the nature of search engine rankings. That’s another major reason I do my listings. If someone finds my website, I then increase the odds (just a bit) that one of the rescues I list will also get noticed.

As for the volunteers I mentioned, they’re great people but they’re not employees. They have other employment and families they’re obligated to and they can’t always be there. On that topic, I’d like to mention that volunteering doesn’t have to take all your time. Some rescues just need help from time to time to transport a dog. They develop a list of volunteers and then put out an email to coordinate those available. I recall one time Lisa from BROOD was traveling 176 miles to bring us a foster named Caitlyn. She was also trying to pick up another dog they were rescuing from animal control in Portsmouth, Virginia. To save her time and distance, my wife drove the half hour to Portsmouth and retrieved the dog there. We brought it to our house for a couple of hours and then drove a ways to meet Lisa in a shopping center parking lot to exchange dogs. It was a good experience and we got to finally meet Lisa and chat a bit.

Donations and volunteering help empower rescues. Businesses here often provide a percentage of sales to rescues which is good for them and tax deductible. There’s even a group here in the US called Rescue Bank who developed a warehousing and distribution system for pet food. They get pet food donated (some probably overstocked) from pet food manufacturers, and then provide the food to rescues at a greatly discounted rate. The pet food manufacturers then get a tax deduction and also get to tout how they support animal rescue.

How to make your animal fundraiser material stand out

How to make your animal fundraiser material stand out

Animal rescue fundraisers lie at the heart of communities coming together to look out for our furry friends. However, as much as we’d like to have our hopes and wishes save those we love, running consistently successful fundraisers involves a great deal of effort toward fundraising material. Organising a successful event – online or offline Read More...

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Animal rescue fundraisers lie at the heart of communities coming together to look out for our furry friends. However, as much as we’d like to have our hopes and wishes save those we love, running consistently successful fundraisers involves a great deal of effort toward fundraising material. Organising a successful event – online or offline – can be expensive and time-consuming. While the best of us keep going back no matter how the first attempt goes, it’s always great to get it closer to right than wrong the first time round. So how do you ensure that you pull off your first successful fundraiser? It all starts with effective marketing materials! A successful fundraiser stands out and has high visibility especially to people who fit the description of the ideal donor.

Follow these tips to get started with the best fundraising material you’ll ever create!

Know your audience

Knowing your audience is the first step in any form of marketing. It is no different in terms of marketing an animal fundraiser. Whenever you organise your fundraiser, you need to know the characteristics of the people that you intend to target. Profiling your ideal donor plays a critical role in executing an effectively targeted marketing campaign.

Who would be the perfect audience for an animal shelter fundraiser? Pet owners would be a good fit as your ideal donors. For a dog fundraiser, you’d want to go with dog owners. Animal lovers and animal rights advocates would also make for a good audience.

Create professional posters

A surefire way of capturing anyone’s attention is with the use of beautifully designed graphics. In this case, you will need professionally done posters that speak your message loud and clear.

There are two methods of achieving a professional poster for your fundraiser. The first one is by hiring a professional to design the poster for you. Professional designers charge different rates, but one who knows his craft will probably command a high fee. Hiring a designer is only practical if you have a large operating budget that can accommodate such expense. However, if you’re working with a tight budget, you would need to go for an inexpensive option.

The second, more affordable option is to create your own design using free or relatively cheap resources. One such resource is Canva. Canva allows you to design posters and has templates for all types of posters including fundraising poster templates. Although a resource like Canva requires a monthly fee for you to enjoy its advanced features, you can utilise its free layouts and insert your own images.

This cat adoption poster tugs at the heartstrings by pairing the words “adopt me please” with a compelling image of a kitten in need. By clearly stating the website and details about the animals, the poster urges interested parties to send an inquiry immediately.

Adopt a Dog Poster

Got a dog up for adoption? Sharing an engaging photo and his interesting quirks in a playful format will definitely intrigue prospective pet parents. Don’t forget to include how people can get in touch with you!

This poster succeeds in drawing people’s attention through its bold block typography, eye-catching colors, and a clear-cut message about foster parents saving the lives of countless animals.

Make compelling videos

Videos have become a powerful and versatile medium of communication in the last few years. Visual content is so effective that 70% of marketers from different industries use videos to reach their audience. Judging by these facts, it would only make sense for any animal fundraiser organiser to use visual content to promote their fundraiser. When creating a video for your fundraiser, you will be killing two birds with one stone. You will be using the video to give your cause and mission more exposure, and at the same time, use the video as a call to action.

Videos offer way more opportunities for a broader reach than written content can. For starters, viewers can learn more from watching 45 seconds of video than they would if they spent the same time on written content. Videos are also easy to consume, especially on mobile devices. If you look at most of the content that goes viral, a considerable percentage of it is video content. When you create a compelling video of your fundraiser, there’s a possibility that it will be widely shared and may even go viral.

Sign up for a free account on Clipchamp and edit this animal rescue video template whichever way you want.

After crafting an effective fundraising video, where should you display it? YouTube is an excellent place to start. YouTube has placed itself as an online video juggernaut with millions of visitors each day. Social media such as Instagram and Facebook are also great places to post video content. They both have wide usage across the world and are also well optimised for video viewership on mobile devices.

When promoting your fundraiser using video format, you can create a series of videos telling your story and calling on to donors to help your cause. Besides helping share your mission clearly, creating a video series also builds up your audience as people follow your narrative. 

Get social

Besides being a platform for connecting with friends and family, social media is also an extremely effective marketing tool. Facebook and Instagram have over 3.27 active billion users combined. This is a huge audience to tap into. However, you’ll need to create a page and amass a huge following to have a wide reach with your fundraising marketing efforts.

There are two ways to push traffic to your social media pages, organically and through paid traffic. If you choose to go the organic way, you won’t need to spend any money, but you will need to put in a lot of effort and consistency for your page to get noticed. Growing an organic following also takes longer than using paid traffic. Using paid traffic to build your following, on the other hand, takes a shorter time but costs money. You essentially pay to have your page appear on people’s timelines.

Consistency in social media is crucial. Whether you use organic or paid traffic, you need to be diligent with your postings and interactions with your followers. Daily status updates and replying to comments help keep your engagements up. In addition to status updates, it’s advisable to post videos and photos that tell your story and what you stand for. Social media is a highly visual platform, and high-quality videos and photos will make your fundraiser page stand out.

A pun-tastic themed fundraising event that coincides with the return of a much-awaited TV show is sure to draw laughs and support from animal lovers.

Update followers about your fundraising efforts the way The Smush Foundation does. They encourage people to keep giving by sharing how much money they’ve raised and which animal welfare organisations they’ve helped. 

Share your upcoming fundraiser’s information the fastest way possible—through a social media post! At a glance, The Sato Project’s Spayathon for Puerto Rico poster quickly shares the location of its seven spay and neuter clinics. 

To recap

Marketing is undoubtedly a crucial aspect for any fundraiser. It’s safe to say that a fundraiser’s success is heavily influenced by the marketing plan in place. Lucky for you, you won’t have to use traditional and expensive marketing tactics. Instead, you can use a different approach by implementing the tactics discussed above. Not only are these marketing strategies effective, but they’re also relatively inexpensive and easier to implement. So if you’re planning a fundraiser anytime soon, use these simple strategies to save yourself some time and money!

how to kickstart fundraisers for animal shelters

How to kickstart fundraisers for animal shelters

Raising funds for a worthy cause is a noble gesture, but it can also be a pretty scary and daunting task to take on, especially when you are doing it independently. Getting started on your first independent fundraiser can be overwhelming because of all the activities involved in making it a success. The good news, Read More...

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Raising funds for a worthy cause is a noble gesture, but it can also be a pretty scary and daunting task to take on, especially when you are doing it independently. Getting started on your first independent fundraiser can be overwhelming because of all the activities involved in making it a success. The good news, however, is that there is a first time for everything. By following this detailed guide, you can increase the chances of independently raising funds lucratively, and over time, you would be able to fundraise like the big boys.

Read up on the guidelines and best practices that can help you execute a successful independent fundraiser.

1. Conquer your fear

Let’s face it; it’s natural to have some level of anxiety when venturing into something entirely new. It’s no different when it comes to planning your first independent fundraiser. Sending out your first fundraiser call will probably feel unsettling because asking strangers for money is awkward and embarrassing. However, it hasn’t stopped other individuals and organizations from fundraising, so why should it stop you?

You have to conquer your fear if you intend to become a kick-ass independent fundraiser. How do you do this? Well, there is no particular fix for fear, but there are some steps you can take to manage it. For starters, you need to build your confidence. Confidence is developed through knowledge, practice, and positive thinking. You need to gather lots of information about fundraising by studying how successful charities do it. Knowledge acquisition should then be closely followed by practice. Take part in fundraisers to get the hang of things. And finally, be a positive thinker. Imagine all your leads resulting into fruitful endeavors.

Of course, confidence is not something that you build in a day so it might take some time before you get used to the idea of asking strangers for financial aid. Nevertheless, it becomes easier as you gain experience.

2. Identify your fundraiser’s core elements

Organising a successful fundraiser involves a lot of moving parts, but there are core elements that every fundraiser needs to keep in mind.

You see, the primary objective of a fundraiser is not the money. Yes, it sounds counterintuitive because after all, there is a reason why we call it a fundraiser. However, a fundraiser is about the mission to change or save lives. You need to focus more on showing how you will help improve lives rather than focusing too much on the money you need.

Another core aspect of fundraising is transparency. You need to win and maintain donors’ trust from the moment you contact them, all the way to after they donate to you. It sounds like an uphill task, but it’s straightforward when you display honesty, consistency, and gratitude.

Honesty: Be clear about your fundraiser’s objective. Your donors need the whole scope of what they are donating towards.

Consistency: It helps if you have proof of involvement in other similar fundraisers. If you are running an organisation, you can show evidence of the work that you have done in the past.

Gratitude: Express your appreciation. Don’t take the donor’s money and go silent. It might give donors the impression that they have been duped. Always make sure to send a message of gratitude to your donors after completing the fundraiser.

3. Prospect for donors

After eliminating the fear of fundraising and identifying your core fundraiser elements, you need to prospect for donors by pinpointing people with an affinity for your cause. Your prospect should also be someone with the ability to give. For example, if you are planning an animal shelter fundraiser, your prospect would be someone who loves animals and has money to give.

The next step after profiling your ideal donor is finding prospects. Ideally, the best way to get prospects is through referrals from friends and existing donors. If you don’t have referrers, then you can explore other options like hosting a non-ask event. A non-ask event is an introductory event where prospects come to familiarise themselves with your organisation and its mission. The primary objective of the event is not raising funds, but instead, building relations with your prospects. You can then follow up with the attendees later on and cultivate them.

If you don’t have the budget for an introductory event, you can opt for other cost-effective methods such as an online campaign, direct mailing, and reaching out to donor clubs. These methods might be cost effective, but they lack the personal interaction aspect that non-ask events have. They may, therefore, take longer to get prospects interested in your mission.

4. Turn prospects into donors

Once you’ve made initial contact with your prospects, it’s time to cultivate them, run them through your donor funnel, and turn them into donors. Turning a prospect into a donor is like making a new friend. You need to build a relationship with them and keep them interested before asking for a donation. It would help if you didn’t ask for a donation in your first follow-up message.

Once you’ve established relationships with your prospects, it is time to hold the fundraiser and invite them. Your fundraiser can be in the form of a themed event that matches your mission. You can also go with online fundraising efforts such as a crowdfunding campaign.

Post-campaign tips

When the fundraising is over, don’t just take the loot and run. Maintain contact with your donors and show gratitude by sending them thank you notes. Keep your donors updated on your mission’s progress, so that they can see the impact they made with their donations. For example, if you were raising money to buy medical supplies for an animal shelter, take pictures of the happy animals that benefited from the funds and send an email update to all of the donors. Keeping in touch with your donors after a fundraiser builds trust and increases the chance of the same donors contributing to you again.

By conquering your fear, identifying your fundraising core elements, prospecting people, and successfully turning them into donors, you’ll be able to independently raise funds for your animal rescue as often as needed.

Understanding the basics of rescue shelter fundraising

Organising a fundraiser is no walk in the park. It is even more challenging when it is your first one. But before delving into the details, what is fundraising? Fundraising is the process of seeking financial assistance for a noble cause. The funds can be sourced from individual donors or charitable organisations. The art of Read More...

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Organising a fundraiser is no walk in the park. It is even more challenging when it is your first one. But before delving into the details, what is fundraising?

Fundraising is the process of seeking financial assistance for a noble cause. The funds can be sourced from individual donors or charitable organisations. The art of fundraising has seen so much evolution since the early days when people would take on the streets with bowls in hand to ask for donations. Nowadays, there are more varied and sophisticated ways to source donors and get funds.

Running an animal shelter is no easy feat. Between the food, toys, and medical supplies, an animal shelter can be quite an expensive undertaking. Rescuing animals and taking care of them is a noble duty, but it can be financially overwhelming for a single individual. It is best suited as a community undertaking, which is why fundraisers are a critical part of animal rescue.

As an animal rescue, how do you go about creating a successful fundraiser?

Tell your story

Storytelling is one of the most effective ways to kick off and create awareness around your cause. Donors need to familiarise themselves with your cause and feel emotionally connected to it before they donate.

Most charity organisations use storytelling as a means to introduce themselves to the donors. An organisation like World Animal Protection uses storytelling to highlight the plight of animals worldwide and the need to rescue them. If a potential donor visits the organisation’s homepage, they can get a clear picture about animals suffering and how they can help change that by donating.

Storytelling for charity organisations isn’t limited to telling a story about how animals are being abused or neglected. It doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom. Success stories are another aspect of storytelling that is quite popular with charity organisations. Let’s face it; everyone loves a happy ending and what better way to give your donors a happy ending than sharing your success stories. These uplifting tales also act as social proof that you and your charity are doing something worthwhile with donors’ money.

Sea Shepherd Global is one of the charity organisations that has mastered the use of success stories to show their impact in protecting marine life. When you visit their page, they have a full page dedicated to success stories. There, they break down their mission in detail and highlight challenges that they come across.

Specify your needs

Being ambiguous about your fundraising needs and goals can hurt your fundraising efforts. You need to give a clear picture of what you need and what you intend to achieve with the fundraiser. Otherwise, you will look unorganised, and donors will not trust you enough to donate to your cause.

Every reputable charity organisation has a defined cause that they stand for. Sea Shepherd, for example, stands for marine wildlife conservation. World Animal Protection Limited, on the other hand, stands against animal cruelty and exploitation for entertainment. When requesting for donations, both these charities are very clear on what your donation will help them achieve.

Just like any other fundraiser, creating a fundraiser for an animal shelter requires you to have a clear mission. Do you want donations for food, medical supplies, or toys? If you call for volunteers, do you need them for medical check-ups or for grooming and feeding the animals? Do you need permanent homes for some animals in the shelter? Whatever it is you need, the last thing you want is to be coy about it. Do not be afraid to get specific with your needs. You would be surprised at the number of people who will come out to help even when your needs seem absurd to you.

Make your donors feel involved

Donors cut cheques because they care about your cause and want to get involved. Many people who donate don’t do so because they have money to spare. They give because they feel that your cause is worth contributing towards. The least you can do for your donors in return for their kindness is to make them feel involved.

Take the example of World Animal Protection Limited. Their call for donation is “Become an Animal Protector Today.” By referring to their donors as Animal Protectors, the charity gives the donors the feeling of inclusion in the animal protection effort. It also makes the donors part of a great cause which, in turn, gets them invested in seeing it succeed.

Sea Shepherd kicks up the donor involvement a notch higher with a few unique strategies. For starters, Sea Shepherd offers a range of options for how people can get involved in protecting the oceans. People can donate money and supplies, volunteer, or buy official merchandise. Sea Shepherd also refers to its donors and volunteers as part-time heroes, making them feel they are part of the organisation’s fight to protect the oceans.

Purchasing Sea Shepherd products is also a surefire way to get people invested and help spread the word about the cause. Wearing the organisation’s merchandise or displaying one of their stickers shows that the commitment to their cause goes deeper than donations. It also gives free publicity to the charity, which can result in more contributions.

All things considered

Whether you are looking to raise funds for your community animal shelter or raise awareness of animal protection, it’s great that the animals have you fighting in their corner. Animal shelter fundraising does not only get rescue shelters their much-needed resources, but it also helps create consciousness of the plight of animals all over the world. Because of the awareness created by animal shelter fundraisers, more people can donate and volunteer in their local animal shelters to ensure that the rescued animals get adequate food and medical care, and eventually permanent homes.

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How to raise funds online for your animal shelter

Welcome to the 21st century, a time when you can do almost anything online. Thanks to the Internet, you can now shop, study, and yes, you guessed it, fundraise online. Online fundraising always seems as the preserve of large charity organisations, but individuals and small organisations can also leverage the power of the Internet to Read More...

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Welcome to the 21st century, a time when you can do almost anything online. Thanks to the Internet, you can now shop, study, and yes, you guessed it, fundraise online. Online fundraising always seems as the preserve of large charity organisations, but individuals and small organisations can also leverage the power of the Internet to raise funds.

Easy at it may sound, raising money online is not as simple as building a beautiful website with a large “donate now” button. It requires considerable effort and strategy to raise a dime online. So, how do you raise funds online? There are several approaches to online fundraising, but the most effective are:
Crowdfunding platforms
Social media
Creating viral content

Crowdfunding platforms

Just as the name suggests, crowdfunding is the practice of getting funding from a crowd by using the Internet. Crowdfunding platforms are websites that give individuals and organisations an avenue to ask for funds from other online users. It is commonly used by entrepreneurs to fund new ventures and products, but its dynamics make it a powerful tool for fundraising as well.

Traditional fundraising requires the organisers to physically sift through potential donors then start the outreach process by physically contacting the donors. Planning and executing such a fundraiser would take several months, making it an inefficient fundraising strategy. With crowdfunding platforms, you already have access to thousands of potential donors, and no physical meetings are required. All you have to do is compellingly present your cause to potential donors and start engaging them.

Success in crowdfunding stems from visibility and optimisation. Traditional fundraising allows the fundraiser to develop relationships with the donors through physical meetings; crowdfunding does not. Crowdfunding is quite competitive, so you need to stand out to get noticed by potential donors. You can do so by:

  1. Creating a visually appealing crowdfunding page and increasing its visibility. The campaign title is the first thing that potential donors see on your page. A clear and concise title ensures that your audience doesn’t get deterred.
  2. Using great visuals that evoke the desired emotions in your potential donors. Let’s say you’re doing an animal fundraising. It would require the use of pictures that portray the cruelty of animal abuse (just don’t make them too graphic). Your crowdfunding page description also needs to communicate the same message as your visuals.
  3. Optimising the page for conversions by making the mission easy to understand. Your page needs to contain all the information about your cause, from the exact amount you need to how you will use it. The more questions the donors have after reading your crowdfunding page, the less they are likely to contribute.

Here are just a few of the crowdfunding platforms that you can join: GoFundMe, Chuffed, PetFundr, and GoGetFunding.

Social media

Social media has revolutionised the way people interact and connect online, but that is not all that it has done. Apart from providing a fun way to communicate with friends, it is also a powerful marketing tool. Social media has the potential to help charities find and connect with potential donors. The versatility offered by social media makes it suitable for both offline and online fundraisers.

You can leverage your social media audience to create awareness about a local fundraising event. You can also use the same platform to reach potential donors across the globe for an online fundraiser. As if that’s not enough, you can combine social media with other forms of online fundraising efforts such as crowdfunding to boost your reach and visibility.

So how does social media fit into online fundraising? As mentioned earlier, you can use social media together with crowdfunding to increase your visibility. Create a crowdfunding page on a crowdfunding platform, and then share that on your social media pages. Ask your followers and friends to share it. Eventually, your crowdfunding page will be viewed by thousands of social media users, and you can bet you will find a decent number of donors in that audience.

Alternatively, you can create a page about the cause that requires funding. For example, if you are planning an animal fundraiser, you can create a social media page for animal welfare. You can create engaging content to acquire a following, then ask for funds. In case you want to expedite the process of growing an audience, there is the option of using ads to have your page pop up on people’s timelines. You can also pay an influencer in your field of interest to promote your page in their posts.

Creating viral content

Almost every avid Internet user has heard the term “going viral.” Viral content is highly shareable material that quickly spreads online through social sharing and website links. Its rapid spreading and wide visibility makes viral content a powerful marketing tool. As a fundraiser organiser, you can leverage the power of viral content to reach thousands and possibly millions of potential donors. Viral content, when done correctly, has the potential to raise large amounts of funds for any cause.

How do you create viral content? There isn’t a clear-cut method, but you can replicate the qualities of most viral content to create your own. 

For starters, you need to know the social media platform you’re using and the general behaviour of the audience in it. Instagram users are mostly interested in photo and video content, while Twitter audience is more inclined towards written material.

Once you have determined your audience, it’s time to create your content. The content needs to be short, useful, and practical. People love sharing useful information especially if it’s unknown to many. The material also needs to evoke some emotion in the audience, preferably positive emotions such as joy, awe, or love.

Lastly, put it in front of your target audience. You can get some influencers to share it to give it some traction. Alternatively, you can use paid ads to make it show up on people’s timelines. Creating viral content is a delicate art and getting it right the first time around is no guarantee. It would be advisable to hire a viral content marketer if you have the budget for it.

Furkids Animal Rescue & Shelter‘s low-budget spoof ad encouraging cat adoption gained over 5.5 million views since it was first posted on YouTube in December 2016. Aside from showcasing all the lovable cats up for adoption, the video was also able to effectively promote the shelter’s official merchandise through humor. 

Making use of the uplifting song by artist Marshmello, Hope for Paws created a compelling video compilation of all the homeless animals that they have rescued over the last few months. All the furry creatures are definitely in “happier” conditions than ever before thanks to the donations given by kind-hearted people who have watched the video. Since its release, the video has already garnered 6.5 million views and $186,020 in donations. 

Thanks to the heartwarming video shared by animal-friendly website The Dodo on their YouTube page, more people (over 70,000+ of them) have learned about Marley’s Mutts Dog Rescue and their efforts to help canines such as Merrick who was bit by a rattlesnake.

All things considered

Raising funds online opens up numerous possibilities to generate and even surpass the target amount, but only if it’s done right. No matter what your fundraiser requirements are, you can use any of the approaches mentioned above and scale them to match your fundraiser’s needs. You can even get creative and combine the different methods in a way that they leverage off of each other to help you reach your goals. With the right approach, you can turn online fundraisers into your sole source of funding.

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