If you’re like 68% of Americans, then you probably own a four-legged ball of fur. If this is the case, then you’re all too familiar with the sound of a thumping tail against furniture, or that gentle purring early in the morning. Their presence is truly woven into the fabric of your everyday life.
That’s why when tragedy strikes—they go missing, or fall ill, or have a need you just can’t meet financially—it can shake your foundation and leave you feeling anxious about the future.
Crowdfunding for pet expenses can ease any financial burdens and allow your pal to get the help they need right when they need it. We’ve created this pet fundraising guide to help you create a stellar campaign that will make your pet stand out in the best way.
Whatever your pet needs, we’ve got you covered
Maybe your pup was injured on a hike and now you’re facing enormous vet bills, or maybe you just need some cash to get your chicken sanctuary off the ground. Take a look at some of the ways we can help:
1. Fundraising for emergencies and accidents
Americans spent over $15 billion on vet bills in 2016 alone, which is no surprise, considering emergency vet services can run into the thousands. It would be ideal to have money earmarked for your four-legged friend, but we’re often caught financially unprepared in emergency situations.
Example: Save Sir Thomas Trueheart
This fluffy feline’s face was doused in acid by a cruel human, and he was found by wandering around half blind with severe injuries to his face. Sir Thomas remained at the vet for over a month receiving pricey pain meds, surgeries, and skin grafts. To help offset the enormous vet bills, a GoFundMe was created for him, and raised over $12,000. In the end, Sir Thomas lost an eye and will have lifelong medical issues, but he made an incredible recovery from the traumatic event.
For more tips, read Need Help With Vet Bills? 15 Sources of Relief.
2. Crowdfunding travel expenses
Airfare isn’t only expensive for humans—airlines still charge a pretty penny if your pet has to be checked as cargo. Maybe you’re moving and need to get your dog from point A to point B, or maybe you need to buy a plane ticket for yourself so you can reach your newly adopted buddy.
Example: Bring Mellow Home
In Ilona Thomas’s case, she set up a GoFundMe so she could be reunited with her beloved cat Mellow. In 2011, Mellow escaped from home and was never seen again. A whopping six years later, Ilona received a phone call: someone had found Mellow. Ilona had moved out of state, so she created her campaign to buy a plane ticket for the good samaritan who had found Mellow.
3. Raise funds for euthanasia and cremation costs
It’s certainly not something you want to think about, but you may be at the point where ending your best friend’s suffering is the right thing to do. Unfortunately, animal euthanasia and cremation for can cost several hundred dollars, and in-home euthanasia can range around $325 to $375. Starting a crowdfunding campaign for these costs allows you to send your pet off in dignity as soon as it’s needed.
4. Fund your favorite animal organizations
If you’re part of a non-profit doing good for animals far and wide, you can attest to the amount of money it takes to run an organization. Or perhaps you don’t have your charity status just yet, and you need funds to submit your application and get your organization off the ground.
Example: Gunnar’s Wheels
Just ask Jason Parker, who started a 501(c)(3) to provide injured or disabled pups with wheelchair carts because their owners otherwise couldn’t afford the expensive devices. He named his charity Gunnar’s Wheels after Gunnar, his black labrador who was hit by a truck and left paraplegic. With the carts costing anywhere between $125 and $700, he knew he needed some extra help. Jason started a GoFundMe and raised over $100,000 for animals in need.
Read Fundraising Ideas for Animal Charity for inspiration.
So how do I run a successful pet campaign?
When starting a campaign from scratch, it can be tough to know exactly what information to include, and how to get your campaign out there to the masses. Not to worry—we’ve got five tips to get you off to a purrrrrfect start.
1. Tell your pet’s story
Penny Chicken, a Silkie chicken with a fantastic hairdo, was rescued from a testing factory as a chick. She fell ill when two eggs became impacted in her abdomen. Penny’s owner started this GoFundMe for her, and raised over $7,000 for the treatment she needed. Her campaign does a wonderful job of providing a detailed backstory and lots of heartwarming photos.
Who doesn’t love being immersed in a riveting tale? And when the protagonist is an adorable animal in need, it’s likely to be a winning combo.
To engage your potential supporters, you’ll want to write a campaign story that truly explains what your pet means to you, and why you need help. You’ll absolutely want to include multiple photos of your pet, since everyone knows that nothing brings in traffic like adorable animal pics.
For some specific tips, check out this article we published on how to write the best campaign story possible.
2. Step up your social media game
Caitlin Stewart started a GoFundMe to expand her rescue farm called Rancho Relaxo. Thanks to a lot of hard work and a stellar social media presence, Caitlin raised over $145,000 for farm animals in need.
Simply put, when campaigns start to gain quite a bit of traction on social media, good things happen. You may think that sharing your campaign link on Facebook is the only way to get your cause in the public eye, but we’ve got a few more tips for you:
Twitter, if nothing else, is a place where animal lovers unite. Accounts like We Rate Dogs have rallied support for GoFundMe dog campaigns in the past. Upload a cute photo of your pet in a Tweet, and include a few popular pet hashtags. You never know who will take notice.
USE Facebook messenger
It’s great to post your campaign on your Facebook Timeline, but also send individualized messages to your close friends and family members via Facebook Messenger. For tips read Facebook Fundraising 101.
Screenshot a photo of your campaign page, and then share this on Instagram with a short message explaining your cause. Don’t forget to include the link to your campaign in your Instagram bio, so you can tell people, “Click the GoFundMe link in my bio to donate!”
Create a unique hashtag
A short, punchy campaign hashtag will help drive your cause and encourage your network to share it as well. Use this in your Instagram and Facebook posts.
3. Be transparent with your needs
If you have some seriously large vet bills to pay, you may want to share pictures of those on your campaign page (taking care to cover up any sensitive information such as your address or payment information). Not only will this help your campaign gain legitimacy, but it will also give your supporters a clearer understanding of your exact needs.
Troy Bowman’s campaign for his beautiful white husky pup named Blue is a perfect example of how to be transparent. Troy started his campaign when Blue was diagnosed with cataracts in both eyes, and was told that Blue would soon be blind without a special surgery.
Troy posted photos of Blue’s extensive vet bills so everyone would understand why the campaign goal was set at $11,000. Troy surpassed his goal, and Blue is now recovering from his successful eye surgery.
For more tips, read How To Raise Money for Your Pet’s Surgery.
4. Get social: Rely on your offline community
The internet has given us Maru the Cat and Pizza Rat—there’s no doubt it’s a treasure trove of wonders. But when it comes to your GoFundMe campaign, sometimes it pays to also take sharing offline for maximum results.
Reach out to your friends and family members via text message, email, and phone. You’d be surprised what a difference a personal message can make.
Try making campaign flyers
Hit the pavement and pass out flyers for your campaign, or post them in your favorite shops (especially pet shops). Check out our other creative ways for offline promotion.
Connect with the animal community
Find animal groups in your community, and meet up with them to get the word out about your cause. Nextdoor and Facebook are good place to start looking.
5. Post frequent campaign updates
The Alberta Institute for Wildlife Conservation started this GoFundMe for two injured beavers they had rescued, who later bonded. The campaign has raised over $6,000 for their care costs in its first week, and posts frequent update videos on their progress.
Once your friends and family members contribute to your campaign, they’ll likely be asking themselves, “Well, what happened?” Don’t leave your supporters hanging. Be sure to post frequent updates to keep people in the loop.
Progress photos as well as progress videos are a wonderful way for your supporters to feel connected to your campaign, and people will be more likely to donate again or share your campaign with others.
Ready to start your successful pet fundraiser?
Whether it’s a rattlesnake bite, a food mishap, or a long-term illness, we understand that life with a pet isn’t always easy. Regardless, you should be able to provide your pet with the love and financial care they need, when they need it. If you’re running short on funds, then GoFundMe is here to help. Take the first step by creating a fundraiser for your furry friend today. Check out more pet fundraising tips for help getting started.