Fundraising is a fundamental & essential part of any organization, like PAWS of Jackson Hole, that strives to support the needs & care of companion animals.
The number of pets in the US is significant. It is estimated that 70-80 million dogs and 74-96 million cats are owned in the United States. Approximately 37-47% of all households in the United States have a dog, and 30-37% have a cat. (Source: American Pet Product Association).
At the same time, according to the ASPCA (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) there are about 13,600 community animal shelters nationwide. These shelters operate independently; there is no national organization monitoring or funding these shelters. Additionally, there is no government agency or animal organization responsible for collecting and tracking national statistics for the animal protection movement. However, The ASPCA estimates that:
- Approximately 7.6 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year. Of those, approximately 3.9 million are dogs and 3.4 million are cats.
- Each year, approximately 2.7 million animals are euthanized (1.2 million dogs and 1.4 million cats).
- Approximately 2.7 million shelter animals are adopted each year (1.4 million dogs and 1.3 million cats).
The costs of operating and running an animal shelter are significant. Costs will vary depending on the location, building or facility size, vehicle costs, professional fees (legal, accounting, insurance and licensing), staff, and feeding of the animals. Operation costs also include program costs related to animal medical care, spay/neuter services, adoption services, etc.
A SUCCESS STORY: Fundraising At PAWS of Jackson Hole
Located in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, the mission of PAWS of Jackson Hole is to foster and enrich relationships between people and companion animals to create a better, pet friendly community for all.
PAWS is not an animal shelter, but they support three local shelters by funding critical services and supplies, and by granting money for large capital projects. In 2015, PAWS donated more than $150,000 to the Jackson/Teton County Animal Shelter for the purpose of a major renovation to the lobby and cat room. The project resulted in an improved experience for visitors and shelter pets and an increase in adoptions. In addition to supporting local animal shelters, PAWS sponsors eight other programs all aimed at providing critical services for pets and pet owners in the community.
Jackson Hole is a small community with a local population of about 20,000 and more than half of Jackson Hole residents have at least one pet. There is definitely a love for animals within the community. At the same time, there are more than 200 other local nonprofits in Jackson Hole in addition to PAWS of Jackson Hole. As a result, PAWS of Jackson Hole finds itself competing for donated dollars and they are always looking for new ways to connect with their donor base and make an impact on the community.
In June of 2016, PAWS of Jackson Hole hosted a fundraising event, Tuxes & Tails Gala & Auction. The event is designed to raise one-quarter of their annual budget to fund nine programs, including:
- Disaster Animal Response Team
- Support of Local Animal Shelters
- Protecting pets from abuse and cruelty
- Mutt Mitts
- Financial assistance for veterinary bills
According to PAWS. Executive Director Amy Romaine, proceeds from the event totaled $85,000. This was slightly lower than in past years, but overall the organization was thrilled with the level of participation from the guests.
The event featured a red carpet pet parade, which allowed guests to showcase their pets to the crowd. People really loved bringing their pets to the event and showing them off! It helped everyone share their passion for the mission of PAWS. The event also included a short film about The Animal Humane Association of Star Valley, a partner shelter of PAWS. The film engaged people on an emotional level and helped encourage bidding during the live auction.
To plan, organize and host the event, PAWS of Jackson Hole purchased the Auction Frogs Team Package. Auction Frogs helped set up and manage the event webpage and online auction site. A local Auction Frogs business partner handled all of the administrative tasks on the night of the event. Amy Romaine explains that:
“In the past, PAWS has strictly used volunteers to plan and manage this fundraising event. Our volunteers have been incredible, but having Auction Frogs there really helped streamline the registration and check-out process.
Also, prior to the event the Auction Frogs team was a phenomenal resource to PAWS. They shared lots of great planning ideas and feedback in the weeks leading up to the event.
Auction Frogs made PAWS look good to our donors and helped keep everything running smoothly from start to finish.”
Finally, in promoting attendance to the event, PAWS of Jackson Hole utilized a multi-faceted marketing campaign which included direct mail, e-mail, Facebook ads and posts, Twitter, local radio, and print advertising in the local newspaper. The donor demographics for the event spreads across multi-generational age groups. The more mature donors responded well to printed invitations while the younger donors preferred email blasts and social posts as ways to promote online donations and attendance at the event.
Even though the event was a great success, an important part of any fundraising effort is to reflect upon and identify ways to improve the fundraising process.
Amy Romaine shared what PAWS of Jackson Hole learned from their experience:
- Continue to find creative ways to connect emotionally with donors during the event to remind them of their commitment to the PAWS mission and cause.
- Create a new and fresh event to create curiosity that encourages past and potential donors to attend the next Tuxes & Tails Gala & Auction event.
- Identify specific promotional strategies for promoting event attendance that extends beyond the current donor base.
- During the event, pay greater attention to staying on schedule as well as anticipate and plan for potential unexpected delays.
- Find ways to encourage past donors who are unable to attend the event to participate in the online auction.
Want to know more about the mission and work of PAWS of Jackson Hole? Go to: PAWS Website
Want to know more about how Auction Frogs can help you plan and host your next fundraising event? Go to: Auction Frogs Website or give them a call at 208.321.5515.