by Katerina Lorenzatos Makris
Maybe you’ve rescued an injured dog who needs spendy surgery. Or you’re head of an orphaned elephant sanctuary and desperately need to scrape up enough cash to pay off the coming month’s bills. Or perhaps, for your birthday, you’re feeling noble, and don’t want gifts for yourself, but want to organize a fundraiser so that friends and family can donate to your favorite animal charity instead.
So you turn to that Internet phenomenon known as crowdfunding, where you make your plea online, hoping that dozens or thousands of folks will be moved to pitch in.
The problem is that animal and environmental nonprofits manage to capture scarcely 2% of annual U.S. charitable giving. And some say that most crowdfunding sites don’t always work very well for animal welfare or protection projects.
Enter LoveAnimals.org, “a progressive new nonprofit crowdfunding website that helps animal nonprofits in America connect with donors to raise money for critically needed projects,” as described on the organization’s site.
Just for animals—all animals
The site is one of the few crowdfunders focused only on animals—distinguishing it from the bigger sites that can be used to drum up financial support for every imaginable type of project or need.
It also bills itself as the only such site that is open to projects for all species of animals, as opposed to those who offer fundraising only for pets.
“What LoveAnimals.org is doing could be a game-changer for small (and big) nonprofits and rescues,” according to information provided by the organization. “The big crowdfunding sites really don’t work for animal protection projects. Kickstarter doesn’t even allow nonprofits to fundraise, and Indiegogo is so big that the small campaigns get totally lost in the shuffle.”
Small and rural nonprofits who have a hard time reaching large numbers of prospective donors, and who might not even have a way to accept online donations, stand to gain visibility and supporters. (Nonprofits must be located in the U.S., but the particular projects they seek to fund can take place anywhere in the world.)
Takes no percentage
Another possible advantage of using LoveAnimals.org is that it “takes absolutely no percentage of the donations individuals raise for animals… While most crowdfunding platforms are for-profit ventures, LoveAnimals.org is a nonprofit with a mission to help other charities.” Other sites, such as GoFundMe, deduct fees from each donation.
However LoveAnimals.org does ask donors to contribute an optional 15% “Admin Donation” upon checkout to support its operating costs, since the organization is itself a nonprofit, and needs funds to “keep our lights on, our computers running, and our rent up to date.”
To ensure transparency and accountability, LoveAnimals.org screens “every nonprofit partner before allowing them to post a project,” according to the organization’s website, and when the funding has been raised, “the nonprofit must provide photos of the project taking place, and supply a report showing how every dollar was spent. For veterinary fundraisers, all donations go directly to the vet’s office, so donors know that their contributions will be used properly. This allows us to ensure every donation is being used to help animals as intended.”