Where the Money Isn’t

Dear Kim,

I have been doing fundraising for my local animal shelter for 8 years now. I volunteer my time and I hold a walkathon and dance auction every year to raise funds for homeless pets. Every year I get good prizes but I have a hard time getting big bucks donated. I am paralyzed from the chest down due to a car accident I was in 15 years ago while trying to rescue two dogs. Even though I send pictures of myself doing rescue work I still don’t get responses. I really thought people would want to help me out more since I am disabled and really work hard to save homeless pets. How do I get corporations to give big bucks?
—Meowing For Dollars

Dear Dollars,

Well, to coin a phrase, you are barking up the wrong tree. Corporations are not a good source of funding for the work you do. The vast majority of money raised for animal welfare and animal rights comes from a broad base of individual donors and, to a far lesser extent, local family and community foundations. Corporations only account for about 5% of all the money given away by the private sector in America. I suggest you send a letter with a picture of yourself and some of your rescued pets to all your friends, family, and neighbors of the animal shelter. It may seem like more work to handle dozens or hundreds of $35, $50 and $100 gifts, but you will have a lot more money ultimately. Your dance and walkathon events are a lot of work and although they can raise a lot of money, it may be easier to send a letter and follow up with phone calls. I also suggest that you figure out a way to coordinate your fundraising efforts with the animal shelter you are helping. Thanks for your important work.
—Kim