For those of you who are familiar with Bella the Basset, you may recognize the amazing animal campaign website known as, Animal Lover Funding. Animal Lover Funding allows pet owners to set up campaigns online to raise money for pets in need. Some of the campaigns are run by foster parents and some are set up by parents who have run into bad luck, and need some help taking care of their beloved furry family members. I was fortunate enough to have direct contact with the CEO of this amazing website, Lindsay Driver, during the campaign I ran for Bella the Basset. I connected with Lindsay through BlogPaws, a pet blogger community and online network. Almost immediately after I learned about the awesomeness that is Animal Lover Funding, I learned that my friend had taken on a new foster who needed to have her eyes surgically removed, and she wasn’t sure how to fund the surgery. After contacting my friend and ironing out a few details, I set up a campaign for Bella the Basset on Animal Lover Funding. I also contacted Lindsay by email to see if she had any additional methods to help me spread the word about Bella’s campaign. Lindsay informed me that reaching out to breed specific rescues through social media is a very effective way to get the message out there. Within 24 hours we exceeded our goal of $550, and within the week, we raised 300% of our goal, which we used to pay for unforeseen medications and care Bella needed, and we are saving the rest for a future foster in need. After having such great success using Animal Lover Funding, I contact Lindsay to conduct an interview so I could share more about this amazing website.
R: Where did you get the idea for Animal Lover Funding?
L: Our first dog had knee surgery early on in her life, she then was diagnosed with cancer at a very young age, and we recently lost her. When we got our second dog, he got Parvo at 8 weeks of age, and spent 9 days in the hospital. We were fortunate enough to afford to deal with a bit of debt and ultimately pay for the large veterinary bills, but after experiencing the financial hardship that stemmed from two very ill pets, my husband and I were inspired by other websites, like Kickstarter, and we decided the world was ready for a website geared toward pet campaigns.
R: Is your work/education background related directly to the website?
L: Actually, my background is in child welfare, and my husband’s background is in business, but we both felt passionate about helping individual animals and their cause. About 16 months ago, we took our savings and reached out to a web developer to help us build the website. During the 12 months prior to the launch, we used Facebook and our own social network to get feedback about whether or not people would use this website, and what type of experience they would like to have. We launched the site in July 2013, so we are still very new, and thus far the website has been quite time consuming (we are running this website is in addition to our full time jobs). We are finding out that website maintenance is quite difficult.
R: What are your next steps for the website?
L: Our overall goal is to help as many animals as possible, and we are taking steps to help make this happen. We really want to expand our work will shelters, especially helping their special need cases. We feel that shelters/rescues could benefit the most from our website, but we are still working toward building those relationships. We also would like to help other animal organizations build funds for special need cases, such as Good Samaritan accounts.
R: Do you feel that social media and advertising play a large role in the success of the website?
L: We try to stay away from advertising because we are afraid people will associate advertising with revenues, and we don’t want donors to think that their money is going toward anything more than keeping the website running. Currently, we take 5% of every donation to help fund the website, but until we get more campaigns, this amount is only coming close to what we need. In terms of social media, Facebook has made the biggest difference for our success and campaigns thus far, but we hope to be able to expand into other forms of social media in the future.
R: How many campaigns have been funded so far?
L: So far, we have had 20 campaigns started on our website, and more of them are starting to exceed their goals. For those that haven’t, we are looking into extending the terms of each campaign from 30 days to 60 days.
It looks like there is a lot on the horizon for Animal Lover Funding, and the more people know about this website, the more animals will be helped and saved. I want to thank Lindsay for taking the time to speak with me, and I look forward to witnessing the success of such a wonderful website.