I have been referred to as a keyboard animal welfare advocate. Some use that phrase in a negative way, as if my volunteerism isn't enough because I'm not more hands on in what I do. I actually am hands on in many ways, as I was with my city in promoting our newly enacted dog ordinance with city officials and in coordinating and running the dog walk for my county animal control department a few months back. Because I work a full-time job, like most advocates I know, I simply have to pick and choose how I use my time while still balancing home, work and advocacy.
Beyond the websites I manage and the volunteer work I do for organizations like Harley's Puppy Mill Action and Awareness project, I do a lot of letter writing, send a lot of emails and do a lot of small fundraisers like one I am doing now. I am a huge fan of a company called Bonfire which I've used numerous times to do shirt drives to help animals. Bonfire is based in Richmond, Virginia. It creates a platform for organizations and individuals to raise money for non-profit causes or personal causes with no cost output and while helping people create and sell shirts that are both high quality and unique. There are other companies which offer similar services to Bonfire, but they just can't compete with the customer service and in terms of the products. As of the time I'm writing this, Bonfire shirts come in 11 different styles and each style comes in a number of colors and sizes. T-shirts, tanks, crew neck sweatshirts, hoodies, etc.
Sometimes a shirt is more than just a shirt. I admit that I have a kinda sorta t-shirt addiction and I have way too many "cause" shirts in my closet. But for me, they are both expressions of what I value and wearable conversation starters. When I've done fundraising drives for organizations, I am regularly told by people how they wore their shirt and people they don't know have come up to them to ask about the shirt, what it means and where they got it. This is an easy way to be an advocate and spread the word about your cause in a passive way that doesn't make people uncomfortable.
There are a lot of ways to fund raise to help organizations you support. I highly recommend shirt fundraisers and I also highly recommend Bonfire. You can easily raise a few hundred bucks to support a cause and you may raise more depending on how well you market it and the size of your audience. In the case of nonprofits or government organizations, people are given the opportunity to donate above the cost of their purchase and the donation is tax deductible.
I'm in the middle of a drive now to help animals in my local animal shelter. The money will go directly to my police department to help animals in our animal shelter. Funds will be used for things like basic veterinary care, heart worm testing, vaccinations and spay/neuter before animals are adopted. Yes, I will have done all of this using my keyboard. But animals will be helped, people in my community will become more personally invested in what happens in our animal shelter, we will have supported an American company and people will get great, good looking shirts. Sounds positive to me!
Looking for a shirt? Have I got a deal for you. . .
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I am an animal welfare advocate. My goal is to help people understand some basic issues related to companion animals in America. Awareness leads to education leads to action leads to change.
image courtesy of Terrah Johnson