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    August 15, 2008

    Wild about the Wild Animal Sanctuary

    Generally, I try not to write about particular nonprofits, but sometimes one just comes along that I have to mention. I particularly love to find out about smaller organizations - just tells me that any of us could do a lot to help the world if we put our mind to it.  (I should note here that I do not write about clients-you know professional integrity, etc.)

    I don't remember how I first heard about The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Colorado, but I remember reading somewhere a couple of years ago-maybe an article on Yahoo!News, or maybe a friend forwarded me something -about this great place that rescued large animals-big cats, bears, wolves-from terrible conditions. Apparently, it was about to have to shut down because because they were running out of money-from what I remember, it was a family trying to do it all on their own.

    So, okay, I am a sucker for animals in need, and I went online and found their website and donated right away, hoping the small amount of cash I could spare would help them out. I also pledged to give an amount once a year so they could "count" on my support and plan financially. Apparently, a lot of people like me gave them a little bit cause Pat and friends are still in business.

    Since that day, I have given to The Wild Animal Sanctuary several times. Why? Because the folks at The Wild Animal Sanctuary have a way of making me feel like when they ask me for cash, they really mean it.

    Most organizations, once they get their hands on someone's email, will keep emailing that person like their life depends on it-there is an organization that has been emailing me at least once a week for the 4 years even tho I only gave to them once, four years ago, and every email they send me there is some kind of emergency or dire need. Weekly.  Eventually, I became completely "immune" to their constant state of emergency. Eventually, I figured out that it cost these people nothing to add me to the email list after they had already spent the fixed creative cost, so they probably figured, hey, why not just keep emailing this person even if she hasn't opened one of our emails in 4 years.

    (a baby lion recently rescued from near death in Mexico)

    Well, I think that Pat and his team probably don't have a lot of professional fundraisers working from them, because I only get emails from them once every few months; 90% of them emails with newsletters letting us know what's going on at the sanctuary, recent rescues, etc.

    Once in a while, I also get an email asking for a donation-for a very specific cause. For example, right now, they are raising funds to buy land around the sanctuary to expand for their growing brood and also to create a buffer between the sanctuary and growing development.

    Bottom line with Pat and crew: when I give, I know exactly what I am giving to, where my money is going, and most of the time, when I am being asked for cash, I know they really need it and can see it at work.

    By the way, in the spirit of Gen Y, I figured I should do more than just give every once in a while, and so I have created a badge to put on my blog-all donations go to The Wildlife Animal Sanctuary (formerly known as the Rocky Mountain Wildlife Conservation Center).

    And P.S. for those of you wondering-what does a good online newsletter look like? Let me tell you, it's not all about the flashy graphics. There is a lot that could be improved about the sanctuary's  newsletter, but it's got all the basics right-relevant stories-successes and rescues-each story bringing home the same message-"there is a need. It is great. We are doing our best. You can help us do more . You have helped us do more."

    1 comment:

    John Lepp said...

    Good post Miriam. I think many charities contact their donors too often because they have been told they are suppose to (specifically those who send out direct mail) as part of a renewal cycle. Trust me - I've been the part of too many creative meetings where it's been admitted - "well we have nothing new to say or report - but the mail plan says we need to put something in the mail"... Sounds as if the people at WAS have their collective heads screwed on tight...