Can’t Afford the Vet? How Social Media Can Help

UPDATE NOV 2013: A great new tool to use is  http://www.gofundme.com/Animals-Pets/

UPDATE FEB 2013: ChipIn has just announced they are closing down. There are other options out there now though. See www.indiegogo.com/.

UPDATE FEB 2011: See also a list of vet bill funding assistance under Pet Care on ASPCA FAQ here .

Facing impossible vet expenses? Don’t give up!

There are now a couple free tools for raising vet bill money in small friends & family donations using social network sites.

The other day a cashier was lamenting about her cat who desperately needed dental surgery. “I see him suffering and drooling, but I just can’t afford the surgery he needs yet.”

I thought to myself: I can’t take any more stories like this! They break my heart. Then I thought: Why can’t her friends and family just chip in a few bucks to a help a feline out?

Several small “chip-in’s” can really add up to a lot: If just 20 Facebook friends chip in $10, you’ve got $200.

Why would your friends & family chip in $5 – 10 for an animal-in-need?

Because…

  • it’s not a lot of money, yet it gives them the good feeling of making a difference
  • they like you (or at least love you!)
  • most of them love their animals too; they empathize
  • it gives them good karma

By way of example, my boyfriend and I found ourselves donating money for the surgery of friend-of-a-friend’s cat. We never even met this person OR their cat, but when we saw the picture and story on Facebook, we were moved to at least throw in a few bucks.

Cool social media tools for saving your cat or dog

UPDATE NOV 2013: A great new tool to use is  http://www.gofundme.com/Animals-Pets/

UPDATE FEB 2013: ChipIn has just announced they are closing down. There are other options out there now though. See www.indiegogo.com/.

UPDATE FEB 2011: See also a list of vet bill funding assistance under Pet Care on ASPCA FAQ here .

I’m pretty excited about Fundrazr.com and Chipin.com, which are both super easy to use.

Donations go directly to you, and your friends can pay with credit cards or Paypal. The tools are totally free, though in most cases tiny transaction fees are deducted from the donations (e.g., Paypal deducts 59 cents from a $10 donation + Fundrazr subtracts another 30 cents; so for a $100 donation, it’s a $3.50 deduction).

First, you need a free PayPal account (but your friends don’t). If you aren’t signed up with Paypal yet, doing so is simple at paypal.com‘s sign-up page.

Fundrazr.com
Fundrazr is the best tool for Facebook users with pets-in-need. It loads a great visual in Facebook for you, making it very easy to add a picture of your pet, let people see how much is raised so far for your goal, and let’s people donate with a couple clicks.

You can even put in a video if you want to. It’ll look a lot like this in your friends’ Facebook news feeds and on your wall. And, your friends can also share it with their Facebook network too.

For friends and family who are not on Facebook, Fundrazr says that they also give you a donation web page address you can post via email or twitter.

Chipin.com
For an alternative to Facebook donations, Chipin.com is the pets-in-need tool for you. It’s best if you just want to send the chip-in to a bunch of friends and family via email, twitter, or post it on a blog.

It lets you create a little webpage (shown above) that you can direct friends to, and you can also post your chip-in on your own blog or webpage (example at top of this page).

As with Fundrazr, Chipin.com allows people to securely send you donations via credit cards or Paypal, directly to your Paypal account.

Chip-in pages don’t post very well visually in Facebook, so it’s not very effective there, but the free webpage Chipin lets you easily create is great for emailing and tweeting!

Helpful tips:

  • In your plea, say upfront that you are looking for small bucks – like $5 – 10 each. This way people who are broke won’t feel discouraged from contributing.
  • Let people know how much your animal means to you and exactly what the money is for.
  • It’s probably most effective to also send your fundrazr or chipin to close friends and family in email.
  • Facebook and Twitter  feeds move fast, so post every couple days for a week or so. Say thank you and give updates in your posts. Everyone will like seeing the donation meter go up.
  • You will not need to process anyone’s payments – it’s all handled by tools and Paypal. (You can transfer the money received from your Paypal account to your bank account with a click or two.)

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