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Crowdfunding campaigns: How to meet your service dog fundraising goal

When you apply for a service dog, you will be asked to make a donation towards the training and care of the dog. At Canines for Change, this is approximately $12,000 and you have about a year to raise it.

This can seem like a large amount of money. However, there are many ways you can fundraise to help reach your goal. In the last couple of years, crowdfunding websites have shot to the top of the fundraising suggestions list, mostly due to the effectiveness of sharing these campaigns on social media, and the fact that you can receive donations from people all over the world.

What is a crowdfunding campaign?

Crowdfunding websites such as GoFundMe and IndieGogo allow you to create an online campaign to reach a fundraising goal. People use these websites for all sorts of things, from donations for charities to helping fund medical treatment.

Many people have found success on these websites for crowdfunding their way to the service dog fundraising target.

The basic premise to these websites is that you create a page that tells your story and ask for donations. The website handles the payments and shows your overall total. It also keeps track of the amount you still need in order to reach your goal. People from all over the world can see and donate to your campaign.

It can seem like a daunting prospect – putting your story out there on the internet for the world to read. However, with the power of social media websites such as Twitter and Facebook, they can be one of the most effective ways to encourage donations.

Examples of service dog crowdfunding campaigns

  • Hailey from Nashville, Tennessee, raised 100% of her goal of $3,780 and completed her campaign
  • Adam from Texas is currently 50% of the way towards his goal of $30,000
  • Stacie from Florida has raised almost $1,000 of her $2,500 goal for a PTSD therapy dog

Top tips for your crowdfunding campaign

  • Make sure you include as much information as you can about why you are raising the money and why a service dog is essential to your life. The more detail people have, the more likely they are to donate.
  • Include photos! These will help people feel an emotional reaction to your story, which encourages them to donate.
  • It is a good idea to have a family member or friend proof read your campaign before you publish it, to check for spelling and grammar mistakes.
  • Try to find examples of service dog crowdfunding campaigns that have raised a large percentage of their goal. Look for similarities between your description and their descriptions to determine how to present the information on your own campaign.
  • Provide regular updates so that your existing donators can see how your campaign is progressing. Who knows, this might encourage them to donate again!
  • Include links for the donator to find out more information. For example, you could link to the Canines for Change training process so that they can learn about the work that goes in to training a service dog.
  • Think about “perks” you could offer donators. For example, if they donate $20, you could offer to send them a photograph of your service dog once it arrives. To get some ideas, look at existing campaigns to see what other people have offered.
  • When your campaign is published, make sure you share the link on all of the social media platforms you are a part of – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. Ask your ‘friends’ and ‘followers’ to share the link on their own profiles to help spread the word.
  • Also, send the link out to your email address book, with a message telling them about the campaign and asking them to read your story. Do not specifically ask people to donate when you are emailing, as that direct approach can seem “pushy” and discourage people from clicking the link.

Things to watch out for

  • Make sure you read carefully the terms and conditions of the website you choose to host your campaign, so that you know exactly what terms you are agreeing to.
  • Each website will take a different amount of commission from your donations, so try to find one that takes a low amount.
  • You may be given the option to refund people who donate if you do not meet your full target in a certain amount of time. Think carefully about whether you want to do this or if it would be best to run a campaign where you get to keep the donations, even if you don’t make it to 100%.

Other fundraising ideas

If you don’t like the sound of crowdfunding or want to do something else in addition to your campaign, there are many other ways that you can fundraise to meet your service dog fundraising goal. We will be writing about different fundraising ideas in the next couple of weeks, so check back soon.

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