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So You Want To Run A Non-Profit?

Pam Norris has been rescuing dogs since 2000 and founded Senior Paws Rescue, a 501(c)(3) dog refuge, in 2015.  She will share "how to" advice, lessons learned, and stories about her dog rescue adventures.

Monday, December 5, 2022 • • General

Five reasons to Adopt, Don't Shop when you add a dog to your family.

A rescue dog at home.



Ozzie was rescued by Senior Paws Rescue in 2021 and is now living out his senior years with care, companionship, and lots of love!




According to the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), 7.6 million companion animals (otherwise known as any animal that we typically view as pets in the traditional sense) enter animal shelters each year, nationwide. Of that 7.6 million, 2.7 million animals are euthanized.   Buying dogs from pet shops or breeders only exacerbates the situation.  By adopting a dog from a shelter or rescue, you can help change those statistics for the better.

You can save a dog from euthanasia.

An animal shelter is an establishment where stray or abandoned animals are provided with a temporary home and is maintained by local government and charity organizations. There are an estimated number of 5,000 independent animal shelters running nationwide.

As mentioned above, 2.7 million animals are euthanized each year due largely in part to not being adopted within the shelter's allotted time period or because the shelter is full and cannot care for additional dogs. You could be the difference of life and death for an animal, which should be reason enough to adopt.  

The joy and love that a rescued dog brings into your life is priceless.  

They come trained.

For the most part, your new pet will have already learned basic skills such as potty training. Some shelters even do on-site training programs to ensure a well behaved and disciplined animal upon adoption.  Many shelter dogs know tricks and commands too.  And despite the old saying, you CAN teach an old dog new tricks.

Adopting a dog is much less expensive than buying one.

Dogs purchased from breeders can cost anywhere from $400 to well over $1,000.  Adoption fees are as little as $100 in some areas.  You can buy your new fur friend a bed, collar, leash, and a lot of dog toys and treats with the savings. 

You can get just about any kind of dog at a shelter.

Looking for a big dog?  A small dog?  A furry dog?  A puppy, or a dog somewhere between 2 and 5 years old?  Or maybe you want a senior dog to provide your elderly parent a quiet, calm companion?  Shelters and rescue organizations have them all, and often have full bred dogs too.  If you are willing to take the time to do the research, you can find a dog that meets your criteria.  Most rescues and shelters now have online adoption information, including pictures, estimated age, length of stay in rescue, whether the dog is good with children or other animals, health status, and other helpful background information so you can make an informed decision when searching for your new family member. 

You will indirectly help stop animal cruelty.

When you adopt a dog from a rescue or shelter, you are NOT buying one from a potential puppy mill or a questionable breeder.  Animal advocates work tirelessly to put reckless breeders out of business by pushing for better laws around breeding practices.  By adopting from a shelter or rescue, you are not only saving a life, you are helping reduce the demand from breeders.  Plus your new fur friend will be spayed or neutered, which means a future of not having puppies that may also end up in a shelter someday.

Take this quiz: what kind of pet is best for you?

Monday, December 5, 2022 • • Animal Rescue

Learn how Senior Paws Rescue, a nonprofit dog rescue in southern Indiana, has successfully leveraged social media fundraising to cover over 95% of the expenses required to run the rescue each year.

Sure, in-person fundraising events can successfully bring in donations for non-profits, but they can also be costly in terms of time and costs to secure and set up a venue, provide refreshment, and give guests incentive to attend, such as entertainment or a silent auction.  And in recent years due to Covid, it was not possible to hold in-person events.  

Senior Paws Rescue (SPR) provides a "rest of life" home to senior dogs that have been abandoned, surrendered, or come into rescue as strays, many of which were abused or neglected.  Since its inception in 2000, SPR has cared for over 70 senior dogs.  Food and care, especially veterinarian bills and medications that come with caring for older dogs, add up fast.  

SPR held in-person events up until 2019, just prior to the pandemic. We had booths at festivals, visitor days at the rescue, in-person parties with raffles, and other events to raise donations. We quickly had to rethink our approach in the first quarter of 2020 when the pandemic hit.  How could we continue to sustain donations in a virtual world?

By investing in education on how to use various social media platforms, and from watching and learning from posts from popular content creators, SPR has built a social media presence that now generates over 95% of the funding needed to operate the rescue each year.

The #1 lesson we learned about virtual fundraising is to make the ask.  Don't be afraid to tell your followers what you need.  SPR asks for and receives items such as dog food, cleaning supplies, dog toys and treats, bedding, gift cards, and monetary donations just by asking for what we need in our social media posts.  Our biggest donations currently come from Tik Tok and Facebook, although we are venturing into Instagram and finding success there as well.  

Tik Tok

Tik Tok is a great forum for building a following quickly. SPR posts videos that are informative, humerous, and touching.  By telling our story in short videos, we gained almost 30,000 followers in less than two years.  SPR's Tik Tok profile contains a "how you can help" link, and we often make videos telling viewers what we need.  We started receiving packages almost daily of items from our Amazon and Chewy.com wish lists.  By opening the packages on video and publically thanking the donors, we made them part of our story.  SPR's TikTok Profile

Facebook Fundraisers

While Tik Tok followers tend to send in-kind donations, Facebook lends itself better to monetary donations.  Fundraisers are easy to set up, and cost nothing to the person who initiates one.  There are no fees to donors or the receiving non-profit, so it is a win-win for everyone.  Encourage your friends and family to start birthday or other fundraisers for your non-profit, then post the fundraiser on your non-profit's Facebook page to promote it.  SPR currently averages 40 fundraising posts a year through our followers, most of which are birthday fundraisers.  Be sure to thank every donor with a post on the fundraising page!   SPR's Facebook Page


SPR is still learning the ins and outs of Instagram, but the few fundraisers we have created so far have been successful. Instagram can be set up to automatically post to Facebook as well, so you can leverage two posts for the effort of one.  SPR started fundraising on Instagram by posting the story of one of the dogs in our rescue along with a short video or a few pictures, and asking for $200 to cover the costs associated with caring for that dog.  We are working on fine-tuning our branding and recognition on Instagram, but based on other creators we follow, we are confident Instagram will prove to be a powerful fundraising platform for us as well.  SPR's Instagram Account

Branding and Hashtags

No matter which social media platform SPR posts on, we include our logo and relevant hashtags to ensure our content is found when people search for key words.  Our most commonly used hashtags are #SeniorPawsRescue, #dogrescue, #rescuedogs, #dogs, and #adoptdontshop.  We also add one-off hashtags to posts when they align with a timely or popular theme, such as #DogHalloweenCostumes.  Do some research on the best hashtags to associate with your non-profit, and be sure to use them on every post.

Upcoming blog posts will dive deeper into the ins and outs of virtual fundraising. If you would like to be added to our email distribution list, fill out the form on Senior Paws Rescue's Website