Case Study #1: Online Effort Provides Funds, Peace of Mind for Victim of Tragic Fire
On the night of December 15, 2011, Sandra G. woke to the sound of her seven beloved rescue dogs barking frantically. A fast-moving electrical fire had engulfed her home. Miraculously, Sandra escaped, along with her mother, husband, infant son and two of her dogs. However, her other five dogs perished in the fire and her home was a total loss.
Well-known in the close-knit pet blogging community for her selfless and generous spirit, Sandra’s tragedy was devastating to her readers. Immediately, people began asking what they could do. Amber Carlton, a copywriter and fellow dog blogger, knew she had to do something to help Sandra and to give others a way to express their support and grief.
The first step was to send an email to other bloggers who were close to Sandra in order to gauge interest and ensure that fundraising efforts wouldn’t be duplicated. Amber then approached Sandra herself to make sure she was comfortable with the idea. Within 4 hours of learning about the tragedy, a ChipIn account was set up in Sandra’s name to collect funds. Other bloggers were asked to post the ChipIn information on their own blogs, Facebook pages and Twitter accounts.
The response was overwhelming. Within 24 hours, the original goal of $2,000 was met and surpassed. When the ChipIn closed three months later, 257 donors had contributed a total of $8,535, with donations coming from all over the world, including Canada, Mexico, Singapore, England, Ireland and Australia. The funds were used for immediate expenses, their insurance deductible and other items not covered by insurance.
Today, Sandra and her husband are in the process of rebuilding their home and their lives. While money can never bring back her precious dogs, it has helped give her peace of mind during this long, difficult and painful process. As she said in a recent email, “I cannot begin to express how thankful my entire family is for the ChipIn that was set up for us. The support has been amazing and the prayers and kind words have been instrumental to my recovery. I don’t know what in the world I would have done without the blogging community.”
Case Study #2: Blogging Event Shines Spotlight on Hundreds of Homeless Pets, Saves Life of Death Row Dog
Saving the life of one animal may not change the world; but the world will surely change for that one animal.
When Amber Carlton’s father passed away unexpectedly in 2011, she felt compelled to do something to honor his memory. But what?
The answer was right in front of her. A lifelong dog lover, Jerry Singleton had instilled in his daughter respect and compassion for animals. As a pet industry copywriter and blogger, Amber realized she had the perfect platform to honor him while shedding light on a nationwide problem.
According to the Humane Society of the United States, between 6-8 million pets enter the shelter system each year. Nearly half of those will be euthanized. In a country full of pet lovers, the statistics are almost unimaginable.
Amber decided to encourage other bloggers to bring awareness to this issue through an event called “Rescue Me Week.” First, a blog badge was created with the name of the event and the dates. The event was announced on her popular dog blog two weeks prior in order to allow word to circulate. Fellow bloggers were asked to write about an adoptable pet at some point during the week. For each “adorable adoptable” featured, the participating blogger would be entered into a random drawing for a $100 donation to their favorite animal charity.
When “Rescue Me Week” arrived, the event took on a life of its own. As the week progressed, more and more bloggers participated. In all, 180 posts were written featuring 233 adoptable pets, including a rooster, a goat, a horse and a parrot.
The ultimate goal of “Rescue Me Week” was realized a few days after the event ended. Amber received an email from a fellow blogger who had featured a dog known only as #A1260391. He was in a crowded Los Angeles shelter and because he had been labeled “aggressive,” he had little hope of making it out alive. However, after reading about his plight, a woman posted about him on her Facebook page. After that, things progressed quickly, and a caring, compassionate group of people banded together to save him from his fate.
As it turns out, #A1260391 – now renamed Willie – was frightened, not aggressive. He was a lovely, sweet dog who simply needed someone to give him a chance. Willie was vetted, neutered and placed in a loving foster home while he awaited adoption.
Case Study #3: Children’s Candy Contest Sparks Imagination,
Builds Community and Sells Thousands of Tickets
In 2006, as part of its Children’s Theater Season, Imagination Celebration of Colorado Springs presented the national touring production of “Willy Wonka.” Ensuring a full house for all three performances would not only justify the cost, it would be an essential component in Imagination Celebration’s mission of inspiring creativity in children.
With the help of fellow team members, Communications Coordinator Amber Carlton designed a marketing plan with the goal to fill seats and drive community engagement.
Building on the concept of the “Golden Ticket,” a contest was created to generate interest and excitement. In the story, Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory produces such amazing concoctions as the Neverending Gobstopper and Three-Course-Dinner Gum. Taking inspiration from this, children in the community were asked to dream up their own fantastic candies, name them and submit a drawing of their invention. The entry forms were distributed online and at schools, community centers and participating merchants. Five entries would be selected to receive the grand prize – a Golden Ticket to the show.
Local businesses were approached to sponsor the contest. The prize package included tickets to the show, a 10-pound bar of chocolate, a backstage tour and a post-performance reception with the cast, complete with a chocolate fountain.
An impartial panel was selected to judge the entries. One entry was chosen per week during the five weeks leading up to the performance. Each winner was interviewed, along with his or her parent(s), and a press release profiling the child was then sent to the media. The story was was picked up by local news and radio stations, as well as the local newspapers.
By the time the theater doors opened, everyone in town was talking about Willy Wonka. All three shows sold out – a total of 6,000 seats. Pre-show activities in the lobby engaged the children’s imaginations and prepared them for the performance. Beyond that, it was clear that the organization’s larger goal had been met. Even if he or she was not a Golden Ticket winner, each child skipped out of the theater that night with their imagination sparked and a memory that would last a lifetime.