Coronado, California has the cutest mayor around. No, not a human. A dog. This year, PAWS of Coronado used Give to make their 2018 Canine Mayoral Election — a fundraiser for animals with special medical needs — the most successful year so far.
Every other year in Coronado, the PAWS of Coronado organization holds their Canine Mayoral Election to fund the Special Medical Needs Fund. Dog owners in the community compete to get the most donations in their own dog’s name. The winning dog is elected Canine Mayor for a two-year term.
Here’s how PAWS gives back to the community and how Give has helped facilitate their cause.
What is PAWS?
PAWS of Coronado provides adoption services to the Coronado Animal Care Facility and educates the community on animal welfare. They also facilitate and encourage the spaying and neutering of all pets.
PAWS of Coronado is dedicated to the successful adoption of every abandoned or unclaimed animal that arrives at the city’s shelter – the Coronado Animal Care Facility (ACF). Several teams of volunteers assess animal behavior and ensure the animals are bathed, exercised, and socialized while at the Facility. They also advertise the animals as available for adoption. When families are interested in adoption, the volunteers interview and visit the homes of applicants. This ensures each animal will be in the best environment possible with their new adoptive family.
Each dog is assessed by a veterinarian before they’re entered into the adoption process. When the animal arrives at the shelter, their physical condition is taken into consideration and they are given the care needed, where possible.
Every animal’s case is different, and some require much more medical attention than others. Generally, public animal shelters are limited in their resources because they are supplied by taxpayer funds. This puts restrictions on the types of care and food that are provided regularly. These services are limited to micro-chipping, vaccinations, rabies shots, and spaying or neutering.
What is the Cause?
The Canine Mayoral Election raises money for the Special Medical Needs Fund, which allows PAWS of Coronado to provide more extensive veterinary care. PAWS is able to occasionally pay for things like blood work, medication, and even surgery in some cases. These provisions can transform animals from seemingly hopeless cases into viable candidates for adoption. When animals need long-term care, the Fund is also able to assist with the burden of the expense for their adoptive families who committed to providing them a loving home.
A Few Examples of How the Fund was Used
When Angelica, a 9-year-old Jack Russell mix, arrived at the ACF her jaw was broken in four places, deemed the probable result of abuse. She was unable to eat. Without treatment she could not have been adopted, leaving a public animal shelter with few options. The prescribed treatment required the removal of several teeth and care for a long recovery period while her jaw was wired shut. Angelica was ultimately adopted into a great home. The Special Medical Needs Fund paid for her treatment and will cover any future treatments that arise related to her pre-existing medical problems.
Sal is a 7-year-old, 120 pound, Mastiff/Great Dane Mix, who was brought to the ACF by the police when he was abandoned in Star Park on Coronado Island. He quickly found a great adoptive family but suffered a “torqued stomach,” not unusual for dogs his size, only a few days after moving to his new home. It would have been fatal if left untreated. When the family alerted PAWS of Sal’s condition, the Special Medical Needs Fund kicked in to cover treatment to perform surgery to flip the dog’s stomach and then finally to treat him for pneumonia, which was a complication of the surgery. The first two weeks after an adoption is treated as a grace period, so Sal’s care was deemed to be the responsibility of PAWS, rather than the adoptive family.
Stevie, a 5-year-old cat brought to the ACF, was anemic, mostly blind and limping when he arrived. The vet’s initial assessment was that he had been hit by a car. The Fund paid for an x-ray to determine next steps, which revealed that the animal’s injuries were old ones. After a much-needed bath, he was given medication, and eventually underwent surgery to remove one eye due to constant inflammation. He found a wonderful home and his medication will always be covered by the Special Medical Needs Fund.
Campaign History and Goals
In 2016, using a different donation platform (not Give), the campaign raised about $18,000. The old system had some drawbacks that made the campaign less effective. For example, when the donations were received online, they were not updated in real time. The campaign goal progress was updated weekly instead. On top of this delay in information, the cash and check donation totals were calculated separately and added to the totals every week. Verification of the process was done with excel spreadsheets.
The labor and time it took to ensure all of this ran smoothly, not to mention the potential for human error, made the process tedious. When the time came to plan for 2018, the team wanted to reduce the effort put into the accounting process. They looked at several mobile apps to help automate the process, but ultimately decided they didn’t want their donors to have to download an app or go to an external website.
Internally they established a goal of at least meeting the 2016 total of $18,000. The fundraiser kicked off on February 1, 2018, with a call for applications due by the end of the month. Dog owners began to campaign on March 1, 2018. Voting, which was how donations were collected, went on for the entire month of April.
The 2018 Mayoral Candidates
2018 Was a Success With Give
PAWS used Give to display a real-time tally under each animal’s photo with a custom shortcode. They didn’t want to display progress toward a goal, just the number of votes/dollars that were directed toward that specific dog. They also removed the dollar sign from the total and digits after the decimals in the currency section so it would read as “Total Votes” rather than a dollar amount. Each dog was given their own simple form with their photo and name for voters to vote for specific dogs.
PAWS used Give’s Manual Donations add-on so that they wouldn’t have the same cash and check issues they did in 2016. This allowed them to add check and cash donations to the tally throughout the fundraiser as they came in.
The campaign’s organizers reviewed the documentation on the Give website to ensure Paypal was integrated properly. Gravity forms had previously been integrated with PayPal and their concern was that the new integration with Give would interfere. Both worked simultaneously with no issues.
The 2018 Coronado Canine Mayoral Election raised an incredible $20,001 before transaction fees. They received approximately 300 separate donations ranging from $1 to $3400 in amount.
The amount of work involved was substantially less than prior years, as was potential for human error because there were no excel spreadsheets involved. Give also updated the votes in real time, so there was less communication required to keep an accurate update. The real-time update even added to the competitive spirit of the event, according to some of the donors. Overall the 2018 campaign went off without a hitch for PAWS. The PAWS Treasurer said,
“It could not have been any easier.”
The new canine mayor, Gus, was announced on the PAWS of Coronado website and on local news. The winner will serve as Coronado’s Canine Mayor for a two-year term with his runners-up serving as members of the Canine City Council.