#BettyWhiteChallenge raises money and awareness for animals
(AP) — The late Betty White was a tireless advocate for animals, whether caring for those without homes or launching her own weekly television show, “The Pet Set,” dedicated to her famous friends and their pets.
His biggest contribution, however, may be yet to come: On Monday, White fans will be set to donate to charities and animal welfare shelters as part of which has been dubbed the #BettyWhiteChallenge. And animal welfare nonprofits are gearing up to capitalize on the viral tribute to ‘The Golden Girls’ and ‘Hot in Cleveland’ star on what would have been her 100th birthday.
“I’ve had many conversations with Betty about animal welfare, and I know she’s looking down from the sky and really smiling,” said Robin Ganzert, who runs American Humane, an animal welfare organization. animals in which White has been involved for over 60 years.
“She will smile on her birthday,” she said. “And she will smile at the lives she has changed.”
It’s unclear exactly who started the #BettyWhiteChallenge on social media shortly after White’s death on Dec. 31. However it got started, the idea – to donate $5 to a local animal rescue organization in White’s name on his birthday – quickly took off and attracted support from celebrities like actors Mark Hamill and George Takei on Twitter.
Traffic to American Humane’s website increased after White’s death. Ganzert said donations have also increased. The nonprofit is waiting to reveal how much until more freebies roll in, including large donations it expects from some donors.
During the decades that White was involved with the organization, she did fundraising appeals and served on its board of directors and as a presenter and judge on its television show featuring “hero” dogs. “. During tapings of “The Pet Set” in the early 1970s, Ganzert said, White would have American Humane representatives on set to make sure the animals were safe. In 2012, the nonprofit organization awarded him its highest honour, the National Humanitarian Medal.
Ganzert also gave White a photo book each year of the animals the organization helped.
“She kept them on her coffee table,” Ganzert said. “And (it) always touched me every time we visited.”
Best Friends Animal Society, a Utah-based animal welfare organization, raised $25,000 in donations made in White’s name, according to Holly Sizemore, the group’s mission manager. The group has promoted the #BettyWhiteChallenge extensively on their social media to drum up support for both their work and other organizations.
“That’s the beauty of animal welfare,” Sizemore said. “There is something for everyone to support. There is so much good work going on and so much opportunity, especially right now, to make the world a better place for people and animals.
Sizemore hopes Monday will bring lots of animal welfare donations and attention.
“What an incredible opportunity to honor Betty White’s legacy – to come together as a nation and celebrate something that she was so passionate about, her love for animals,” she said.
Maintaining that connection with #BettyWhiteChallenge donors is the main test for animal welfare nonprofits after Monday. Viral fundraising efforts can bring a flow of money, but experts say donations tend to drop quickly.
Sarah Newhall, director of strategy at fundraising firm MissionWired, says charities can make the most of these times if they already have a solid foundation to engage new donors, whether through through email, website, social media or other methods.
“What it allows them to do is really use that pivotal moment to get in front of an audience that they might not have had otherwise,” Newhall said. But, she added, retaining those donors can be an uphill battle because the urge to give is tied to a day and the motivation to a single person. Animal groups could also be overshadowed by other organizations soliciting donations on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which also falls on Monday.
North Shore Animal League America, a no-kill animal rescue and adoption organization, plans to engage new #BettyWhiteChallenge donors through a mix of social media calls and invitations to visit its adoption center in Port Washington, New York, said Joanne Yohannan, the organization. Senior Vice President of Operations. He also dedicates his next 100 animal rescues to White in honor of his 100th birthday.
The organization received a donation from the Hallmark Channel in honor of White, as part of a tribute that also includes a “Golden Girls” marathon and her Hallmark movie “The Lost Valentine” on Jan. 17.
“It’s about raising awareness of the plight of homeless animals and what can be done to help them, including volunteering and adoption,” Yohannan said.
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