Sydney, 2022-01-14 12:46:00. “BettyWhiteChallenge” raises funds and awareness for animals
The late Betty White was a tireless advocate for animals, from taking care of those without homes to launching her weekly TV show, “The Pet Set,” dedicated to her celebrity friends and their pets.
However, her broader contribution may not yet come: On Monday, White’s fans will be ready to donate to animal welfare charities and shelters as part of what has been dubbed the BettyWhiteChallenge. Animal welfare nonprofits are gearing up to cash in on the viral tribute to the “The Golden Girls” and “Hot in Cleveland” star on her 100th birthday.
“I’ve had many conversations with Betty about animal welfare, and I know she’s looking up from the sky and really smiling,” said Robin Ganzert, who leads Humane America, an animal welfare organization that White has been involved in for more than 60 years.
“She will smile on her birthday,” she said. “And you will smile about the life that has changed.”
It’s not clear exactly who started the BettyWhiteChallenge on social media shortly after White’s death on December 31. However, the idea – donating $5 to a local animal rescue organization in White’s name on her birthday – quickly took off and gained the support of celebrities like actors Mark Hamill and George Takei on Twitter.
Visits to the American Humane website soared after White’s death. Ganzert said donations also increased. The nonprofit is waiting to reveal how much more gifts will flow in, including the big donations it expects from some of its donors.
During the decades that White was involved with the organization, she made fundraising appeals and served on its board of directors and as a presenter and judge on its television show featuring the dogs “Hero”. Ganzert said that during recordings of “The Pet Set” in the early 1970s, White had American representatives for humanity in place to ensure the animals’ safety. In 2012, the nonprofit honored her with its highest award, the National Humanitarian Medal.
Ganzert White will also give away a picture book each year of the animals the organization has helped.
“She kept the ones on her coffee table,” Ganzert said. “He always touched me when we visited.”
Best Friends Animal Society, a Utah-based animal welfare organization, has raised $25,000 in donations made in White’s name, according to the group’s mission chief Holly Sizemore. The group has widely promoted .BettyWhiteChallenge through its social media channels to garner support for its work and other organizations.
“That’s the beauty of animal welfare,” Sizemore said. “There is something for everyone to support. There is a lot of good work going on and a lot of opportunities, especially right now, to make the world a better place for people and animals.”
Sizemore hopes Monday will bring a lot of donations and interest to animal welfare.
“What a wonderful opportunity to honor Betty White’s legacy – to come together as a nation and celebrate something she was so passionate about, which is her love of animals,” she said.
Maintaining that contact with the BettyWhiteChallenge’s donors is the main test for animal welfare nonprofits after Monday. Viral fundraising efforts can generate a stream of money, but experts say donations tend to decline quickly.
Sarah Newhall, director of strategy at fundraising firm MissionWired, says charities can make better use of these moments if they already have a strong foundation for engaging new donors — whether through email, website, social media or other methods.
“What it allows them to do is really use that moment of support to stand up to an audience they might not otherwise have,” Newhall said. But, she added, retaining these donors can be an uphill battle because the payment to give is tied to one day and the incentive to one person. Other organizations may also be overwhelmed by animal groups asking for donations during Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which also falls on Monday.
The North Shore Animal League of America, an organization that does not allow the killing and adoption of animals, plans to engage with new donors through a combination of social media appeals and invitations to visit its adoption center in Port Washington, New York, Joanne Yohanan, the organization’s organizer, said. Senior Vice President of Operations. The next 100 animal rescues are also dedicated to White in honor of her 100th birthday.
The organization received a donation from the Hallmark Channel in White’s honor, as part of an honor that also includes a “Golden Girls” marathon and the Hallmark movie “The Lost Valentine” on January 17.
“It’s about raising awareness of the plight of homeless animals and what can be done to help them, including volunteering and adoption,” Johanan said.
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