Posted 03 January 2008 - 02:02 PM
I started Rabbit Rehome to provide rescue centres with internet advertising for the rabbits they take in. This was five years ago, and although though web presence for rescues has definitely improved, back then very few had websites and even less updated them regularly. The site allows rescues to create an account and then using a form add details and a photograph of their available rabbits - users can then search for rabbits local them. At any one time we usually have approximately 50 rescues listing around 600 animals between them.
I guess it is slightly different to some non profits as although it is a non profit itself (we have accounts and raise funds) it's mainly a collective web presence for many other non profits. I think the grouping together has been a big bonus for both us and the rescues that use it. By having one central source of information we generate a lot of links - great in itself and for our se rankings. Even those rescues with good individual websites (updated regularly) generate more enquiries via RR. I think that's something other localized non profits could benefit from. For example if you are a local organisation and there are other similar groups in other areas then pooling resources and creating one site may be more effective.
The internet has been an amazing tool for linking people together and communicating. Our forum links rescues with each other and also the public. It gives the public understanding of what goes on 'behind the scenes': rescues will often post updates of animals coming in and the process towards adoptions. They also post about issues such as planning, money worries etc. I think it creates a connection that makes people more willing to help them. In my experience fund-raising has always been much more successful for those places who use the forum regularly and keep people in the loop. The aim of the site, to find rabbits homes, works for the same reason, by telling people about individual animals they form a connection that galvanizes them into action and gets them to make the effort to go into the rescue to adopt them.
The forum is also a tool for organising and recruiting volunteers. Before the web organising involved knowing people were there and phoning around to solicit their help. Now you post and people come to you. It's very difficult to recruit long term reliable volunteers but the forum provides a base of people who may be willing to on a one off occasion with a specific task. You also have access to a much wider geographic population. The forum is often used for non local volunteers that would have been nearly impossible to organise without the web. For example, I know that if I post today then with 24-48hrs I can have a team of strangers from around the UK ready to relay animals from the south coast to Scotland.
Forums have their downsides too. I really admire the Admin team at Cre8asite because they make it look so easy to manage a forum successfully and keep everyone behaving. It's not! Dealing with emotive issues, arguments and maintenance can be time consuming and difficult. Seriously - we've had the police involved on two occasions!
Part of the funds (which we pass on to rescues or cover the running costs) are raised by advertising. I think this might have some issues for non profits that might not be quite the same on other sites. I have to be extremely selective about what we accept. I've found that general advertising like adwords is next to useless because one inappropriate ad and you will hear all about it. I think people expect a very high standard from non profits. It really has to be something that I'd personally recommend and from a company that doesn't have any welfare 'issues'.
Like I said I'm not entirely sure what to say, so I'm going to post as is and feel free to ask me questions
Posted 03 January 2008 - 03:41 PM
I admire the effort it takes to do all this work. I wonder if non-profit motivation is "want to do" vs "have to do" and when it becomes "have to do", where they get inspiration to keep going?
I would imagine success stories are one source for that
Posted 03 January 2008 - 03:54 PM
Posted 03 January 2008 - 04:28 PM
I really enjoyed reading that, and I want to applaud you for giving your time to such a good cause. I was wondering, do most of your rabbits come from pet owners who are no longer willing of able to take care of their rabbits, or are these animals rescued from the meat/fur industry?
Thanks so much for taking the time to tell us about what you do!
Edited by SEOigloo, 03 January 2008 - 04:29 PM.
Posted 03 January 2008 - 04:41 PM
That stats for individual rabbits posted on the site are:
Nov 07 visitor stats:
Kim - I think that's another benefit of the forum. You've got a community backing you up. I think the rescues themselves feel the same way, a lot of them are individuals so without an online community they are very isolated. I was phoning around rescues at Christmas asking about various things and it's a real buzz to hear how it helps them. I enjoy the challenge too - I think that applies to people working on business sites as well. It's always going to work better if it's something you want to do.
Posted 03 January 2008 - 05:02 PM
was wondering, do most of your rabbits come from pet owners who are no longer willing of able to take care of their rabbits, or are these animals rescued from the meat/fur industry?
Yes, just about all from pet owners. A few from pet breeders giving up/retiring. I think there have been one or two rabbits from laboratories (college departments not big labs). The only way meat/fur/lab rabbits would usually be rehomed was if the company was closing. We would arrange placing for animals in that situation but don't get involved in the animal rights side of things.
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