Wearing Your Heart on Your…License Plate
Raising money for pet population control programs.
By Sara Khurody-Downs
Ten years ago, New Jersey became the first state in the nation to bring animal-friendly revenue sharing automobile license plates to its citizens. The additional fees charged – over and above regular registration fees – go to fund New Jersey’s Animal Population Control Program. These unique specialty plates, complete with animal-centric designs and slogans, currently raise approximately $300,000 a year.
The 10-year anniversary of the plates is a good time to take stock of the program. Prevent a Litter Coalition (PaLC), Inc. of Reston, Virginia, an organization with a mission of finding and implementing community-sustainable solutions to pet population issues, is analyzing the data. The team is particularly interested in finding efficient, effective and successful fund- raising tools for targeted pet population programs in all states.
Believing that the Animal Friendly License Plates (AFLP) may be one such tool, PaLC is starting a thorough analysis of the existing programs in the United States. As the group analyzes existing AFLP programs, it hopes to make recommendations for best practices, including effective fund disbursement and marketing of the plates.
What Works, What Doesn’t
Questions PaLC is addressing include: Which states have sold the most plates, and why? Do certain designs and slogans appeal to the public? How are the plates marketed? Do motor vehicle departments promote the plates? What percentage of customers renew their specialty plates? Do significant numbers of new customers purchase the plates each year? What are potential and projected sales? Will projected sales provide a significant portion of the funding needed for targeted programs? How much money has been raised? How are the funds disbursed? Have funds been used as intended?
The answers to these questions will drive future AFLP objectives and assist communities as they find new ways to fund pet population control programs.
In 1997, Virginia became the second state to offer animal friendly license plates as a voluntary way to proclaim its appreciation for animals and raise funds for spay/ neuter programs. Now, 10 years after the first-ever ani-mal friendly license plate came into existence in New Jersey, more than one-third of all states have enacted bills that allow for these revenue-sharing license plates.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
For information and a list of states with an AFLP program, visit PaLC’s website at www.palc.org and click on “Animal Friendly License Plate Analysis,” or send an 8.5 x 11-in. SASE with 83 cents of postage to: Prevent a Litter Coalition, AFLP Info, P.O. Box 9294, Reston, VA 20195.
While research and analysis of all programs has only just begun, PaLC provides all of the information it collects online at www.palc.org. Located under the heading “Analysis of Animal Friendly Plates,” the data has become a growing central resource of state-by-state information on the status of AFLPs.
Additionally, PaLC offers an e-mail discussion forum for local organizations and citizens to share tips and hints for AFLP legislation, the marketing of plates and the management of fund disbursements.
Find out about your state’s program and buy an AFLP to help control your local pet population.
Sara Khurody-Downs is the president of Prevent a Litter Coalition, Inc.
© 2003 ASPCA
ASPCA Animal Watch – Spring 2003
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