Julie Morris, ASPCA Vice President, National Shelter Outreach
Taking care of animals is an expensive proposition, and good intentions, hard work and dedication alone will not make a non-profit organization a success. However, with creativity and some leg work, fundraising strategies – from direct mail to dog walks – can be extraordinarily fun and profitable. The Longmont Humane Society (LHS) in Colorado makes sure that its annual money-making event is not only a successful fund-raiser, but a spirited “fun-raiser” as well.
In 1997, LHS marked the 13th anniversary of its Autumn Animal Affair. A blurb in the local newspaper said the affair “promises to be the event of the season for food, bidding fun and a chance to win a Harley-Davidson Motorcycle.” Yes, you read that right: LHS raffled off a 1997 Harley Davidson 1200C Sportster Custom courtesy of High Country Harley Davidson. All proceeds were earmarked for the animal shelter. At $25 apiece, about 1,500 tickets were sold, so the chances of winning were inviting. (I purchased two tickets for a 1996 raffle. And no, I didn’t win.)
The affair is held at a popular hotel and features selections from eight local micro-breweries along with tastings of scotch, cognac, champagne, wine and coffee. Colorado’s Left Hand Brewing Company re-labels one of its brews “Happy Tail Ale,” which is provided free of charge during the silent and live auctions. And while the emphasis may be on having a grand old time, the event raises about $13,000 annually from ticket sales and the auction, and around $20,000 from the raffle. That’s impressive for any local animal shelter, but even more so for LHS, which hit rock bottom in the early 1980s and was almost condemned.
Back in 1972, the Longmont Branch of the Boulder County Humane Society officially became the Longmont Humane Society, a private, non-profit organization dedicated to protecting animals. The original building – a former turkey shed moved from a nearby farm – was immediately overwhelmed by the unexpected number of lost and surrendered animals. It was impossible to hold an animal for long, no matter how adoptable. By 1982, disease caused by overcrowding and poor ventilation required the euthanasia of a host of shelter animals.
Despite the staff’s best efforts, the age and design of the building prevented the shelter from progressing. Facing the threat of condemnation, the staff and board worked diligently to raise funds for a new structure. The Longmont City Council committed $250,000 toward construction and the county donated a five-acre building site. After learning about a “dome” shelter in a nearby county, LHS? board determined that a “weatherproof, airtight, thermally efficient” dome building would be the most cost-effective option. The unusual structure you see today opened in 1985.
Today, the Longmont Humane Society, its staff and many volunteers are proudly celebrating their 25th anniversary. LHS services and programs including pet adoption, lost and found, humane education, a lending library, dog training, behavioral counseling, on-site spay/neuter services, a pet cemetery, pet-loss support and foster care.
The need for funding never ceases, but look to LHS to keep coming up with events that are clever, community-oriented and well attended by the many folks in the Longmont area who like to help animals and help themselves to a healthy dose of fun.
Shelter staffers with news of special programs or resources should contact: ASPCA National Shelter Outreach; 424 E. 92nd Street; New York, NY 10128-6804
© 1998 ASPCA
ASPCA Animal Watch – Spring 1998
424 East 92nd St.
New York, NY 10128-6804