Now that Who Will Let the Dogs Out (otherwise known as Waldo) is official, we need YOU.
You knew this was coming, right? After all, I did warn you in my previous post.
Like pretty much everything, it takes people with purpose, plus a bit of money to get things done. Until now, we’ve been just three people who operated on a shoestring—a few donations plus a lot of our own money.
The biggest reason for becoming a 501c3 nonprofit is so we can have a bigger impact. We want to take our message farther and wider, and travel to the rescues, dog pounds, and shelters that are not on the national radar—the places where too many dogs and the heroes fighting for them can be forgotten.
It’s why we started all this in the first place—because if people don’t know, they can’t help.
And now that you know, we need your help. As I said in the previous post—somebody ought to do something and maybe that somebody is YOU.
The most important way you can help us is by sharing our message.
Find, follow, and share it in whatever way you are most comfortable. We are putting content out in every way we can think of (although there are lots of other channels that we could reach—Tik Tok, anyone?) – Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and the blog are our primary spots, but we have small stakes planted on twitter and Pinterest, and Nancy is even toying with Tik Tok (although she doesn’t want me to share that one yet!)
We welcome, not only your follows/likes/shares/retweets, but also your suggestions and your help. If social media is your joy and you’d like to volunteer to help us in that world, oh, boy could we use you.
We need volunteers in other areas too. If you like to write, surf the internet, research, collect data, create marketing materials, fundraise, or brainstorm—we can use you. We need virtual volunteers to help us stay connected with the shelters and rescues we’ve reached, to work on our educational programs, to develop marketing materials, to locate shelters/rescues who deserve a visit, to assist in fundraising, help with finances/taxes, to follow up on grant/assistance applications, and, as noted already, to build our social media platform.
We’d love to have you on the Waldo team! You don’t need to be nearby (I’m in Virginia, Nancy is in Pennsylvania, and Patty is in Maryland). We’ve all figured out how to work via internet and phone, so wherever you are, there’s something you can do. If you’re interested in getting involved, email me at email@example.com.
Beyond people, we also need money. Everyone involved with Waldo is doing this as a volunteer which helps keep our budget simple. Here are a few of the items in our projected budget:
Emergency Fund: We’d like to establish an emergency fund to enable us to help shelters/rescues when something unexpected happens – like a weather catastrophe, a hoarding case, a death/illness in the family of the director (many of the organizations we work with are dependent on one individual). We want to be able to help quickly in these situations with supplies and support.
Travel Expenses: We plan to travel four times a year on ‘shelter tours’. On these trips, we visit shelters/rescues/dog pounds to meet the people and dogs so we can tell their stories. This is the primary purpose of Waldo—to raise awareness through storytelling. To date, we’ve relied on selling calendars, a few donations, Facebook fundraisers, and a lot of our own money to make these trips. We stay in budget motels or friends’ guest rooms and pack most of our food, so we can use the money we do have to pay for a rental vehicle and gas. As we travel further and longer the expense has only grown.
Future Film projects: The success of Amber’s Halfway Home has been incredible, but what’s more incredible is the power and the reach of its message. We’d like to make more films about other areas and build on the success of our first venture. This takes serious money, so we will spread that challenge over several years and when we have the funds, we’ll again partner with filmmakers to tell another story through film.
Marketing: Getting the word out costs money. Ads and boosts on social media will build our audience. We need to create and print quality materials to hand out as we travel to help Waldo grow its network.
Shelter Resources: We’d like to develop booklets on grants/resources/fundraising to hand out on our visits. Quite often the places we visit have poor internet/computer access, and many of the people who do have it, don’t have a minute to sit down and search out the help they need. Having a physical copy of the information organized in a user-friendly way will increase the likelihood that shelters/rescues will be able to find the help they need.
Education: We know that an important piece of the solution is educating the next generation. A program to educate children about proper care of an animal, the importance of spay/neuter, and the value of the human-animal bond could have lasting impact. We would like to create and publish a resource to give to shelters/rescues, local organizations, libraries, and schools.
Those are just a few of the items in our proposed budget, but we’re just getting started. None of it can happen without donations. After the success of our Kickstarter campaign for Amber’s Halfway Home, we realized that sometimes incentives go a long way towards involving people beyond their check book.
So we’ve got rewards for you that will remind you of the good your donation will do and help spread the word about Waldo.
For anyone who donates any amount, we’ll send you a thank you that includes ‘tickets’ to Waldo, that have a part to keep and a part to tear-off to give to someone you know, plus a few other thank you items.
For anyone who invests in our future by donating at least $100, Nancy designed a gorgeous t-shirt we’ll send your way.
And for anyone who takes out a stake in this new venture by donating at least $250, we’ll send you a signed copy of my book, 100 Dogs & Counting (signed not just by me, but by Gracie!), a t-shirt, and the other goodies.
Here comes the complicated part! As our 501c3 status is pending (the IRS site is backed up and has not been able to assign us a case worker yet), we’d prefer you send your money by check. I know, I know, who does that anymore? But if you use our paypal (www.paypal.me/whowillletthedogsout), paypal takes a big chunk. You can still do that, but we want every penny you give to help dogs.
Checks should be written to ‘Who Will Let the Dogs Out’ and sent to:
Waldo c/o Cara Achterberg
128 W High St
Woodstock, VA 22664
Please include your mailing address, so we can send you our thank you package (and if you’re donating over $100, tell us what size t-shirt you’d like).
Okay, ready to get involved? We hope so!
Join us and we can let the dogs out!
Until each one has a home,
The mission of Who Will Let the Dogs Out (we call it Waldo for short) is to raise awareness and resources for homeless dogs and the heroes who fight for them.
You can learn more about what is happening in our southern shelters and rescues in the book, One Hundred Dogs & Counting: One Woman, Ten Thousand Miles, and a Journey Into the Heart of Shelters and Rescues (Pegasus Books, 2020) which tells the story of a challenging foster dog who inspired me to travel south to find out where all the dogs were coming from. It also explains how Who Will Let the Dogs Out began. The book is available anywhere books are sold. A portion of the proceeds of every book sold will go to help unwanted animals in the south.
Amber’s Halfway Homeis a short documentary film we produced in partnership with Farnival Films. It tells the story of a remarkable woman and one day of rescue in western Tennessee. Selected for thirteen film festivals (to date), it is a beautiful, heartbreaking, inspiring story we hope will compel viewers to work for change.