Five Free Alternatives to ChipIn for Animal Rescue

If you’ve got your nose to the ground in the online animal rescue world, you’ll probably have heard the cries of outrage over the shutting down of ChipIn, the popular free fundraising tool that has allowed animal rescuers – both individuals and organizations – to raise money for the care and love of animals. Over a year ago, Chipin stopped offering support for its much-loved widget, so maybe it shouldn’t surprise us that they were bought out and shut down. Still, it’s sad, especially without any clear alternatives to turn to.

Thankfully, when I put a call out to Twitter, I came across a few good sites that might just be what we’re looking for. So without further ado, here are five free alternatives to ChipIn for animal rescue.

Five Alternatives to ChipIn

PayPal Labs Widget


For: Everyone!
What: Paypal’s nifty donation widget created by their in-beta PayPal Labs.
Pros: Customizable to adapt to your brand, extremely easy to set-up, links right to your Paypal account so no extra fees from a third party.
Cons: If you set up payment options in the dropdown, donors can’t change the amount on the next screen. If you don’t set up payment options, the dropdown is empty and useless.
My Thoughts: I’m currently using it over on Snailbird for my own fundraiser, and it’s pretty nice. I liked that it was super easy to set-up and I was able to make it look nice.
Where: PayPal Labs



For: Everyone!
What: Free online fundraising tool open to all projects.
Pros: Looks easy to customize, no website fees, super easy to set up, easy to share on social media, uses PayPal or WePay.
Cons: So far I haven’t run across anything. Let me know if you do so I can update this! I haven’t used the widget so I’m not sure if there are any bugs with it.
My Thoughts: YouCaring seems to be the answer to the ChipIn issue. And they’ve recognized it – I found out about them straight from their twitter source when I asked. I’m guessing they’re going to become pretty popular.

Original Fundraising Widget


For: Everyone!
What: Exactly what it is.
Pros: Seems pretty straight forward, looks like they have some customizing options, no fees.
Cons: The design is somewhat lacking and I’m not sure HOW customizable some of the options are. I’m not a fan of the overall design of the widgets either.
My Thoughts: Looks like it could work, though like I said before, I’m put off by the designs. They may be more customizable than they look though and if you’re not a picky designer like me, it will probably work for you.
Where: Online Fundraising Widget



For: Everyone!
What: A popular fundraising website for personal and nonprofits.
Pros: It’s pretty popular, straight-forward, easy to customize and integrate into your WordPress site (the site actually has a WP plugin for download), keeps track of your stats and metrics, allows you to run your campaign straight form your own site with the plugin, hooks up with PayPal and WePay.
Cons: HEFTY fees – 5% from every payment goes straight to them. That’s on top of the PayPal and WePay fees already. This is really the only con, but it’s big enough to stop me from using it.
My Thoughts: That 5% fee is probably one of the biggest I’ve seen in online fundraising – but they’ve got so many users that it doesn’t surprise me. Still, I’d think twice before using this site, even if their metrics ARE an amazing asset to any campaign.



For: Everyone!
What: A nifty WordPress plugin.
Pros: Integrates right into your WordPress, easy to customize, links straight to PayPal, no fees, nice simple design, easy to use.
Cons: Not sure of any – it doesn’t have an exterior page unless you make one yourself. And since it’s a WordPress plugin, you’d have to update it yourself & make sure it’s compatible with your version of WP. And it’s only for WordPress.
My Thoughts: I like this. Since I’m an avid WordPress user, this one could be pretty nifty and I’ll probably use it in the future.
Where: WordPress Plugins

Mashable also has a great roundup of fundraising tools for official nonprofit organizations so be sure to check that out as well.

I’m sure there are more alternatives out there for animal rescue folks, but these are just a few I’ve run across in the last few days. I would love to hear if you have experience with any of these and any others you’d like to share! I hope this helps as we scramble to find a replacement for ChipIn. Good luck!

Product Review: Walk In Sync

While attending BlogPaws for the first time a few months ago I was lucky enough to meet Alecia Evans, the creator of the Walk In Sync Humane Dog Walking and Training System. The system works amazingly well on even very hyper or distracted dogs, and the best part is that you don’t have to worry about your pup choking and gagging from pulling on a collar.

The Walk In Sync system includes a harness and leash, though I think the harness is the most ingenious part of the design. I work at a doggie daycare/boarding facility and have to deal with all kinds of harnesses that people bring in for their dogs. Many of the harnesses are so complicated and strangely built that I end up putting them on completely wrong. Thankfully, with the Walk in Sync harness, that’s not a problem at all. You slip the main part over your dog’s head like a necklace, then reach down and pull the other two straps up to the clip on the back. There’s even red color-coding on the clip to show you which way it faces. The leash attaches to the harness on the dog’s chest, rather than on his back. Describing it in writing doesn’t do the simplicity of the system justice; I encourage you to check out some of the demonstration videos on the Walk In Sync website. They’re very easy to understand and follow.

As you can tell, I really like the design of the harness, but how does it perform? I used it on my dog Azu at the beginning of a hike, when she’s generally at her most energetic. I apologize for the glare and road noise in this video, but I think it gets the idea across:

The videos on the Walk In Sync site do a much better job of describing the simple training method, but basically you walk forward until the dog puts tension on the leash. At that point you stop, and usually the slight sideways pressure from the harness will make the dog take a step back or toward you to put some slack in the leash. Once the dog does that, you praise him and continue, repeating the process as needed. As you can see from my video with Azu, she was so distracted that she needed some nudging the first couple times we stopped to get her to step back. I was amazed at how quickly she caught on to what I wanted her to do, though. After just a few stops she was automatically adjusting her speed to match mine, without straining toward the bushes to sniff things.

After watching some of the videos on the Walk In Sync site and getting to try it out on my own dog, I highly recommend the Walk In Sync Humane Dog Walking and Training System. If you give it a shot please let me know in the comments!

You can find Walk In Sync on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube as well.

The final bit of information I’d like to share is that September 27th is Train Humane Day. Train Humane’s mission is to:

…make the world more humane for dogs through the use of humane training tools and education.

Raise the bar on the tools we use to train all dogs and puppies to ensure that they are humane, safe, respectful and cause as little stress as possible without choking.

I think it’s a great sentiment. Mark 9/27/12 on your calendars!


This is the second part to our Pets Add Life posts!

The Furry Side of YouTube

If you’re anything like me (and I suspect, as an animal-lover, you are), you tend to spend way too much time taking videos of your dogs, watching videos of your cats, and enjoying tons of videos of other people’s furkids. It’s become an integral part of our online lives and I, for one, go into withdrawal without my daily dose of cute and fuzzy videos! But the videos from the PAL take it even one step further by adding a great message on top of cute and funny! A big part of PAL campaign revolves around the idea that it’s best to have more than one pet so they can keep each other company while you’re away at work. Doesn’t sound like a funny subject, does it? Well then you haven’t seen the videos yet! We’ve kept you waiting for them long enough so here they are!

The Pets Add Life Pledge!

So now that you’re all geared up to go out and get your best little buddy a little buddy of their own, let’s go ahead and proudly declare that you’ll be adopting that next pet! Take the Pets Add Life Pet Pledge! It doesn’t matter if it’s from a local shelter, a breed specific rescue, or a stray you find on the street, just make sure that it’s an animal in need of a forever home! Adopt, Don’t Shop!

Want to help animals in need but your house is already filled to the roof with rescues (*cough*ours*cough*)? No problem! You can also take a pledge to volunteer at a shelter (or rescue) or you can pledge to share a photo of a homeless pet to help it find its forever home! Or you can pledge all three! I know most of you plan on doing these things already so really, it’s a no-brainer! Add your name to the pledge and give your voice to the voiceless! Then get your friend, your neighbor, that guy at the grocery store to take the pledge too! Together, we can save a whole lot of animals!

This post is sponsored by the Pets Add Life campaign and the American Pet Products Association. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about the benefits and joys of pet ownership. We wanted to join the campaign because the message is right up our alley.

Pets Add Life (And Love! And Fur!)

Could you imagine your life without your pets? I know I couldn’t! Not only would it be lonely, but it would be so vastly different that it’s pretty incomprehensible. I mean, I can’t even go a three day BlogPaws Conference without missing my furkids terribly and resorting to clinging to those present to ease my withdrawal symptoms! My kids make me smile every single day. They are always up to something, always being cute, always causing trouble. They keep us on our toes. They exhaust us. The drive us to the brink of insanity. They make our home and our lives complete. Put simply, Pets Add Life.

Pets Add Life

And that’s exactly the message behind the Pets Add Life (PAL) campaign. They, like us, are very straightforward about their mission. We love rescue animals and want people to know how awesome they are and they want everyone to know the joys that animals bring to your life! In their own words, the “Pets Add Life campaign is designed to demonstrate the joys and benefits of pet ownership, thus driving increased adoption of pets and responsible ownership of pets.” Is that not perfect for ILRA? Not only are we about rescuing animals in need but we also promote animal welfare and offer tips on how to better care for your four legged (or winged or finned or legless, you get the idea) children! They also encourage people to consider having multiple pets so that your animal companions are never lonely. You know what kind of menagerie we have, right? With 3 dogs, 6 cats and 4 rats, we definitely have a multi-pet household. And that’s not including our feral cat, 3 cat fosters and pit bull foster! Our home may be a little chaotic at times, but we wouldn’t change it for the world! Obviously, we jumped at the chance to help promote this campaign because it just fits so well with what we’re all about!

In their efforts to spread their mission, PAL utilizes a blog, a Facebook page, and a twitter account so to follow along with the fun, be sure to like, follow, and comment! They also make really funny YouTube videos, from the point of view of pets. I’d link to one but then, well, it’s more fun to make you wait in anticipation! Of course you can always go look them up (they’re right on the website) but I promise you that we will be posting about them soon.

What Now? Action!

So what can you do until then? Check out all the fun conversations on the PAL social media accounts! Get the conversation going with you, your friends, your followers. How do pets add to your life? Do you have a multi-pet household? What made you want to have more than one pet? Do you think it’s beneficial?

The last thing you should do? Go hug your kids, of course! Unless they’re a fish… ’cause then you might not want to. 😉

This post is sponsored by the Pets Add Life campaign and the American Pet Products Association. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about the benefits and joys of pet ownership. We wanted to join the campaign because the message is right up our alley.

Write a Post, Help a Dog! Again! In 3D!

That’s right! It’s that time of the year again. I Love Rescue Animals, along with several other bloggers, have come together with the Pedigree Foundation to promote the Write a Post, Help a Dog! campaign. No, it’s not really in 3D, but it could be! Do you have a dog at your feet? Give him a big hug – there’s your happy, tail-wagging 3D element. If only all 3D came with fur.

Write a Post, Help a Dog!

In the past two years through the “Write a Post, Help a Dog” initiative at BlogPaws, Pedigree and
bloggers have united to generate nearly 650 blog posts to raise awareness about commitment to
adoption and encourage everyone to help feed shelter dogs in their local communities. It’s been quite the inspiration for all involved.

What does it mean to support this campaign? It means that more dogs living in shelters in need will receive more food. More food for the shelters means that they can take more funding that would have gone to feeding and use that to help build more kennels, supply better vet care, and put more effort into marketing their animals. So I hear you ask, “Well what can I do?”

How You Can Help

That’s easy. Write a post! Share your shelter story, tell the world “Adopt! Don’t shop!” and urge your readers to help you raise awareness. It’s that easy. For each post written for the “Write a Post, Help a Dog” campaign, the Pedigree Foundation will donate 20 pounds of their new dry Pedigree food for dogs to shelters. Last year, each participating blog generated one 20 pound food donation to shelters affected by Hurricane Irene for a total of 2,980 pounds of Pedigree Dry Dog Food. How awesome is that?

Just a Few Steps

01. Read this post. Good job.
02. Write your own post about “Write a Post, Help a Dog” and what the Pedigree Foundation is doing to help. This needs to be done by MIDNIGHT EST, SATURDAY JUNE 30TH!
03. Link it to the BlogHop Linky at the bottom of this post.

You can also post this little badge on your blog to let everyone know all the good you’re doing!

Other Ways to Help

If you want to help in other ways, Pedigree is encouraging consumers to donate online at The Pedigree Foundation or you can purchase some cool Dogs Rule Gear here, where the proceeds go to the Foundation. Likewise, shelters can apply for grants from the Pedigree Foundation by completing a form at The Pedigree Foundation website.

When you’ve written your post, don’t forget to link it to the linky below. The puppies thank you!