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

paypal-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

YouCaring

youcaring

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.
Where: YouCaring.com

Original Fundraising Widget

originalfundraising

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

GoFundMe

gofundme

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.
Where: GoFundMe.com

Olimometer

olimometer

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!

Pet Blogger Challenge

I always seem to miss these things, but thanks to Yvonne over at Scratchings and Sniffings, I caught this one! Thanks to Amy of GoPetFriendly and Edie of Will My Dog Hate Me? for hosting this Pet Blogger Challenge! Want to know more a little about us? Keep reading!

Pet Blogger Challenge

Pet Blogger Challenge

1. When did you begin your blog?
This blog and website began on April 11, 2009. It was an outgrowth of our Facebook group and twitter account, @RescueAnimals.

2. What was your original purpose for starting a blog?
We began our site to continue expanding on the work we’d started with @RescueAnimals. The original idea was for it to be a site that was as simple as our Rescue of the Week series – just having stories to celebrate what amazing pets rescued animals are.

3. Is your current purpose the same?
Obviously, it’s grown a lot from the above idea, but the mission is still the same. We advocate for the welfare of rescued animals everywhere and we celebrate the happy stories that come from a lonely pets finding their forever homes. We also support shelters, rescues, and animal welfare organizations through featured posts and try to raise awareness about how people can get involved and help animals.

4. Do you blog on a schedule or as the spirit moves you?
It’s pretty much tied between the two. Our Rescue of the Week series is scheduled for Mondays and our Shelter Sketches series is scheduled for Saturdays. This year will be a little different from previous years though because we now have 365 Days of Animal Advocacy that will be posting every single day this year. Of course, we will continue to post other articles when the spirit moves us.

5. Are you generating income from your blog?
Not really. We do sell ad space from time to time but it’s pretty much so passive that it doesn’t really exist at the moment. Hopefully in the near future we will be setting up a shop on our website where folks can buy t-shirts, postcards, artwork, etc. Look for that soon!

6. What do you like most about blogging in general and your blog in particular?
Blogging is an excellent way to share a message with the public and I love the outlet it gives us to talk about our own experiences with rescuing and adopting. We’ve actually seen what we do make a difference in the lives of animals and that is by far our favorite thing about blogging.

7. What do you like least?
When you do it every day and you’re trying to gain an audience, the demands are hard. Especially since we both have jobs and we usually don’t get time to blog until late at night (hence all the late-night posts).

8. How do you see your blog changing or growing in 2011?
Well for one we will actually be posting every single day for our 365 Days of Animal Advocacy and this is going to be a very strict schedule. I can definitely see this project growing our blog a lot in the next year. Chelsea’s Shelter Sketches have grown as well and I’m sure that it will continue to get bigger as the year goes on.

Other Pet Blogger Challenges!

It’s a new I Love Rescue Animals!

The New ILRA!

That’s right folks, the new website that’s been in the works for months is finally here! I Love Rescue Animals is now sporting a brand new design, some new content, and a more organized framework! As you can see, our homepage has become a bit more dynamic, and with our fancy-shmancy rotating jQuery feature box, every page will hold your attention.

New Key Features!

  • New Rotating jQuery Featured box
  • Dynamic homepage with a feed of recent blog posts
  • An organized contact page for easier access to us
  • Better organized navigation structure with dropdown boxes
  • Addition of Chelsea Conlin, our Shelter Sketches Coordinator on our about page

Please tell us what you think of the new look and if you run into any problems. We will be showing off the new I Love Rescue Animals at the second BlogPaws conference this weekend and we’re stoked to find out what people think. Will you be there? Come find us! We can’t wait to meet new friends.

ILRA Interviewed on PawScoop

Hey everyone, there is a fabulous interview with me and Ashley up over at PawScoop.com! It’s part of a series of interviews that Ross conducted with all the nominees for the DogTime Petties Awards (have you voted for us yet?). Take a moment and read about why we started this site, what continues to inspire us, and what we’ve learned along the way. Great interview and thank you to Ross for the awesome questions. Check out the interview over here and tell us what you think!

Don’t forget, vote for iloverescueanimals.org for Best Cause Related Blog!

ILRA Nominated for the Petties!

You may remember this post we wrote up earlier about asking people to nominate us for DogTime’s Petties Awards. Well we asked and you came forth and did it! I Love Rescue Animals is now one of the four finalists for Best Cause Related Blog! Thank you so much to everyone who entered our names. Just making it to the final four has blown us away. You are all amazing.

Vote Again!

But it’s not over! Now that we’re in the final four, how about trying to get us to #1? I know we here at ILRA would be absolutely estatic if we managed to take the top spot, and we feel that with your support, we have a good chance.

Vote For ILRA!

So please take a moment to vote for iloverescueanimals.org in the “Best Cause Related Blog category. If you support what we do and what we stand for, this is a great way to show how much you appreciate it. With a few clicks, you have helped us take one step forward to getting our message to a bigger audience.

Thank you so much for getting us this far! Feel free to share this with friends and family. We could use all the support we can get it. 🙂