National No-Kill Animal Rescue Enlists New Generation to "Save Them All"

Best Friends Animal Society (BFAS) was an early adopter of GoodUnited’s Facebook Birthday Fundraisers. Impressed by the uptick in revenue and ability to thank every single fundraiser, Best Friends decided to partner with GoodUnited to develop a new fundraising channel: Facebook Challenges.

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Average Donation
Net New Supporters
Increased Average Donation Size

Best Friends Animal Society

Best Friends Animal Society

BFAS was founded in 1984 because 950 dogs and cats are killed in shelters in the US every day. Best Friends’ mission is to achieve nationwide “no-kill status” by 2025. Of the 4.3 million animals entering shelters in 2020, 3.5 million animal lives were saved. Although Best Friends has made extraordinary strides, the deadline is approaching fast, and because the pandemic disrupted in-person fundraising events, reaching the target has become more challenging.

BFAS’s primary in-person fundraising event, Strut Your Mutt, raised $2.7 million in 2019 to advance the no-kill mission. In 2020, as a virtual-only event, Strut Your Mutt raised $1.6 million. The work that GoodUnited did on behalf of BFAS helped to make up that shortfall.

Best Friends already has strong brand awareness in the non-profit community, having won Harris Poll EquiTrend Animal Welfare Nonprofit Brand of the Year award two years in a row and six times in the last ten years.

What we really wanted to do with the Facebook challenges was to expand our audience into net new fundraisers.

Best Friends Animal Society Team


Building a Community of Younger Supporters

In addition to raising funds, BFAS wanted to use online peer-to-peer (P2P) fundraising to grow recognition for the BFAS brand, develop its audience — especially among younger folks — and strengthen its community. Best Friends partnered with GoodUnited to make this happen.

This year, GoodUnited proposed to collaborate with Best Friends on a Facebook 30-Mile Challenge. The overall low cost of a virtual event and the projected earnings potential led Best Friends to take the risk.

If there is community, people are more likely to return, and we're going to retain donors, constituents, and participants in future events because they feel connected and tied to something beyond themselves.

Best Friends Animal Society Team


“How Our Pets Have Saved Us” Provides a Powerful Reason to Connect

From both a fundraising and engagement standpoint, the results spoke for themselves. As a frst-time event, the 30-Mile Challenge raised $100,000 in 2020. That’s a nearly 400% return on investment, making this new complementary fundraising channel a strong and increasingly consistent revenue stream for Best Friends.

The fundraising opportunity also helped Best Friends gather new supporters. Over 85% of the email addresses were net new to the organization. Best Friends was then able to retarget the new donors to get them to participate and be part of future fundraising efforts.

The Team’s Time is its Most Important (and Most Scarce) Resource

GoodUnited took care of everything: segmenting audiences, running the ads that attracted supporters, creating copy, moderating and promoting group engagement, generating reports, etc. This allowed Best Friends staff to ensure that other fundraising efforts were optimized and to recoup revenue lost because of COVID.

The partnership with GoodUnited allowed Best Friends to discover a promising, new, and evergreen fundraising channel that complements their existing efforts, including in-person events.The added revenue will bring Best Friends that much closer to their 2025 “no-kill” mission. And, the genuine, vulnerable, and uplifting community built on Facebook will continue to strengthen Best Friends’ brand among animal lovers across the country while cultivating a new generation of supporters.

The community base we were able to build was something above and beyond what we had for Strut your Mutt. The discussion in groups was less about the event itself and more about affinity for the mission and the vision of the organization.

Best Friends Animal Society Team