With the school year up and running, the stress of getting the kids back to school begins to dissipate. Books have been bought, lunches have been packed, and you may have even gotten used to the 6 a.m. alarm (hey, we said maybe!). Now that the summer is long gone, PTA efforts are in full swing. It’s time to focus on the fun stuff, like planning for a PTA fundraising event! We’ve put together the three best ways to organize your fall fundraiser. Learning your 1, 2, 3’s has never been so easy.
1. PTA member with a plan: plan ahead
Organization is your golden ticket to running an event smoothly, and you not pulling your hair out. Create a checklist with basic items (budget, timeline, materials, etc.). Your fellow PTA members will look to your leadership to steer the planning process and keep them in the loop of what their roles are. Using online surveys to gather feedback, consolidate detailed information that’s pertinent to your event, and ask for volunteer signups can help cut down time on the back-and-forth correspondence between you and your members.
2. Keep it inviting: send event invites
The sooner you get the word out about your event the more likely it is you’ll see a high turnout. We suggest sending invitations six to eight weeks before the event so attendees can mark their calendars. Our event module allows you to create an event page and send invitations. (You can even add your own PTA logos and images!) We recommend using our Smart List feature when sending events. Smart Lists let you generate email lists for a specific set of people based on the information they’ve submitted. For example, if you sent out an invite to get RSVPs, your next email can target those who replied “yes.” Once you’ve sent the invitations, you can use our event module to post updates and answer any questions guests have. Increasing your engagement efforts beforehand is a great way to build anticipation so everyone is as excited about the event as you are!
3. Sharing is caring
Social media is one of the best marketing tools around, and best of all, it's free! After you've created your event page, use the social sharing icons available to share your event directly from the platform. Ask your PTA members to share on their social pages as well. Each member has a vast and varied network that will increase awareness of the event, and likely boost attendance. The more people share, the more free publicity you get for your event, and your PTA efforts. Along with social media, make sure to ramp up your marketing efforts and spread the word via email flyers, posting information around your community, and publishing announcements on your school or group's website.
Remember to make a plan, send your invites, and spread the word. Most importantly, have fun. The hallmark of a successful event is being able to enjoy yourself alongside your guests.
Our event functionality, donation and email campaign features, and online payment options make it easy to plan for your entire year. So, what are you waiting for? Happy planning!
Effective PTA leaders have many duties. They have endless parenting obligations, and must commit to becoming a resource to other parents in the community. PTA leaders focus on fundraising because they firmly believe their altruism will help not just their children, but all the children of that school community. As a PTA leader, you might find it challenging to balance these responsibilities. Take the time to understand the online tools at your disposal, and you’ll reap many exciting and lucrative benefits.
Social media reaches more people
The number of social media users is growing exponentially. According to TrackMaven, by 2018, the population of social media users is projected to reach 2.44 billion, or 33 percent of the world population.
It makes perfect sense for PTA leaders to consider how using social media can boost fundraising by targeting specific audiences. For example, the 2016 Global NGO Online Technology Report claims that millennials prefer to give online and they are most often inspired to give by social media. Utilize and mobilize your social media presence to spread the word about fundraising events.
Mobile and online payments simplify the process
A philanthropy study conducted by Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis projected the vast majority of giving would come from individuals and households, contributing 71% of total giving in 2017. And giving to support education at all levels is projected to rise 6.3 percent in 2017. No matter how much these number grow, it won’t benefit your PTA unless you have an easy and convenient way to collect payments and donations.
Offering online and/or mobile payment and donation options do more than just help you broaden your reach. They remove the need for donors to have cash and checks on hand. Accepting online payments leverages today’s tech with potential donors: where it’s only a few clicks from decision to completion of payment. That’s why online donation campaigns see more overall dollars collected. It’s not just easy, it’s a familiar process that donors feel innately comfortable with. According to a Cone Communications study, 48 percent of American adults are likely to use an app to make a donation. What are you waiting for? You can broaden your reach (and increase your donations) by using mobile and online payment methods.
Photos improve engagement
Email drives donations
Email is a powerful tool for driving PTA social media presence and donations. Just ask the people behind the M&R Benchmarks Study who found that for every 1,000 fundraising emails delivered, a nonprofit organization raises $44. When you make emails engaging and fun, you might even pick up some email subscribers.
Keeping your email contacts organized in an online platform makes it seamless to communicate with your whole audience and track their responses. You can test and target your messages to specific recipients, and optimize your fundraising efforts to meet your goals every time.
Beyond emails, organizing your contacts on the platform into customized distribution lists drives engagement in a specific way most suited to your needs. Set them up to send thank-you messages anytime someone donates, or send donation campaign details to any new contacts. Your options aren’t limitless, they’re better: They’re specifics built exactly for you and your group.
By making the most of online tools such as social media, electronic payment options, photo sharing, and email, you can be more successful in your fundraising efforts. These online tools offer PTA units an edge that will make managing fundraising events more effective, and better yet, more engaging.
Learn more about fundraising.
For most PTA members, the annual back-to-school fundraiser isn’t a walk on the beach. Whether you’re campaigning for back-to-school season, the next holiday around the corner, or the book drive, coordinating time and resources to stay atop the minds of your supporters shouldn’t take over your life (or the lives of your volunteers). Since you’ve teamed up with memberplanet, offering your donors electronic payment options is super easy to do on the platform. Here are some other tips to save time so you can pass on the frustration and double up on the fun.
1. Don’t start from scratch – use a template
With each new year and transition in PTA leaders, the history (excel sheets) from previous fundraisers can get lost in the shift. Also learning a new position takes time. We’re here to make it easy. Since PTA fundraisers are often annual, you can save time by managing your event online. We even offer Donation Site templates. These pre-populated templates will help you set up your donation campaign. Our campaign feature also has the ability to save donation campaigns for future use, so the next event will practically take care of itself. By building upon past successes and the work that was already done, you will take the headache out of organizing the campaign, and have more time to focus on member engagement.
2. Take advantage of the gift of gab: social media
Planning your fundraiser is only half the battle – you must promote it too! The good news is that promoting your event doesn’t have to be stressful. Use your campaign URL in as many places as you can, including your website, email, and social media. Through social media, you can get people talking about your event with just a few clicks. Picture word-of-mouth sharing – but amplified! Our Donation Sites were designed to be shared on your PTA social media channels. Ask your PTA members to share the event too. Everyone has a unique circle of friends, so the more people who share, the broader your reach gets. More awareness for your campaign and way less time spent making promotion calls or passing out flyers! We like to call that a win-win.
3. Cut out the stress: set and forget
Engaging with your members and donors is the bread and butter of being a successful PTA leader. But there are only so many hours in a day, and as a leader, there is only so much time you can dedicate to PTA admin tasks. That’s what inspired us to build in automated features in our platform. Writing thank-you cards (the kind that’s sent through snail mail) take forever! To save time, admins can add a thank-you message to the automated confirmation email that is sent once someone donates to your online fundraiser. We highly recommend adding a thank-you message to the confirmation email as well as encouraging donors to spread the word about the campaign. If you’re really feeling like you’re in an automating mood, you can also include the info donors need to file their taxes. PTAs are 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations, and contributions to them are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. You should include the full name of your PTA unit, the EIN number, and your PTA’s location.
Whether you’re a seasoned PTA fundraising pro or just getting started, you can’t go wrong with these three steps – they’re fail proof, and most importantly, they’ll save you time. (So you can engage with your members and make a difference in your community.)
Log in and see for yourself.
The rise of online fundraising into our zeitgeist is unmistakable, from Kickstarter projects that have generated millions for otherwise market-less products to the thousands of people and charities GoFundMe has helped with a variety of needs; the frontier is rampant with raising money online. The question bears asking: if everyone else is reaping online fundraiser rewards, should my PTA unit also? The answer is a resounding, all caps YES.
Time isn’t just a limited resource for leaders, but also for potential donors. They often aren’t carrying cash, or don’t have their checkbook handy. Online fundraising gives donors the ability to pay quickly and securely via credit card. One digital swipe and they’re one their way, while your unit is one cha-ching closer to reaching your goal.
It’s true – handling loads of cash and stacks of checks costs your leaders time. Beyond time, there’s accounting to worry about. Then there’s creating manual receipts, balancing spreadsheets, and all the other organizational work related to tracking donations. That wasted time adds up quickly. Online fundraisers allow leaders to record, track, and manage campaigns in a fraction of the time.
There was a time when printing flyers and designing donation posters was the only means of spreading the word for fundraisers. That’s no longer the case; one of the primary benefits of launching an online fundraising campaign is its potential to go viral. This takes you out of the typical sphere of donors and opens you up to supporters you wouldn’t reach with traditional methods. This can help you reach your monetary goals faster and even surpass them.
Increase PTA funds
The benefits of online fundraising and digital payments starts with the money, which makes sense. Online fundraising increases overall money raised; that’s fact, not opinion. Some studies have shown that percentage to be anywhere from 30-100% more (Visa International). Sure, you’re thinking, that’s a nice bump in funds, but PTAs need every dollar they raise, so how much will we lose in processing fees? Fees can vary, and if your state already has a partnership with memberplanet, those fees are easily offset by the increased donations. For an example of how one school used online fundraising to increase membership funds by 75%, take a look at our case study.
Ready to win at online fundraising? Log in to memberplanet to get started.
Part of leading your PTA is raising the funds necessary to make a difference in your unit. Unfortunately, orchestrating a computer drive to give your school a tech upgrade, a jump-a-thon to save at-risk student programs, or any other type of fundraiser can feel like a full-time undertaking. Lucky for you, memberplanet makes it easy. And if you need proof that launching an online fundraiser really makes a difference, check out how Wittmann Elementary School increased its membership funds by 75 percent. Here’s how to set up a donation campaign on memberplanet, which will get your PTA a couple steps closer to crushing your fundraising goal.
Create a fundraiser for your PTA
1. Hover over Donation Sites on the left navigation sidebar and click Create Donation Site in the submenu
2. Choose to raise funds for your own group on memberplanet
3. Select one of the following choices:
4. Finish creating a campaign by filling in the required information: Campaign Title, Category, Why Are You Fundraising?, Campaign Goal, End Date, and Default Donation.
5. Click Save & Continue
Customize the look of your donation campaign
These next steps allow PTA admins to customize their Donation Sites. Use a memorable custom URL, choose specific colors, and upload a banner -- key identifiers for brand recognition and consistency. You can also upload a photo album that you’ve created on the platform; images are a great way to strengthen the connection between your cause and your donors. For example, including pictures of who will benefit from the funds raised or showing how the funds will be put to use is an effective way to convey your donors’ impact. You can go all out in customizing your fundraiser, or you can breeze through this section and hit Save & Publish Now.
To customize, hover over any of the page sections and click the Edit icon that appears on the top right of the section.
You can always come back and make changes to this page if you decide to navigate away from it.
Get the word out
As soon as you publish your Donation Site, your campaign page link will be provided, and you can share your campaign to social media directly from the platform, mobile app, or the page itself. We recommend sharing your fundraiser on as many channels as possible – through email, your website, text message and more.
Use our built-in URL shortener if you’re on a character limit, or customize the full URL.
To customize the URL or get the short URL, click on the campaign you want to manage. Select the Copy or Customize the Campaign Page URL feature.
Click Customize or Copy to Clipboard for the URL you desire.
Mobilize your PTA supporters – create Supporter Pages
What’s a Supporter Page, you ask? It’s an individual’s fundraising page created in support of your PTA’s donation campaign. Supporter Pages are more effective in helping you reach your fundraising goal for these reasons:
Here’s how your PTA members (or anyone, really) can create a Supporter Page:
1. From your Donation Site, click Support this Campaign
2. Users will be prompted to log in to memberplanet or create an account if they don’t have one
3. After logging in or creating an account, a new browser window will appear in which supporters can set their own goal and add their own reason why they’re supporting the campaign
4. When finished, click Publish
5. The Supporter Page URL will be provided, and you can share it to social media directly from the platform, mobile app, or the page itself
If you haven’t already, set up a bank account to receive funds. Our platform features were created to help you build a great campaign and maximize PTA donations – without creating a ton of paper work in the process. Follow these steps to set yourself on a clear path to crushing your fundraising goal.
Traditional fundraising methods still have their place. However, as the world shifts towards an increasingly digital landscape, it may be time to re-evaluate your old techniques. Online fundraising offers a myriad of benefits and can help you surpass your fundraising goals. Don’t be put off by the fees — here are five reasons why you should fundraise online.
A Bigger Payoff
You might be concerned about the fees associated with online fundraising and whether they will cut into your net goal. It is important to do the research and see how various sites structure their cost.
Electronic payment methods make raising money faster and easier than ever, because, let’s face it – not everyone carries lots of cash or a checkbook these days. With memberplanet’s mobile app, users can donate directly from their phone at any time and easily set up automatic, recurring payments. By offering the option to collect all payment types both onsite and online, you can access a larger network of donors. This will allow you to raise more money for your cause.
Security and Credibility
One of the main benefits of launching an online fundraising campaign is its potential to go viral. This takes you out of the typical sphere of donors and opens you up to supporters you wouldn’t reach with traditional methods. This can help you reach your monetary goals faster and even surpass them. Look for sites that offer a direct link for social sharing from your donation page to maximize exposure.
Note to memberplanet users: Make use of our built-in URL shortener or share on social media directly from our platform to save time and (when you need it) character space. Online campaigns give you the freedom to create a donation page that reflects your cause. Customizable templates and forms let you streamline the look of your fundraising page. You can add photos, videos and other interactive features to increase interest and support, which translates into larger dollar amounts.
Crowdfunding is on Trend
Crowdfunding has gained momentum over the past few years and is only becoming more popular. It offers easy payment methods for donors, makes tracking donations easier for admins and is easily shareable across social media. It’s an effective and efficient way of framing a fundraising campaign.
memberplanet users: It’s never been easier to set up a donation page. Customizable templates and forms let you streamline the look of your fundraising page or marketing campaign. You can add a live donor ticker to monitor the campaign’s progress, as well as photos, videos and other interactive features to increase interest and support, which translates into larger dollar amounts.
For the vast majority, fundraising for a philanthropic cause isn’t a piece of cake. Whether you’re campaigning for summer, back-to-school season, Giving Tuesday or the next holiday around the corner, coordinating time and resources to stay atop the minds of your supporters shouldn’t take over your life (or the lives of your volunteers). While you have the option to raise funds whichever way you want, we know you’re reading this because you’re looking for the most effective way -- for the least amount of blood, sweat, and tears. So without further ado, we’ve put together a three-step recipe to get the most out of your donation campaign. Because you deserve time to bake your cake and eat it, too.
1. Don’t Start From Scratch
Chances are, you’ve already chosen the charity you want to fundraise for. Perfect. Before you begin building a donation site from scratch, search our platform for the charity you have in mind. We’ve partnered with GuideStar, a powerful search engine, to give you the option to search more than 1.7 million 501(c)(3) charities and raise funds on their behalf. Any individual or group can raise funds to benefit the charity selected through this feature, and the funds will go directly to them – no accounting or transfers required. Donors will automatically receive email receipts, and donations made directly to qualifying 501(c)(3) charities may be tax deductible. (Check with your accountant.)
1. On the left navigation sidebar, hover over Donation Sites
2. In the submenu, select Create Donation Site
3. Select the Find a Cause module
4. Follow the rest of the prompts to create a donation campaign
Once you’ve selected the charity through this feature, you’ll notice that you won’t have to set up your bank account to receive funds.
2. Offer Electronic Payment Methods
We created our platform to be as convenient as possible for you and your donors. Making the most of digital fundraising techniques can help you reach a larger pool of donors, not just the ones who are willing to pay by check or cash. Offering electronic payment methods gives members the option to donate by their preferred payment method, use their phone, and sign up for automatic, recurring donations. Need proof that offering electronic payment methods will boost funds? Read this: 5 Ways Accepting Electronic Payments Benefits Your Group.
By default, recurring donation options are enabled on our donation sites:
To customize, select Manage Recurring Payment Options from the campaign features list. On the Frequency section, click Custom.
3. Say Thank You
One of the really awesome things (there are a lot, but this one is really the cherry on top) about setting up a donation campaign on our platform is that so much is automated – including the thank-you email. Admins don’t have to do anything to set this up. Once someone makes a donation, a thank-you message is included within the automatic payment confirmation email. If you followed Step 1: Don’t start from scratch, this email will include the organization’s EIN (Employer Identification Number) assigned by the IRS. Donors can take this to their accountants for tax reporting purposes.
Even though admins don’t need to do a thing to say thank you, we highly recommend customizing the email to encourage donors to spread the word about the campaign.
Here’s an example: Thank you so much for your donation. It would help us even further if you could spend just a couple more seconds to help spread the word about our campaign by emailing your friends and family and posting to Facebook/Twitter. (Include the link of your donation site.)
To customize your thank-you message, follow these steps:
4. Click into the body of the email to customize your thank-you message.
Pro Tip: To go the extra mile, create a separate thank-you email and use Smart Lists to target your messages to specific recipients. Here’s how:
4. Select the Donation Campaign associated with your thank-you email.
5. Follow the rest of the prompts to complete your email.
Because this is a separate email to specific recipients, it is considered a best practice to tailor your message. Share how a specific donation amount directly impacts the cause. Include a link to a photo album of pictures that convey the success of your campaign. Emphasize how they’ve made a difference. Those are just a couple suggestions. Whatever you include in your email, leave your donors feeling a genuine sense of gratitude from you. This encourages them to participate in upcoming events and fundraisers from your organization.
This final step in your donation campaign is crucial to your campaign’s success. Signing off an email with ‘Thanks’ delivers higher response rates. Think of how sending an email of thanks affects your organization in its entirety.
Whether you’re a seasoned donation campaign manager or just getting started, you can’t go wrong with these three steps – they’re fail proof, and most importantly, they’ll save you time. (So you can bake your cake.) Log in and see for yourself.
Wittmann Elementary School has 570 ethnically-diverse students, and the school is part of the ABC Unified School District in Southern California, which serves more than 20,000 K-12 students.
For years, Wittmann PTA and Education Foundation found it difficult to raise the funds necessary to increase the number of student programs while maintaining 16 enrichment and career pathways for its K-6 students. Wittmann turned to memberplanet, and PTA membership funds increased by 75% between 2014 and 2016. More than 77% of funds in 2016 was raised online, and staff membership has now reached 100%.
The Common Funding Challenges Faced by Schools
Insufficient school funding is unfortunately a sign of the times. A 2016 review by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities revealed that 31 states had lower funding than before the recession of 2008, and total local funding across the nation declined between 2008 and 2014.
Parents, teachers, and administrators have found themselves in the position of having to financially supplement programs that were once included in the curriculum. In a survey of more than 1,000 principals across the nation, the National Association of Elementary Principals found that 94 percent of schools relied on fundraisers to supplement money from district, state, and federal sources.
Wittmann’s Fundraising Struggle
The Wittmann Organized Warriors, or WOW, is responsible for fundraising and supporting the school’s wide range of career and technical enrichment programs, including Music, Video Game Programming, Math Olympiad, Robotics, STEM, Art 4 Kids, Ecology, Performing Arts, and Business Finance.
Three years ago, Wittmann realized there was a problem with WOW’s fundraising efforts. Although the group was raising money, it couldn’t provide enough revenue to maintain existing programs, add programs, and upgrade the technology necessary for the school to remain competitive. Furthermore, volunteers no longer felt comfortable handling cash, nor did they like contacting parents about bounced checks or corrections.
Boosting Parent Engagement and Transparency
When Wittmann’s administrators decided to improve their fundraising efforts, they explored various online options, such as GoFundMe and Kickstarter. These platforms “lacked the parent connection and outreach and publicity needed to properly communicate,” according to Principal Miguel Marco.
The school approached memberplanet about providing a system to meet its needs, and quickly started using the platform’s features. These included newsletter templates, an interactive directory for members, a free group mobile app, Smart Lists to develop targeted distribution, and group text – all to connect with members and bolster engagement.
"We wanted to show our parents the fundraising progress and donation totals," Marco said. "memberplanet offered a graph of total funding for all parents to see. And membership funding reports and the communications features allowed us to target groups of parents who have donated in the past, target funding goals, and do cost analysis for future events."
The platform's easy-to-use member portal also allowed donors to print documents and receipts for tax purposes.
A Closer Look at Wittmann’s Online Results
In 2014, Wittmann had raised $20,395 in membership dues. By the end of 2016, total membership funds had risen to $35,655 – a 75% increase over the span of three years. The $27,535 raised online through memberplanet represented 77.2% of 2016’s total – an impressive leap from 2013’s $550 online membership funds.
Although funds are still coming in via mail and checks, Marco has noticed the effect of increased online giving.
“Not only has the frequency [of donations] increased, but the total dollar amount is higher online compared to offline contributions,” Marco said.
This increase in donations has been earmarked for a number of programs, including the Dance-a-thon, Jump-a-thon, Language Program, and Math Olympiad. Marco attests the use of online event management and donation campaign features were key in broadening fundraising reach.
Furthermore, the memberplanet solution helped Wittmann achieve:
An All-in-one Fundraising and Membership Solution
When Wittmann made the decision to work with memberplanet, the school was approaching a crisis. A lack of financial resources made it increasingly difficult to provide students with the enrichment programs necessary in today’s competitive world.
What began as a means to raise funds and increase parent involvement in the process has had a ripple effect within the school. Not only have programs been saved and upgraded, but fundraising has become more efficient and staff members have been freed up to work with children rather than on administrative and financial tasks.
In all likelihood, school budgets will remain a contentious issue, and enrichment programs are often the first to go when it’s essential to save core programs. In addition, fundraising fatigue and the limited financial resources of families can make raising money difficult.
memberplanet’s streamlined, all-in-one online membership solution makes it convenient for parents to join WOW and donate money, while making it easier for staff and volunteers to manage the process, communicate with members, and solicit funds. Marco remains convinced that the software, coupled with memberplanet’s best-practice approach to member engagement, is critical for future growth and success.
“We were able to boost membership and increase funds enough to save at-risk programs. It’s given us the luxury to focus on adding new ones and upgrade technology resources.”
Principal of Wittmann Elementary School
Contact memberplanet today if you would like to see how your school can put
this powerful platform to work.
The days of cash being king are over. Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last couple decades, you’ve noticed a societal shift toward electronic payments. What does this mean for you and your organization? Ignoring this trend can seriously hurt the future growth of your organization, whether you’re managing a local nonprofit, chapter of a multi-level association, or any other group. Credit card processing fees may seem like a deterrent, especially if your group consists of volunteers, but the benefits are enough to outweigh whatever costs you incur – and we have proof. Check out these five payoffs of accepting electronic payments.
1. Appeal to a Wider Audience
Studies indicate that more than 70% of Americans have at least one credit card. Even more compelling is that 60% of consumers pay with credit cards instead of cash. This means that accepting credit card payments increases your ability to attract potential members or donors who find electronic payments more convenient. You can connect with a larger audience to recruit and build your group, reach more donors for your campaigns, and increase ticket sales for your events.
2. Increase Revenue
Appealing to a wider audience translates into higher revenue. Research shows that people are willing to spend more on their credit cards than when making cash purchases. This has obvious benefits for fundraising campaigns, as it can lead to bigger donations from individuals. The New York Times cites several studies that demonstrate the increase in spending with credit versus cash of at least 5-10%. In one study, graduate students paid nearly double the price for a sporting event ticket when paying with a credit card!
3. Direct Deposit Increases Cash Flow
If you’re paying out of pocket to reserve a venue for your group’s event because members couldn’t pay in advance, that’s a cash flow issue. Accepting electronic payments increases cash flow by limiting the time it takes for money to appear in your account. Instead of waiting for members or donors to mail a check, then depositing the check, and then waiting for it to clear, funds can be deposited directly into your account and processed quickly. This also removes the burden of holding onto large cash sums until you can make a deposit.
4. Build Credibility with Credit Cards
5. Simplify Recurring Payments and Donations
Group members and donors can set up recurring membership payments and donations. memberplanet makes this easy by allowing you to accept electronic payments that will be processed and deposited directly into your designated account. Simplifying the payment process makes it easier to collect membership dues and retain current members, and is beneficial for collecting donations during fundraising season.
Accepting electronic payments simplifies the exchange of money for you and anyone you collect payments from. This is beneficial and convenient for collecting membership fees, receiving donations, and selling event tickets or any other product or service your offer. With an evident shift from cash to credit, it is essential to offer a variety of payment methods in order to retain members, grow your organization, and maximize potential contributors to your group.
Ready to get started? Log in to memberplanet and set up your account to collect electronic payments.
Life can be a bit ruff! This holiday season, we want to spread a bit of cheer (with cute animal pics!). We are collaborating with Pawsitive Friendships for a very special cause -- animal-assisted therapy. The purpose of this type of therapy is for children with special needs to reach their personal therapeutic goals by establishing animal-human friendships.
Founded in 2014, Pawsitive Friendships was the brain child of Tosha Tharp. After her son was diagnosed with autism at the age of 4, she was having trouble getting him to complete his at-home therapy exercises. One day he asked if their dog Zoe could join him on the swing, and she saw a complete change in his behavior. A light went on in her head. Tosha began incorporating Zoe into the other exercises, and the results were amazing. Zoe became trained as a therapy dog and Pawsitive Friendships was formed.
To spread some holiday cheer, we would like to introduce you to a few of the paw-sitively amazing animals who are helping to make an impact on countless children’s lives.
Zoe is the French bulldog who helped inspire Pawsitive Friendships. She puts her best paw forward and breaks the ice with the children. Zoe loves to play with kids and always patiently waits her turn for dog treats.
Clancy’s hobbies include long trots, horsing around, and telling tails of his adventures as a mini horse. Children love to ask him questions like, “Why are you so small?” The kids learn to properly approach him along with how to groom and feed him. For kids with autism, this helps with their self-regulation, self-awareness, social skills, and speech.
For Penelope, every day is a chance to pig out. In her spare time, she likes bakin’ (not with bacon!), and is currently learning to fly. The children love to feed Penelope, brush her hair, and of course give her kisses. She’s a bit of an attention hog. Penelope helps the children with sensory issues, motivation (for kisses!), and social skills.
This may seem a bit farfetched, but Filbert really is a catch. He's a golden Lab mix who plays flyball and is also part of a crisis-response team. Filbert keeps the kids on their toes by always playing ball, running through obstacle courses, and doing tricks. No day is a dog day with this playful pup.
Check out our social media pages each day for a new animal picture, and feel free to send us some of your own adorable animal photos. If you are feeling a bit generous this holiday season, be sure to visit the Pawsitive Friendships donation page. They are gearing up for its second annual “Rev’d Up for Autism Car & Bike Show.” All of the proceeds from the event will go to Pawsitive Friendships.