BIRTH OF A CONCEPT
We at FaithBark Inc. see many people struggling with veterinary bills and medical issues regarding their animals. While there are a few other wonderful organizations that offer financial help, most are geared towards specific breeds or to dogs in rescue only. We decided to create an all breed assistance program to help pay for emergencies that could mean life or death. And because the need is so great, we have also set up a program of individual fundraisers to pay for urgent medical care that is more expensive or is needed over a longer period of time, such as for chemotherapy. As funding will allow we will also help newly rescued dogs that need vetting or to be fixed when the rescue or adopter cannot afford it. We know how quickly things can turn terribly wrong for your dog and we want to be there to help. This is the very reason we have named this program Bandit’s Bandaid. We are honoring a Pembroke Welsh Corgi named Bandit who unexpectedly passed away midway through a routine veterinary surgical procedure.
WHAT IT IS
Lindy Schwartz Emergency Fund – This fund is for emergencies for any breed of dog. The goal has been to raise and then continue to maintain a balance of $10,000 in this fund so that applicants can be approved and have bills paid quickly in an emergency situation. If the amount required for an emergency exceeds the available funds, we will endeavor to raise the balance at that time. That said an applicant may be denied assistance even if they qualify, if funds are not available to help.
Individual Fundraisers – Applicants whose dogs have more costly veterinary needs that are considered very urgent but not immediately life threatening may be offered an individual fundraiser. If approved for assistance, Bandit’s Bandaid will put up a fundraising page with information about the dog’s medical needs, the fundraising goal, and information about the veterinary hospital so that donors will know where their donations will be used. FaithBark will oversee the collection of the funds and will pay for veterinary care, physical therapy and medications directly. The owner of the dog is required to direct the veterinary hospital(s) to add a Bandit’s Bandaid representative to their veterinary account so that all recommended procedures and cost estimates can be reviewed and approved. An owner must also assist with the promotion of their fundraiser by sharing it with family and friends and helping us to respond to questions from potential donors. Additionally in order to assist more dogs, a general limit of $4,000 per fundraiser will be in place unless the Board of Directors determines that a higher amount is necessary for a specific dog.
WHAT PORTION OF DONATED FUNDS GOES TO OVERHEAD, AND WHY?
Bandit’s Bandaid currently has an overhead rate of 8 percent. That means that 92 percent of all dollars donated to our fundraisers go to the dog being helped (or, per the donor, into the emergency fund to help the dogs with the greatest needs). The overhead rate is similar to what private fundraisers like GoFundMe charge as well. But what does that 8 percent provide?
Before any funds are deposited to the FaithBark Inc. (parent organization of Bandit’s Bandaid) PayPal account, 2.9 percent is taken off the top. That is the fee that PayPal charges us and every business account, whether it is a nonprofit or for profit entity.
What remains for FaithBark Inc. is 5.1 percent of the total donation amount. And those funds are used to cover the expenses that enable FaithBark Inc. to run Bandit’s Bandaid. The expenses include: the annual filing fees for the State of Florida; the cost of hiring an accounting firm to audit FaithBark’s income and expenses and file the annual IRS tax documents (Form 990); the cost of maintaining our websites, including the Bandit’s Bandaid site that automatically tracks the income of each of our many fundraisers and also automatically sends out receipts and thank you emails to our donors; plus it pays for a few other non-personnel expenses related to running a nonprofit organization. Not one dime goes to salaries because all of the work done by our board and others who assist FaithBark is done on a voluntary basis.
So what do our clients get by coming to Bandit’s Bandaid, instead of doing their own fundraiser or using another fundraising mechanism? First and foremost, FaithBark is a 501(c)(3) organization which means that all donations are tax deductible. That is often very important to potential donors, particularly ones who donate larger sums. Because we are a nonprofit we can often arrange for special pricing from veterinary practices. Not all veterinarians or specialists are able to offer a discount, but at least a third of those we work with have provided one, The amounts vary from between 10 percent to as much as 40 percent! That can add up to a substantial savings on a costly procedure or surgery.
Bandit’s Bandaid also assists in the writing of the individual fundraisers. We ensure that the story that is shared provides the most information about the client’s needs. And because we review all applications to ensure honesty and accuracy, donors can be confident that the need is truly there.
Once we put up a new fundraiser, we share it on our Facebook pages, our personal pages and in groups where we have permission to post them. That provides a lot of exposure to potentially thousands of supporters. We may contact individual donors who we know are interested in supporting certain types of fundraisers. We can also assist our clients who wish to set up online shops (FaithBark operates the Pawctions online store website) or auction items via various Facebook groups or events.
And finally, the Bandit’s Bandaid team of volunteers provide our clients with assistance and support as they deal with their dog’s medical challenges. We have a team of veterinary advisers that can review a written diagnosis or talk to another veterinarian if needed. We will help clients find a specialist or obtain a second opinion. And we will be there when an owner is confused, stressed or just needs someone to talk to. And we don’t keep banker’s hours. We have spent many a late night talking to a client or an emergency vet.
So yes. Bandit’s Bandaid does have a small overhead fee (one of the lowest of any nonprofit, and yes, EVERY nonprofit has overhead expenses that must be paid for). But what our clients receive in return far exceeds that cost (and we know that most of our clients will heartily agree).
APPROVAL PROCESS & GUIDELINES
People who need help from Bandit’s Bandaid must fill out the Bandit’s Bandaid Fund Approval Form. Your request will be reviewed by one or more members of FaittBark’s Board of Directors and will be approved or denied as quickly as possible, particularly in true emergencies. Note that in addition to applying, if the need it quite urgent, please send a private message through the Bandit’s Bandaid Facebook page. If approved, funds for true emergencies may be dispensed immediately, but only if they are available. FaithBark does not, nor will we ever, expend funds without proper and verified documentation including proof of financial need and veterinary paperwork. In general Bandit’s Bandaid will pay the veterinary facility directly at the time of service. Receipts must be provided for any reimbursements.
Emergency cases always take precedent over non emergencies, no matter the amount of available funds.
- Your dog is attacked & injured by another animal or person.
- Your dog is hit by a car.
- Your dog ate or swallowed something harmful.
- Your dog needs surgery that will significantly improve or save it’s life.
- You are a Non Profit rescue that needs funds/pledges to prevent a dog from being euthanized.
- Your dog already received the veterinary care needed before an application was submitted.
- Your dog passed away and you are asking for help with unpaid bills.
- The veterinary care needed is routine and not of a very urgent or emergency nature.
- You and/or the veterinarian do not currently reside within the USA.
- You have other options besides Bandit’s Bandaid to pay for veterinary care.