PetRescue's 'Desexmas' - where did the campaign funds go?

September 10, 2018

In December of last year, PetRescue ran a Christmas fundraising campaign called ‘Desexmas’

"Simply make a donation to our “Happy Desexmas” fundraiser and your kind gift will help rescue pets get the vital vet work they need to start a new life ­including desexing!" (ref)

Holiday adopters being told that a donation to PetRescue is the same as a donation to rescue groups.

The campaigned featured cute images of pets in cones, clearly having just had surgery. It claimed a gift to the campaign would be helping “grassroots community rescue groups”. But the campaign also includes this fine print:

"Christmas 2017 donations will go to funding the development of the new directed donation system and launch is planned for spring 2018. (ref)

So rather than donations to this campaign being for desexing, these funds were being directed into PetRescue’s web development and staffing costs. Their pitch video described how much money they needed;

"... there's a heap of development work to do, to make sure we build a secure and effective donation platform."

The organisation was seeking up to $100,000 to build a new platform for donations, and none of the money was going towards desexing pets (despite the graphics indicating otherwise).

When rescue groups expressed their dismay at the fundraiser, PetRescue was quick to defend the solicitation and blame haters and "Christmas grinches" for the negative feedback.

"There’s hundreds of hours of planning and web development to do behind the scenes to make it all work effectively and securely. We know that if we engaged external resources, the development work is likely to cost well in excess of $50,000, but we’ll be doing the vast majority of development work in house to keep costs to a minimum. And, as announced in our previous email, we aim to have this direct donation functionality live on the PetRescue website by Spring 2018.

So be sure to look out for any Christmas grinches this time of year, and if you ever have any concerns or questions always feel free to get in touch... "

~ A Christmas grinch is trying to stir up trouble (e-newsletter 12/15/2017)

The campaign would raise just shy of $50,000...

... meaning we didn't have to see a "tasteful" video of JB (John Bishop) dunking his testicles in ice water. And the newly financially employed brother of PetRescue's Director (Michael Bishop) would be sent to pitch the new platform to rescue groups;

"..... Hi, it’s PetRescue CFO Michael Bishop and my adopted sidekick, Chief Furry Officer Milo, here! Soon, PetRescue members will have a way to really make the most of the millions of pet-loving people visiting each year, through direct donation functionality on pet listings..." (ref)

Fast forward six months since the fundraiser and...

.. PetRescue announced their program late last week, making absolutely no mention that $50,000 of the community's desexing money from donors made the platform possible.

PetRescue supports rescue groups to save more lives

To coincide with its 14th birthday, Australia’s most visited charity website - - is helping to increase the funding available to rescue organisations across Australia, so they can save more lives.

The launch of a new ‘Donate’ button on pet listings on the PetRescue website will enable animal lovers to donate directly to help any furry face they fall in love with when they’re browsing the site.

The initiative has been launched in response to PetRescue’s 2017 members survey, which revealed that a lack of funding was the biggest single issue facing hundreds of animal rescue groups across Australia.

“When it became clear to us that funding was the overriding issue for our members, we came up with a first-of-its-kind digital solution for grassroots rescue organisations to generate direct donations from their pet listings,” says PetRescue co-founder, John Bishop.

“And thanks to the team at Shout For Good, who have provided the best secure and mobile-friendly third party payment platform, we're now making it happen.

“As we celebrate our 14th birthday and the massive milestone of over half a million listed pets adopted, the entire PetRescue team is thrilled to be able to support rescue pets in this way,” adds Mr Bishop.

Hangon - what was that again?

“And thanks to the team at Shout For Good, who have provided the best secure and mobile-friendly third party payment platform, we're now making it happen.

A third party payment platform? Just what is Shout For Good and what does it cost?

We are a fundraising platform that integrates giving into our everyday.... Shout provides a suite of online fundraising options to suit both our Shouter and charities.

So this free third party platform was installed on PetRescue via a button. Signups are handled by Shout, donations are processed by Shout, and receipts are issued by Shout.

Exactly how much it cost to build this "button" has not been specified, but it certainly isn't the $100,000 "hundreds of hours of planning and web development" used by PetRescue to justify this campaign.

If it cost even $10,000 - which is a hella lot of money for a button, when whole websites get built for less - that's still $40,000 unaccounted for.

Donors to this campaign should be asking PetRescue exactly how much of their money when towards their stated project and where the other money went.

While PetRescue is asking rescue groups to trust its judgement and hand their financial donors over to them and their new partner, the Shout for Good platform via the ANZ Bank. Which for groups, looks like this. (highlighting mine)

Collection, use and disclosure of information
Providing your information to others

We may provide your information to:
- participants in the payments system (including payment organisations and merchants) and other financial institutions (such as banks);
- an organisation that is in an arrangement with us to jointly offer products and/or has an alliance with us to share information for marketing purposes (and any of its outsourced service providers or agents), to enable them or us to: provide you with products or services; and/or promote a product or service;
- any agent, contractor or service provider we engage to carry out or assist its functions and activities (for example, mailing houses or debt collection agencies);
- any related entity which may use the information to: carry out its functions and activities; promote its own products and services; assess your application for one of its products or services; manage your product or service; perform administrative and operational tasks (including debt recovery); or comply with regulatory requirements and prudential standards;
- an organisation that assists us to identify, prevent or investigate fraud, unlawful activity or misconduct;
- regulatory bodies, government agencies, law enforcement bodies and courts;
- other parties we are authorised or required by law or court/tribunal order to disclose information to;
- other credit providers;
- mortgage insurers and any reinsurer of any such mortgage insurer;
- your guarantors (and intending guarantors) and any person who has provided security for your loan;
- any person who introduces you to us;
- your referee(s);
- your employer;
- your joint borrower(s) or account holder(s); and
- your adviser; your authorised agents; your executor, administrator or trustee in bankruptcy; your legal representative; your attorney; or anyone acting for you in connection with your account.

Lots of data being collected from your donors for uses you'll have no control over; so while the platform is "free", it's not without cost.

See also;

This isn’t the first time that PetRescue has redirected the community’s funds away from animal care, in this way.

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