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Humane Society Conquers Charity Contest

May 05, 2016 01:57PM ● Published by Bryan Scott

By Travis Barton | travis@mycityjournals.com

Murray - Winning a $10,000 grant is good. Winning said grant as a result of raising $44,155 in one day is even better. 

On March 31, the Humane Society of Utah (HSU), located just off the freeway in Murray, won the fourth annual Love UT Give UT online giving campaign by raising $30,155 from 863 donors over the course of the day. 

“It’s gratifying, very very gratifying” Jamie Usry, director of development, said. 

Adding to the money raised from donors was the $10,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Utah, who organizes the event, $11,000 from matching donations and $3,000 from Mountain America Credit Union for winning their Likes on Facebook campaign. 

In 24 hours, HSU made $54,155. 

“It’s a great event — I hope it never ends,” Usry said. 

“The Humane Society, year in and year out, does a fantastic job with this,” Tony Mastracci, program director of the Community Foundation of Utah, said. 

Usry’s team did a lot of the work to fundraise for the event, including finding former donors or companies willing to make the matching donations. 

Usry said social media was an instrumental tool in their achievement. 

“In an event like this that’s how you win I believe, because it goes viral and you get all those people watching it and sharing it,” Usry said. 

Mastracci said HSU really understands how to use the platforms to their advantage with their photos and the stories associated with them. 

“Being able to talk about the animals they save, the ones they want adopted, it’s just so natural for social media,” Mastracci said. 

Mastracci said he would love to see all organizations be as successful with their social media platforms as HSU is. 

“One of the things we’d like to do is use organizations like the Humane Society to train other organizations about how they can use the platform as effectively as possible,” Mastracci said. 

A planning meeting was held two months in advance to prepare their marketing timeline for the big day down to the day and minute. 

Usry said it wasn’t just their social media advertising or the billboards on I-15 that inspired people to contribute, but the stories behind the animals as well. HSU primarily used the story of Willow and Fern, who were diagnosed with demodex mange, placed in foster care for five months with constant medications and were recently adopted. 

“It’s something that really tugs at the heartstrings,” Usry said. 

Usry said that having your cause be cute animals sure helps inspire action. 

Tentative plans for how to use the winning money are underway as HSU, which was recently renovated to save more pets, and needs a new transport vehicle to bring in more animals from other foundations and rescue teams. 

“Over 3,000 of the lives we save a year comes from other shelters where they would be euthanized,” Usry said.  

As one of the largest animal shelters in the state, HSU saved 11,318 animals in 2015 and achieved no-kill status for cats, having already had no-kill status for dogs for five years. No-kill status is attained by reaching a save rate of 90 percent. 

“The community thinks we’re doing something right and we’re saving a record number of lives every year in the process, so it’s just a win-win — how could you be any happier about what we’re doing?” Usry said. 

Usry said the donations and volunteer time are not only essential for the nonprofit organization to operate but for the animals’ lives as well. 

“Without us being here to function, that is thousands of animals a year that would have nowhere to go,” Usry said. “They’re [donors] giving us their love, it’s overwhelming.”

The shelter is open for any animal it can legally accept. Besides cats and dogs, HSU carries bunnies, rats, mice, gerbils, hamsters, guinea pigs, ferrets, and facilitate the movement of birds and reptiles to a rescue group in their network.  

Usry said every employee of every department carries a strong affection for these animals, which made winning the grant for these animals all the more special. 

“Every one of us works here because we love animals, we truly, truly love them so when we see the community support us in this way, its like we’re doing something right obviously,” Usry said.

To continue donating or to find out more information on HSU, go to utahhumane.org.  

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