Owning a pet is not an inexpensive proposition, and when unexpected veterinary costs or serious illness crop up, financial considerations can lead to heart wrenching decisions. In times like these, many people are turning to social media and crowd funding sources like IndieGogo and GoFundMe to help meet the financial responsibilities of their pet’s medical needs.
Generally, these sites work by allowing you to create a campaign or cause for just about anything and accept donations on your behalf. The funding site charges you a fee somewhere around 4% to 9% of the money collected, plus the processing fees they incur form the financial institutions collecting and disbursing funds to the campaign creators.
While these are great resources for many people to get their pets the medical care they need, there has always been a tiny specter of less than honest motives, especially when donating to people not actually known to those donating money.
A new startup called PetChance.org thinks they may have found a way alleviate this concern. For starters, they only allow fundraising for pet related healthcare. They restrict their fundraisers to pet owners whose state-licensed veterinarian provides a treatment plan/proposal for a specific pet. According to Peter Alberti, Founder of PetChance.org, all information is then verified by Pet Chance before a funding campaign (chance) is even allowed to start. Additionally, instead of paying the fundraisers directly, the money is paid to the veterinary facility.
In my conversation with Peter, he was very keen on the differences between raising money for business ventures and medical treatment saying:
“Medical treatment is different than say making a movie or a record or, you know, doing a project like the other crowd funding sites support. Medical treatment is four hundred bucks of diagnostics for some blood work and x-rays and after that we’ll decide if it’s going to be $1,200 surgery or a $2,200 medical treatment. So there’s no standard of ‘this is what it’s going to cost and this is what we’re going to need to raise.’ So our system is very flexible with how it works with the providers, they can bill against what’s been done as it gets done and we can keep in touch with the pet owner and raise more or less as needed.”
Like other crowd funding sources, PetChance.org is a for profit company that charges a flat 6.5% of the total money raised, 3.5% of which goes to credit card processing charges. The .org part of Pet Chance’s domain name did cause me to raise an eyebrow, but as they explain in their FAQs
Pet Chance is a commercial for-profit business. The reason we chose a “.org” domain suffix is that the “.com” was not available and we didn’t really want to use punctuation in the name. We registered ‘pet-chance.com’, but that seems clumsy. We live by a key value of honesty and respect, so hopefully you don’t feel like we tried to be tricky. If you do – let us know. We’re always open to suggestions!
As a pet lover I wish that a service like this is never needed by any pet owner, but I know different.
To find out more about Pet Chance and how they work, you can visit their website at PetChance.org.