Zombi’s gone. Really gone. Communally-cremated-by-mistake gone.
Zombi was the best cat in the world, and she’s gone.
All I have left are some photos, two teeth, two whiskers, some fur, and a large bill.
I was urged, by friends, to start a Gofundme campaign.
So I did.
That was five months ago.
I’ve learned a bit since then. Nothing particularly useful. I can’t help you run a successful campaign and get twice what you asked for. I can really only tell you what I did, and what I learned.
1. I hate doing this.
Perhaps the biggest thing–and not a thing that I precisely learned about myself, more a thing that’s been reinforced by the experience. I hate it. I hate asking for help. I hate needing help. I hate things being so far out of my control that there’s nothing I can do to bring them back into order.
I hate sharing the link, because it reminds me that I am not good enough. I have failed in some fundamental way to plan for every possibility. I have failed.
I hate everything about it. But I do it anyway, because I need to. I shared text updates on Facebook. I shared images with those text updates. Friends shared when I shared. Some of them wrote wonderful things.
2. Sometimes, Facebook refuses to show that you’ve done anything.
Just flat out refuses to acknowledge that you’ve posted that update, and shared it. The update utterly disappears into the ether, never to be seen by you or anyone else.
If it does share, it doesn’t always share the update itself. And the shares from that share get messier still. But, I guess you could always use Twitter, right?
3. Sharing to Twitter gets messy….
Because if you share to Twitter, and your account is linked to Facebook so your tweets show up there, the link doesn’t always show up.
4. I’m not sure sharing to Instagram even counts….
Yeah, okay, I’m not very experienced at Instagram, so I can’t really be sure, but the share there is just odd. I don’t think they give a link, just an image with a gofundme.com overlay. It could be prettier, is all I’m saying.
But at least, if you have a grasp on the tags, you might be able to get it seen by people outside your circle.
And that’s the real trick. Getting it seen outside your circle.
5. If it’s a major expense, your only chance may be to go viral.
My campaign is only for one specific chunk of the expenses, and it only accounted for ‘if I got it paid off before interest kicked in’, because I was ‘lucky’ enough to have CareCredit. CareCredit is like this nice little plastic rectangle of evil–sure, if you can pay it off in six months, you’re fine and dandy, but then all the interest catches up with you, and you’re going to regret ever having needed whatever medical care you had to pay for with it, be it dental, eye, or pet emergency.
I, tragically, had a pet emergency. A major one. One with a negative outcome, which takes away the shiny goodness of ‘Save my kitten, save my world.’ She’s gone, and nothing can change that, so why donate?
…which might be point one feeding into this again, but, really, unless you’re friends with exceptionally wealthy and generous people, if you’re asking for a lot, your only hope is to reach a lot. And to do that, you probably have to pay for it.
Because I’ve tried the free way.
I’ve shared, my friends shared, my family shared. It got me more than I ever expected to get, and I actually made a new friend in the process, but….
Okay, so I joined some Facebook groups specifically for GoFundMe sharing. I shared there. Nothing.
I shared on subreddits specifically for GoFundMe sharing. Nothing.
Probably because both of those spaces are overflowing with people asking, but the part of those places populated with people who are there to give? Probably best represented by whatever’s left of those fake towns they built for nuclear bomb testing, or a lovely photo of Pripyat.
Everything I got can be traced directly back to my incredibly tiny social sphere, which makes this a very, very difficult thing for regular people to do. People who don’t suddenly catch on and get shared millions of times. People with zero reach.
Average people, already in need of help and hope, just don’t have it in them to do this sort of thing.
But I’m not sure I’m even ‘average people’. Average might have more friends than I do. Know more people who will put in that little bit of extra effort that takes a campaign and makes it successful.
I don’t know.
6. Maybe the best way is if someone else starts it for you?
I mean, if you’ve got a really great friend like that who’s also really trustworthy, the best option might be that. Someone else starting it.
Because, really, during all this with Zombi? I was exhausted. Physically, mentally, emotionally, just utterly used up in every way. I couldn’t promote it myself. Especially not after she died–and especially not after we found out that she was the victim of a procedural error, and my entire grieving process jumped the track for the deepest, darkest pits of Lower Depressionvale.
I checked out entirely for a while, which did me absolutely no good on the ‘reach’ front.
So, maybe, if it had been in the hands of someone else? Or if I’d had some extra help there, even, especially during the Nothing Time?
But it isn’t all bad.
Really, it isn’t.
My very first donation was from a friend of a friend, who then became a friend. We bonded over cats.
And my friends have donated. But these things are never perfectly timed, and I’m asking a lot, so I just need a bigger reach. Or a wittier title. Or a better story than she saved my life every day, but I couldn’t save her.
One with a happy outcome, or a promise to donate extras somehow [to what? Is there even any group researching cat cancer? Does anyone even care?], or some sort of reward structure that I can’t even begin to come up with.
Whatever the missing ingredient is, I don’t have it.
This is an awful way to learn anything. I do not recommend it. And I’m clearly a terrible student, because I didn’t learn anything of value. I don’t know how to fix this, so I can’t teach anyone else how to do it better.
Here’s the campaign link again. Feel free to share it around, since Facebook isn’t letting me right now. I hope it lets me share this post.
And thank you, again, to everyone who has shared, and everyone who has donated.
Cuddle your pets. Their lives are short, and the time passes quickly. Give them an extra special treat. Spend extra time playing with them. Add a few minutes to your walk.
Spend a few minutes with the adoptables at the pet store.
Check up on the strays.
I tried to write this on your campaign page but it won’t accept comments. “I read your page on the web about how fruitless it was to use this campaign and expect to get anything except from friends. Surprised then see that your purpose was very much the same as mine. I have not managed to get more than a fraction of what it has already cost to pay for my cat (https://www.gofundme.com/help-blackie?u=17557202). But at least I have also made a few friends through it. Though they tell e 109 people have shared the campaign, I can’t find them. My cat has a prognosis of up to a year, We aim to make his remaining time as comfortable as possible. I am sure you gave Zombi the best life she could ever hope for while she was alive. ” Paul Arenson/Japan email@example.com