Crowd-funding & Fabrily: Learn how Chantell used sites like JustGiving & Fabrily to save Lola the French bulldog!

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Chantell is a wife, mother, and adamant dog lover. Her family has rescued four dogs to date and one of these lucky pooches is named Lola. She’s an adorable French bulldog but was born with abnormally shaped ulna bones in her legs and her elbows are luxated. Because Lola is unable to walk she was going to be put to sleep but Chantell decided to save Lola and pay to have her legs operated on. After the costly surgery Lola needs intensive courses of physiotherapy, hydrotherapy and underwater treadmill exercise to learn how to walk on her own.

Determined to provide Lola with a long, happy, and healthy life Chantell has turned to fundraising sites to help give Lola this much needed therapy so that she will one day be able to walk and play like all puppies love to do!

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Chantell launched her first Fabrily campaign in July 2014 and since then has launched several more. To date Chantell has raised hundreds of pounds but she’s not stopping there! Lola’s treatment is long-lasting and costly but the Fabrily team is happy to help Chantell and her family to continue to raise funds for the treatment.

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Lola currently has several Fabrily campaigns running; you can visit her campaign page and purchase an item to help cover the costs of treatment. You can also visit her JustGiving and GoFundMe campaigns if you would like to make a donation.

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After several successful fundraising campaigns Chantell kindly provides us with insight and advice on raising funds though sites like JustGiving and Fabrily.

Why did you decide to use crowd-funding sites to raise funds for Lola? Which ones have you used so far?
   My husband James and I decided to give Lola a loving home, we knew when we saw Lola how severe her abnormalities in her front legs but didn’t realize how much the surgery to get Lola better would cost. Our vet booked us a consultation at the Queen Mother animal hospital in Barnet the day we rehomed Lola. After the £600 (including tests) consultation we were told that Lola couldn’t wait any longer and needed surgery ASAP. Lola’s problem is very rare and something the veterinary team had never seen before, the estimate of the surgery cost was £4000 to £6000 (not including the cost of further radiographs after Lola’s surgery and her physiotherapy and hydrotherapy treatments). We knew we didn’t have that kind of money so decided we had to act quickly to begin fundraising. 
   I began searching for ideas on how to fundraise as I had never done this before. I began searching the internet and my vet also gave me the idea of using JustGiving.com. I looked up JustGiving and found they had a thing called the Yimby project for people that need to fundraise for themselves or the community but you have to set a realistic target due to only having 30 days to raise that amount or the project falls through. I set it up straightaway with a goal of £1000 but in the campaign description I added that we needed to raise more than that.
   Then as I had been searching the web for more fundraising ideas I came across Fabrily, my niece had drawn a picture of Lola so I started a t-shirt campaign using her drawing. I had never done this before but once I started I began to get a lot of support and advice from Fabrily about my design; their designer used our drawing but made it bolder and higher resolution. Kate (Fabrily campaign manager) was really helpful suggesting colours and guiding me along the way.

How has the experience been? What have you learned since launching your first campaigns on JustGiving and GoFundMe – can you share any tips or advice for using these sites?
   I have learnt a lot really. I didn’t realize how many kind people there are across the world. To promote Lola’s JustGiving page and Fabrily campaign I created an Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook page for Lola; adding photos and videos of Lola before surgery and on her journey to recovery.
   Lola began to become very popular and people all over the world have been very kind with lovely comments on Lola’s photos and also a lot of them donating; these are people I have never met some donating as much as £100 just for the pure love of Lola. I have found it a real eye-opener and it has really shown me how nice people are. I haven’t launched gofundme properly due to still having the just giving page running, but was advised by some people through Instagram that gofundme is very, very popular especially to the Americans. I have found all the social media sites good but my favourite and most successful is Instagram. 

How did you come across Fabrily initially? Why did you decide to launch a Fabrily campaign?
We did try having some items printed with vistaprint but the quality and hassle was not ideal. I started looking into having more items printed locally but I’m so busy caring for my husband who is suffering from pulmonary embolism and deep vein thrombosis, our two teenage children, and now we have Lola to care for 24/7 on her road to recovery and our other dogs…I just didn’t have the time to be selling t-shirts myself and posting them out! Then there was also the risk of not being able to sell them all and being left to cover the costs of the shirts ourselves…so when I came across Fabrily I was really happy as the work is taken off of you; they handle the payment collection, order production, and shipment of the items. Fabrily does it all for you and there’s no costs or risk involved!

How has your experience with Fabrily been so far? Would you recommend the platform to others who are also looking to raise funds for a special cause?
I have been really happy with Fabrily and the support and guidance I have received. I would definitely recommend Fabrily to anyone looking to fundraise. I have had 3 successful campaigns with them so far and have 2 more running currently, one f them being with a new design of Lola. I am in process of setting up another campaign with Kate from Fabrily with a third design for Lola. I will launch plenty more in the future.

You’ve done a great job promoting your campaigns online – can you offer any tips or advice on promoting Fabrily campaigns? Are there any specific techniques you’ve used?
I have just set up Instagram, Facebook and twitter account for Lola. I use photos to promote the campaigns which has proven really effective and as the days get nearer to the end of the campaign I post reminders and photos on the sites which really helps too. Now we have had 3 successful campaigns I set up a hashtag page #isupportlolaslegs and I ask anyone that has bought a Lola t-shirt, hoodie or phone case to post a selfie with their goods with this hashtag so that everyone can see. I have found that to really help as once people see a finished product they tend to want one and we have more orders coming in.

How is Lola’s treatment going? Do you plan to continue using crowd-funding sites and platforms in the future to help cover the costs of her treatment?
Lola is still recovering from surgery and has a long, long way to go yet. I have to carry out physiotherapy on her myself 3 times a day and we visit the hospital twice a week for physiotherapy and hydrotherapy. Lola has little muscle in her legs and still has limited range of movement which we are trying to improve. As Lola progresses she will begin underwater treadmill to get her walking motion going. She began her daily walk this week but only 5 minutes at a time with the help of a help-em-up harness and handle which enables us to hold Lola up in a normal position but not letting her apply pressure on her front legs as she just isn’t strong enough yet and is still bent forward quite a lot. We are hoping by Christmas she will be able to walk almost properly. We plan to continue with our campaigns until we reach our target.

The Fabrily team would like to congratulate Chantell and her family on their successful fundraising efforts and wishes Lola a fast recovery! To stay up-to-date on Lola’s road to recovery please follow her on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook!

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