Thursday, March 24, 2011

Changes and Improvements

Hello everyone, I just wanted to take a minute to go over some of things I have been working on to improve the internet presence and fundraising capabilities of the rescue center. I will just list each site and the relevant changes/improvements:

Facebook – The only noticeable change to Facebook you should see is that you will no longer be getting 3-4 messages in a row every morning. The reason for the multiple messages was that Facebook only allows a status update to be 420 characters long, and that wasn't nearly enough space to relay all the daily news from the rescue. In order to help cleanup your news feed (as well as provide a platform for additional changes) I have started up a blog. This way Jacci can take as much space as she needs to tell you all the rescue center news from the previous day, as well as let you in on any upcoming events. You might be saying “Great, now I have to remember to check a blog everyday too?”. Well, don't worry. The blog is configured to automatically post links to the daily updates to the FFRC Facebook page, so you will still see a daily update post from the rescue in your news feed, but it will be a link to the blog (you might have noticed these already). This is done using the NetworkedBlogs Facebook app, so nothing should need to be changed to your own Facebook settings.

Blog – In addition to providing the daily updates, the blog will also host general information on the rescue center. Along the top you will find links to our list of needed supplies (see the Amazon entry below for more on this!), a page explaining our adoption policies and what you can do to make your new cats transition to your home smooth and easy, and some general information on our facilities as well as a floor plan of the main rescue building (to help those of you who watch the webcam). The blog will also provide links to various fundraising programs and partnerships set up to benefit the rescue, such as:
  • Petfinder - a link to our list of currently adoptable pets.
  • PayPal - donate directly to the rescue center.
  • Gazelle - donate used electronics to benefit the rescue (more on that below).
  • Amazon - our Amazon Associates program link and aStore (more on that below as well).

Ustream – The design of the page has been changed to better match the blog, and linked to the rescue centers Google AdSense account. Now, I know people hate ads. I hate ads. But Ustream has always served ads on the rescue centers cam page as well as occasionally showing video overlay ads. By setting the rescue center up with an AdSense account, 50% of all advertising revenue will now be deposited directly into the rescue centers bank account (Ustream keeps the other 50%). This has the potential to make a decent amount of money for the rescue center, since on average our webcam has over 2,000 unique viewers a day, and some days it goes as high as 7,000. Now each time a visitor clicks on one of the ads, FFRC will get its share of the revenue. (You might also notice a small ad along the side of the blog, this is also tied to our AdSense account). Other changes to the blog are the information in the "Show Info" box has been updated and new links added (all of which will now open in a new tab so as not to cause you to lose the chat box).

Gazelle Fundraising – Gazelle is a company that pays you to recycle used electronics such as laptops, cameras, cellphones, etc. You simply go to our Gazelle fundraiser page, select the type of item you would like to donate, and Gazelle will send you a box and shipping label. By using our fundraising page, the money for the recycled item is sent to FFRC. It's a great way to get rid of your old devices in a way that is environmentally friendly and at the same time supports the rescue center.

Amazon Associates Program  This program is a way for you to help out the rescue center every time you shop at amazon! By using the link on our blog to go to amazon each time you need to make a purchase, FFRC will receive a referral fee. Around 6% (on average) of your total purchase price will be paid directly to the rescue center. This doesn't cost you anything extra, as the money is an advertising fee paid for sending business to amazon. In addition to the amazon link near the top of our blog, you will notice there is an amazon storefront (aStore) at the bottom of the blog. This store is set up for those of you who like to directly support the rescue by sending us much needed supplies. Each item in the store is something the rescue center is always in need of, and all the items selected are sold by or fulfilled by Amazon, and eligible for their FREE SuperSaver Shipping program. You can use this link to quickly and easily donate goods, and it also pays the referral fee mentioned above. Keep in mind that this link does not automatically send your order to the rescue center. You still need to specify where you want it shipped.

I think that about covers the various changes I have made over the last week. If you have any questions or suggestions (or see that I have missed something), please let me know in the comments section of this post. Thanks!