How Hope For Paws raises crucial funds & helps donors make plans for their pets

November 2, 2021
min read
How Hope For Paws raises crucial funds & helps donors make plans for their pets

The Challenge

Hope For Paws, a Los Angeles-based organization that rescues suffering or neglected animals across the U.S., has a small team and limited time for implementing new fundraising programs.

The organization relies on an online giving model, rather than pursuing planned gifts or engaging high-value donors. While Hope For Paws wanted to expand their legacy outreach, their team didn’t have the capacity to actively fundraise these gifts.

Yet, with highly-engaged, loyal donors and pet lovers following their rescue missions on social media, they knew that they were missing out on gifts that could support the future of their organization.

We don’t have a Director of Planned Giving. FreeWill has helped us ramp up without someone in-house to do it. They’re an engine running in the background.

Alex Babcock
Project Manager

The Solution

The team at Hope For Paws decided to sign up for a National Feature with FreeWill, where they could use our intuitive tools to scale legacy giving across the US, secure larger gifts, and receive insights into their bequest donors.

With the Feature, their organization’s name is placed front and center each day as thousands of Americans go to to make their estate plans and leave gifts to charity.

To drive people to the site, they leverage their viewers on YouTube and Facebook, where they publish emotionally-compelling stories about the animals they rescue, and mention the FreeWill tools.

Additionally, the team includes direct appeals to use FreeWill for legacy giving in tax receipts, direct mail, and emails to their community.

They present FreeWill’s will-making tool to their supporters as an option for caring for their pets in perpetuity by legally designating a caregiver and setting aside money for their care.

Knowing that many pets are forgotten about after the owner passes away, the team at Hope For Paws felt that this would further their mission to reduce animal abandonment and abuse.

Since launching in early 2020, the organization has received thousands of legacy gift commitments — 80% of them coming from the National Feature. They’ve been able to give back to their community, helping their animal-loving supporters protect their pets and loved ones, all while setting their organization up for decades of fundraising success.

Every month we get called into a situation where someone has passed away and animals are left in the home. We try to raise awareness about making a plan for your pets. That’s how we tell the story. We liked that FreeWill has a section for this in their will questionnaire — it really aligns with our vision and mission. It’s a simple way we can protect more animals.

Chris Gentry
Director of Operations


  • $19K average bequest value
  • 2,200+ committed bequests


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