After 17 years with her service dog Ruggles, Tara McCann was looking for a way to purchase a new dog. While she still loved Ruggles, Tara needed a younger dog to help her hear, since she has been deaf since childhood. She used to raise $19,669 which helped her obtain the new service dog, Snoop Dawg, and make sure she gets the specialized training she’ll need to help Tara continue her everyday activities without worry.

The most important piece of advice Tara has for other fundraiser is “it is up to YOU to get the word out there.” Tara is sharing a few more tips so that other fundraisers can be successful:

  1. Be consistent: Use more than one method of communication to spread the word. Never stop telling people where they can find your story and where they can donate. Place information about your fundraiser in public places in and around your town. For her fundraiser, Tara had 2,000 postcards printed and mailed to households in her town. She also posted them in local businesses and made it a point to reach out to former colleagues and neighbors.
  2. Share what makes Red Basket different: “I was able to tell all contributors that their donations were eligible for a 100 percent tax deduction,” Tara says. She also made sure to let people know that applicants on Red Basket go through a vetting process and are required to submit receipts related to their projects within 366 days. These aspects went a long way in making strangers feel comfortable with donating.
  3. Make it a priority: “What you are going to get out of it is what you are going to put into it,” says Tara. Working on making sure people know your fundraiser is important so you have to keep your post about your story updated. Reaching out to people takes a lot of time. Tara took fundraising seriously, and treated it like another full-time job.
  4. Use social media: You can make a non-profit Facebook page and add a link. Having people like and share the project through social media makes it more noticeable to other people.

“I knew I had a limited time to raise these funds, so for 45 days, I was going to need to sacrifice other things I may have wanted to do because this fundraiser had to be my priority,” adds Tara. “It was so satisfying to see hard work pay off.”

Tara’s next steps include writing to all the people that donated to tell them how thankful she is that they helped her to reach her goal. She’s also starting to get everything Snoop Dawg needs, and preparing to take her to California to get specialized training. To learn more about Tara’s story, visit

Lauren Fischer
Communications Specialist
Lauren is the Communications Specialist for She writes content for the blog, social media and other materials, as well as secures media coverage for projects!