In October 2019, Baltimore Animal Rescue & Care Shelter’s Facebook fundraiser offering bad animal portraits drawn by staff blew up, raising them $13,000! HHHS loved the idea, so we tried it out for ourselves on a random Friday afternoon. That round raised $1,200, which blew us away! More than that, in the comments we found a funny community of animal lovers excited to share their adoption stories and give us insights into all the quirks and talents of their beloved furbabies. Our staff and volunteers had a great time stretching our creative muscles to create Poorly Drawn Pet Portraits (and some pretty decent ones from team members who are artistically inclined!).

Fast forward to 2020. We’re in the midst of a global pandemic, fundraising is at the forefront of every non-profit’s worries right now, but we all also know many people are struggling and not able to give, even if they’d like to. Poorly Drawn Pet Portraits brought us so much joy the first time around, so we hoped holding it again could have the same effect. We’ve just come off the heels of a truly fantastic Virtual Paws in the Park–our most highly-attended annual fundraiser that brings in tens of thousands of dollars to help homeless pets. <3 We felt so much love and support for our virtual event; we weren’t sure if anyone would care about another round of Poorly Drawn Pet Portraits, but we wanted to try!

This time we planned ahead to be prepared and recruited several volunteers to set up at art stations socially distanced from each other inside our large training room (and a couple were able to help from home). We’ve slowly been reintroducing volunteers into the building as we’ve moved out of the Safer at Home order, but we haven’t been able to invite in nearly as many volunteers as we used to have. This was a fun and safe activity that allowed us to engage volunteers who’ve been missing time at the shelter. From 10am to 6pm, they were very busy drawing portraits, but the few times when we did have a lull they were able to draw portraits of adoptable animals. Those portraits will get to go home with their furever families when they are adopted!

By the end of the fundraiser, we had raised over $1,000 again! By our measurements, it was a complete success in multiple ways. Not only did our community help us raise even more money for homeless animals, we got to engage with volunteers, adopters, donors, fosters, and our social media followers in a unique way that brought art and creativity into the important animal welfare work we do. Fighting for animals’ rights, seeing neglected and abused animals cross our threshold, and caring for lost and abandoned pets can be physically and emotionally exhausting work at times. Many things happening in the world right now are stressful and overwhelming. It was nice to take a day and focus on the animals we love, creating art for the sake of creating art without judgement, and connecting with our community members who are passionate about pets! We hope everyone following along enjoyed Poorly Drawn Pet Portraits as much as we did!