These FAQs are for the $100,000 Challenge running January 7 to April 28, 2013.
Questions about the Shelter+ Challenge? We get a lot of them! We've tried to answer some of the most common questions here in this FAQ. Please take a good look - we've got questions about shelters and grants, questions about voting, and even what to do if we didn't answer your question! Hope it helps - and thanks for voting every day for your favorite eligible rescue organization.
· I'm having trouble voting - it looks odd and doesn't seem to respond correctly. Help!
· What do groups or shelters use the Challenge grants for?
· Don't the same groups keep winning all the prizes?
· Why can't you separate groups and shelters by size?
· Do you have resources and materials for participating organizations?
· How can our small, rural rescue possibly win?
· Our group is in a big city. How can we have fewer votes than a group in a small town?
· Are there new categories of prizes in 2013?
· How do you determine what state a group is in? Will you change it if I ask you to?
· How can our group organization be in the next Shelter+ Challenge?
· Why can't you add our organization to the Challenge now?
· Can you delete an organization from the Challenge database?
· I sent you an e-mail about the Challenge and nobody answered! Why won't you respond?
· Why can't I find my organization in the current Shelter+ Challenge?
· Why doesn't our rank change significantly each day, and why aren't we in the top 10?
· What if we ask everyone to vote and we don't win?
· My group was ahead for days (or weeks) and now they're behind. How can that happen?
· Lots of people voted for us today, but the chart hasn't changed! Why not?
· What are you doing to stop cheating?
· Why can't multiple people vote once per day on my computer?
· Can I vote from my Blackberry or iPhone?
· How do we vote for our Flash Photo?
· When I sent you a complaint about problems voting, why did you ask what browser I used?
If you are having trouble voting, or if the page does not seem to be responding appropriately, try clearing your cache by holding down your shift key and reloading the page. If the problem persists, please consider updating your browser. Links to some of the most common web browsers are below.
*For Windows XP and earlier: Please note that older versions of Microsoft Windows may not support the current version of the Microsoft web browser, Internet Explorer. If you are relying on an older verion of Windows, please consider using an alternate browser, such as Chrome or Safari.
The grants awarded from the Shelter+ Challenge are used for the care of rescued pets. Past winners have used these grants to pay for medical bills, feed their charges, spay or neuter animals, and to improve facilities housing the pets.
No. It is absolutely impossible for one group to win all the prizes. Since 2008, more than $1 million has been awarded to more than 300 organizations who have participated in the Shelter+ Challenge. In this round of voting, more than 240 prizes will be awarded to animal rescue groups and shelters. There's literally hundreds of ways to win this time and we even have special Dark Horse category reserved for groups who have never won anything before.
The Animal Rescue Site does not have that information. The current Petfinder.com database does not distinguish the size of an organization. It only lists their name and location. When we receive that information for all groups participating, not just your favorite, we'll add that category.
Yes! We have those resources, including easy-to-use printable flyers and graphics you can use for your website, geared especially for rescue groups participating in this Challenge. Just .
It is not the size of your town that counts -- many of our past winners come from towns with less than 1,000 residents. It is the enthusiasm of your supporters that makes a difference and your supporters do not have to live in your community. Voters can be your grandmother in Alaska voting for your favorite group in Florida -- or vice versa! More than half of the winners since 2008 have been located in less populous communities, including most of our Grand Prize winners so far, and they have recruited their voters through Facebook pages, Twitter, blog posts, emails, and good old-fashioned posters on the wall of their local coffeeshop.
Where your actual shelter is located matters less than how many people you contact via the Internet to vote for you. It is the size of your social networks, your e-mail lists, your blog readers, and so on, that make a real difference. Encourage your supporters by asking their friends online "Can you vote for my group today?" Voting for a group is not restricted by location: your shelter can be in California and have voters located in Ireland.
YES! Between January and April, more than 240 prizes will be awarded to shelters and animal rescue groups. There are now new awards for Second and Third Place overall, the return of the Dark Horse category for groups that have never won before, more awards for Canadian and International groups, and a new Flash Photo Contest. Besides $100,000 in cash grants to groups, there will be second, third, and honorable mention awards for 51 regions (U.S. states and Washington, DC) which will be vaccinations and shelter beds distributed by Petfinder to winning groups.
Groups are divided into a particular state according to the address registered by the group with Petfinder.com. The Animal Rescue Site cannot move a group to a new state upon request because the Petfinder.com database is locked. Please send address change requests to your representative at Petfinder.com.
All active members of Petfinder.com Network are listed. The data is sent from Petfinder.com to The Animal Rescue Site several days prior to the start of the voting round of the Shelter+ Challenge and then locked. The Animal Rescue Site staff cannot change, add, or delete listings without the compliance of Petfinder.com. If an account is/was inactive as of the lock date announced by Petfinder.com prior to the beginning of the voting round, that group is not listed in the current voting round of Challenge.
Petfinder.com had to "freeze" the data at the time it is submitted to The Animal Rescue Site. For legal reasons, we cannot add any organization once a Challenge voting round starts. However, if your group activates an account at Petfinder.com, you will be eligible for future voting rounds.
The database is locked when the Challenge begins. The Animal Rescue Site cannot eliminate any group from the database without the express approval and assistance of Petfinder.com. Requests for changes in the database are sent to Petfinder.com for further action.
Due to the thousands of e-mails we receive during a Challenge, we cannot answer all of them personally. We try to answer new questions at least once and then add the information here. That is why we created this FAQ page. Thank you for your understanding.
If your favorite group has a very long name, it can sometimes confuse the database. Also we find that the "city" listed by a group may not be the most obvious choice (the shelter could be in one place but their mail is delivered elsewhere). The easiest way to search is to enter one or two words in the name and the state (if in U.S.) or province (if in Canada). Also, you can e-mail your group or check their web page: many have information posted on how to vote for them!
People all over the U.S. and Canada are voting in increasing numbers for their favorite shelters. Your state/regional ranking is based on your total votes compared to other shelters in your state only. Your overall ranking is in comparison to all shelters in the Challenge, all over the country and internationally. Rankings can and do often change dramatically overnight as one group or other gets a surge of voting. Like a marathon race, you'll see some groups spurt ahead and then fall behind and then spurt ahead again, while others steadily move up in position or stay in the same place. Remember, in 2013, even being second or third place in your state could win your group an award.
Think about ways you can combine a voting campaign with other donations. Maybe every time somebody casts a vote, they could pledge to drop a penny in a jar by their computer. At the end of the campaign, they could cash in their change as a donation to your shelter or group. Many groups find just launching a campaign brings them more publicity and even increases adoptions.
In every Challenge, some groups take the lead early but then are passed by other groups. Last minute surges are quite common. A position on the chart is indicative of how you are doing but not a guarantee of your final position when voting ends at midnight on the final day - remember, these charts update just once every 24 hours, and a single day of intense voting can cause a big change in a very short time. All votes are reviewed, audited, and double-checked, which is why winners are not announced until the Wednesday after the voting ends (voting ends at 11:59 PM PT Sunday, giving us two days to carefully audit the votes). The final winners are determined by the total number of legitimate votes received, not by the position on the chart at any time prior to end of the Challenge.
The results charts update only once during each 24 hour period. They are not minute-to-minute reflections of your group's status - they are just daily benchmarks intended to give you an idea of how your organization is doing. A single day of voting can cause a big change in a very short time. Rest assured, all votes are reviewed, audited, double-checked, and verified before they are considered final in order to make the Shelter+ Challenge a fair and enjoyable contest. NOTE: Some browsers "stick" or fail to update the charts. This is a display problem located on the user's computer that we cannot correct remotely. We suggest clearing cache or trying a different browser if this happens.
There are several chain letters out there purporting to tell people how to cheat in contests hosted on this site or others -- the number one thing to remember is that these are false and the methods described don't work. The Animal Rescue Site has many unseen, regularly updated security measures. Invalid votes are being eliminated or blocked. Regular audits occur each week prior to announcing the weekly winner and even more stringent measures are taken prior to announcing all the winners at the end of a Challenge. However, all such complaints are thoroughly reviewed and also passed to Petfinder.com.
In order to verify that only one vote is being cast per person, the amount of votes accepted on a computer is limited to one. It is just one of the many layers of security we have created in order to maintain the integrity of the Shelter+ Challenge.
It depends on your service and equipment.
The Flash Photo portion of the contest is a two-part process. In the first part, you submit your photo. The finalists are then selected by our judges. Once selected, you can vote for any of the finalists. There will be eight (8) rounds in the Flash Photos, so you will have multiple opportunities to enter your favorite photos.
Problems with a web page can be caused by many things — and we can help you best if your email includes some basic information such as the type of browser used, the type of Internet connection (dial-up, wireless, etc), the time of day that the problem happened, and so on. We also use this information to improve the overall experience of the Challenge for everyone.
If you can vote for your favorite rescue organization in the current round, then that organization is eligible.
You might try the Challenge's Facebook Fan page. We answer questions there too! Just click www.FaceBook.com/shelterchallenge. If you don't have a Facebook account, keep reading.
If you still have questions after reading this FAQ and checking the Facebook fan page, please feel free to contact our representative at email@example.com. Please be patient, it may take a day or two for an answer.
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