Furries donated over a million dollars to charities in 2019
Midwest Furfest 2019 had a pleasant surprise for its charity. An anonymous donor had decided to match the generosity of those that had gathered, which was $110,000. This doubling to $220,000 was a major push that had set up the fandom to make it past a milestone last year of raising over a million dollars to charitable causes cumulatively. The final total coming to $1,109,974.51.
The reference for this was not Wikifur as one might expect, but instead was released via a Youtube video, put together by Thabo Meerkat and Dixie Lioness. While it may seem to be a simple feature with just a bunch of numbers, these figures actually tell us a lot about the future of fundraising in the furry fandom.
The rise of fundraising sans-convention
I took all the stats in the video and placed them into a spreadsheet. Doing this there were two categories featured: conventions and fundraising. There were 66 convention recorded here (enough for 1 per week, with 14 left over) that raised a total of $915,138.36. This accounts for 82.5% of the contributions. The remaining 17.5% come from outside of the conventions. Joining them all together, the $194,836.15 raised, is just about as much as final total Midwest Furfest raised at the end of the year.
Sans-convention fundraising, which only 14 events were recorded here, combined brought in more money than the second to fifth largest furry conventions combined. That would be Anthrocon, Biggest Little Furcon, Furry Weekend Atlanta, Furry Fiesta, and Further Confusion. Their combined head count was at 28,837 and combined fundraising at $174,670.02.
This shows the power of the internet on the good it can do for those looking to raise finances for a good cause. Without the hindrances of travel, food, shelter, and of course swag that one will spend money on at a furry convention, a fundraiser cuts out all the additional expenses that would otherwise hinder a person who would be more giving otherwise.
As streaming becomes a larger medium for content creators to communicate with their audience, these direct to computer charity events will no doubt become far more popularized in the future. Dixie Lioness is already keeping track of this as she noted Adler’s new year stream which raised $13,016.69 for Give Kids the World.
Of course, an element of trust and caution must be used when it comes to donation by the web. If an organization or individual with fraudulent and nefarious intents learn how giving the fandom is, they will certainly attempt to take advantage by hosting these and divesting the income to line their own pockets. In that case, be wary when vetting the organizations and events that are asking you to part with your hard earned dollar.
This vetting is probably a strength of the convention as there is a group responsible for getting the money to their organization. And it turns out, it’s not the only strength conventions have when fundraising.
Don’t count the conventions out
The fun part about statistics is that when you gather more numbers, the story you write out in your head typically has a counter argument. In this case I found it to be the scary proportionality of donations to events. That is, the amount raised by conventions and fundraisers is basically the same if the total money were distributed equally across the events in their respective categories.
If you take the total dollars raised by the 14 fundraiser organization you would have about 17.55% of the total raised. And the 66 conventions noted had about 82.45% raised. While the dollars should by all means be independent of the proportion of these two categories in this case there is a dead overlap (+-0.05%!) in 2019 for this gathered sample set.
This can mean that those who show up to conventions do have the money to contribute to the causes championed by the physical organization, despite the additional costs of being a guest. But what probably helps more is that furries are more aware of conventions. Since they are a captive audience, being informed that there is a charity to donate to is easier. And with that personal touch of having the organization interacting directly with the guests it is easier to feel the need before you rather than at a distance, where it can feel less urgent.
Conventions can also tie fundraising to the activities, such as poker tournaments, which would prove difficult over the internet. It could be done of course, I can see a furry video game tournament where participants buy in and half of the buy-ins go to charity with the rest going out to the winners. However most streams are spectator affairs at this point where conventions give you a chance to join in.
More than for the Animals - and other statistics
While the solid majority of the money gathered went to animal related charities, a hefty 8% actually went to medical research for ALS. This was mainly in response to the story of Tony “DogBomb” Barret and his struggles with the disease. While this may be expected to taper off over time, unfortunately ALS refuses to. Already in 2020 the disease has showed it’s not done impacting the lives of those within the fandom. MarkBarks, a furry YouTuber, recently announced that his father was diagnosed with the terminal illness. So I don’t expect the advocacy for research to fight this terminal disease to slow down as long as it keeps impacting loved ones of those in the fandom.
For conventions the average contribution of each attendee fell around the ten dollar mark. So if you want to know what a fair amount to donate is when you don’t have much to, then $10 seems to be target. While $10 dollars is the average it is not the median, which while unavailable, would probably reflect the wealth distribution curve. For instance, with the doubling by the single benefactor at Midwest Furfest, the actual average contributions of each individual attendee is closer to that $10 a nose instead of the reported $20 dollar per nose if you subtract the individual that did the doubling payment.
With the average dollar per nose you can also determine the most charitable gatherings. While Midwest Furfest’s $220,000 haul was impressive there were three others that raised more dollars per person. South Afrifur with its 52 people only needed to raise $1,226.43 to make them more giving per capita than the 11,000 person sized con.
This David to Goliath scenario can make it so that smaller conventions may get more in the giving spirit. Both Western PA Furry Weekend and South Afrifur are not hotel style conventions, which gives them a helping hand in having the attendees have more to give as before noted. However, the attendees do deserve a lot of credit here as there are several other gatherings that are non-hotel based that did not have this level of generosity.
Fursquared is chaired by Alkali Bismuth. That’s all that needs to be said.
Okay, I’ll explain for those of you who don’t know who Alkali is. You may know him from leading improv panels such as Whose Lion. A large and loud gentle-ferret with a top hat whose booming voice can be heard across a ball room, mic-less. However a big essence of who he is as a person is giving and generous. If the fandom were a church he would be the usher whose hat becomes an offering plate and the audience in the pew throws the dollars and cents into it like a waterfall.
Needless to say, having a person leading who embodies the virtue of charitable inspires it in others. This can cause the gatherings he works with to be more giving as well. Many of the conventions he works with in the Midwest (including MFF) tend to take in over the $10 average per nose.
He of course is humble as well, and upon reading the paragraph above he would certainly denote that it takes a community to raise money. And with the fandom as spread out as it is, the over $1,000,000 of giving would be impossible without all of us working together. No one person owns or can take credit for it. That furs as a group should be proud and take solace in knowing that the kindness of those that gave has not gone unnoticed.
In that vein a special thanks goes to Dixie Lioness and Thabo Meerkat for making sure that it did not go unnoticed, and thanks to all of the furries who donated their dollars, whether it was a single dollar or over a hundred thousand of them. Without all of them, the fandom would not have reached the million dollar mark. Let’s hope for a strong showing in 2020 as well.