This morning we checked twitter and saw a number of messages about some suspected fake chipin account where someone is asking for funds. I have not had the time to go through all of the details but suffice to say the usual amount of issues have reared their ugly heads.
Former friends not trusting each other, accusations flying all over twitter and blogs giving various sides of a story. In the end we may never know the truth about any situation where someone asks for funds.
It is all to easy to set up a fake website, make it look real and con trusting people into donating funds for what seems like a worthy cause. It is even easier to set up a chipin linked to a paypal account and tell the world of how you may soon have to have your dog or cat put to sleep or be homeless because you cannot afford your rent or pay your vet bills.
From my point of view all pawpawty events have been for totally legitimate shelters (NOT INDIVIDUALS) I made this point a long long time ago when I was asked to create an event for an anipal I do happen to know personally who had found themselves in an unfortunate situation being unable to pay large vet bills.
As hard as that was to refuse I did, the events run under the banner of #pawpawty have never supported an individual, always an organisation which has been researched before to ensure it is legitimate.
I have watched the situation which has unfolded over recent days time and time again on twitter, it always ends in tears as hurtful words once tweeted can never be removed totally. It is very sad that this happens and people who were friends are no longer friends and members of the community are driven away because of views they expressed supporting one side or the other.
Chip In was only used by the pawpawty events when the shelter or charity selected is not on one of the registered charity donation sites. This can be down to a timing issue in that the charity are not set up yet on one of the properly vetted and registered sites or it can because the charity did not even know about the likes of firstgiving or justgiving.
Many of the shelters we have helped are very small organisations so we have used chip in to get funds to them as most of them will usually have a paypal account set up to receive donations. In doing this we have demonstrated to many people the ease at which funds can be requested. Unfortunately there will always be some people who spot an opportunity to con people. Chip in is a great tool but in the wrong hands it can be misused for personal gain.
For this reason it saddens me to announce that from now on no pawpawty events will be able to support a charity that is not legally registered in the country of origin as a charity. This means we will no longer be able to lend our support to smaller charities which are not registered with either First Giving or Just Giving or the equivalent in the country of origin.
For the same reason we will no longer retweet requests for help for any fundraising that is being carried out using a chipin as a means of donation.
This action will of course do nothing to stop individuals setting up their own chip in, asking for support and being open to answering questions when raised about the legitimacy of their fundraising. At the end of the day anyone who has a paypal account can utilise the services of Chipin to ask for whatever they want. It should not be wrong for anyone to do this. But if you choose to donate to any non registered charity or individual then that decision is yours.
However it should also not be wrong for anyone to raise a question about this and voice concerns about possible issues. After all no one would be happy that their hard earned cash had been donated to some scammer, and if one of your friends thought something was wrong would you not want them to tell you? And anyone who is falsely accused should be more than happy to supply any additional information to confirm the legitimacy of their situation. Actions such as leaving twitter and engaging a wider community in a witch hunt against the person seeking clarification do nothing to assist their case in my opinion.
I was once accused of being a scammer by a group of individuals who said they thought it was 'funny' that the pawpawty events came round once a month when money might be getting tight and they were suggesting that I was using the funds to top up my own bank account. I was very hurt given the amount of time I have spent helping charities all over the world. However I had to get over that hurt and demonstrate that all of the funds raised went to the charities. Anyone who is legit should be willing and able and able to do the same.
Pawpawty is a great way for like minded people to get together to raise some funds for animals in need. It was never and will never be about helping individuals who have money problems, however heart breaking their story may be.
If you see a request for help being tweeted using any of the recognised hastags then it has to be up to you to check if it is for an organisation that has been mentioned on any of the pawpawty or nipclub blogs. We cannot control the use of hashtags and therefore as individuals we all must be responsible for checking ourselves.
Nothing can put right the current situation and I am very sad that some friends who have supported the pawpawty events in different ways will either leave twitter or at the very least never take part in a pawpawty event ever again.
I hope that we can move on from this situation and continue to support the great causes who need our help so very much.