|Avi Photo Courtesy Eddie Pena|
I'll bet you're wondering what watching videos and saving lives have in common. It's actually pretty simple, so simple that you'll wonder why you didn't think of it first.
You're sitting at your computer. I know that because you're reading this. What are you going to do after you've read this blog post? Go back to work and wait for another break to surf the 'net again? Or are you going straight to surfing? If you're reading my blog it's a pretty good bet that somewhere along the way you're going to be watching cat videos. What would you think if every time you clicked on a site to watch a cute cat video, cat meme or cat photo it meant you were making a donation to cancer research, to help save lives? Pretty neat, isn't it? Here's the payoff (any pun intended), the site, Cats vs Cancer, exists. Point your browser to catsvscancer.org to find it.
|Cinnamon Courtesy Jayne Lewis|
I had an opportunity to interview Tom O'Connor, co-founder and CEO. His friend Eddie Pena, is co-founder and COO.
Q. WHOSE IDEA WAS THE WEBSITE? HOW LONG HAS IT BE UP?
We just launched about 7 weeks ago on December 1st, 2014.
I got the idea for the site two years ago when I realized how good the internet was getting at raising money for charity, after saw my wife, Amber, playing an app/game on her phone that donated money to fight world hunger for every few minutes you played. I instantly loved the idea of generating money for a good cause by simply entertaining someone for just a few minutes.
At the same time I'd been thinking about how adorable cat videos were really taking over the internet in such a funny way. Everyone was sharing them on social media, email, etc.
Then it hit me. Wouldn't be really great if you could raise money for a good cause simply by watching cat videos?
Q. HOW IS IT FUNDED AND HOW DOES IT RAISE MONEY?
We are an all-volunteer operation at the moment, so for now it doesn't cost too much to run the site. Eddie and I initially funded it with our own money, and now we are raising money through the google ads placed on the site, as well as direct donations.
Once we have a big enough audience, we can sell ads directly to companies, just like any other site. This is a big step because selling our own ads would generate a lot more for our charity partners!
|Cat Courtesy of Karin Bundy|
Q. WHO IS INVOLVED IN SELECTING THE CHARITIES THAT ARE SPONSORED AND HOW OFTEN DO THE CHARITIES CHANGE?
Right now we are changing the charities monthly. We research them on our own, and have been relying on people from other organizations who have years of non-profit experience to guide us in making our charity choices.
Q. WHY DID YOU OPT TO FUND CANCER IN PEOPLE? WOULD YOU EVER FUND RESEARCH FOR CANCER IN PETS?
Nearly everyone I spoke to in the years leading up to our launch could tell me a story about how cancer had affected them in some way. Whether it was a close friend, or a family member, cancer wasn't something you I found people very far removed from. As far as funding research for cancer in pets, yes, we have discussed it and may do that at a later date.
Q. IS THERE ANYTHING THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO SAY?
Thank you for the support. People always ask how they can help us....of course you can "donate meow" as we like to call it, and that really goes along way! But even more so we want you to come watch videos on the site, share content with friends, and come back often.
The more you visit, the more you help us in raising money for our charity partners.
Meet the co-founders here:
On New Year's Eve, Superior Digital Displays, donated a 13-story billboard in Times Square to support the cause. Really. Here it is: