Northern California German Shorthair Pointers Rescue

"We're not trying to design [complicated] multimedia and make a nightmare of programming. With Flickr, you look, you grab, you go. It's easy, even for people who aren't tech-savvy."

— Barbara Gale, board member 

Photographs Tell the Story of Abandoned Dogs and Their New Homes

Thanks to Northern California German Shorthair Pointers (NorCal GSP) Rescue, more than 300 abandoned dogs have found a home. Bred for hunting, German shorthairs are known for their high intelligence, even temperament, and loyalty. But because they are energetic and need lots of exercise, many wind up in shelters. The all-volunteer-run organization has no offices and depends heavily on virtual tools to get its message across.

Thanks to Flickr, the San Mateo County organization is forging bonds with volunteers and donors. Flickr provided an ideal solution for utilizing two of the nonprofit's most valuable assets: its volunteers' enthusiasm and the dogs' pictures. "I had pictures of the dogs on my hard drive at home, but what good was that for anyone else in my group? They couldn't get to my hard drive," said Barbara Gale, the board member who signed up for the Flickr account. When Gale learned that she could get a free Flickr Pro account through TechSoup, she immediately joined on behalf of NorCal GSP Rescue. 

NorCal GSP Rescue's Flickr page helps convey the group's love of dogs; tells the story of individual dogs before and after adoption; improves virtual collaboration for outreach efforts; increases visibility to supporters, volunteers, and donors; and brings in more volunteers and adopters.

The organization gives photos of a dog and the permission to use them to a NorCal GSP Rescue volunteer, who uploads them to Flickr for central storage and use. NorCal GSP Rescue now includes photo links in its newsletters so that supporters (especially donors) can follow the organization's progress. The rescue group can also easily and quickly update its website by posting links to Flickr slide shows. Flickr photos help legitimize the organization, providing assurance for donors and adopters fearful of online scams. People can see the dedicated staff and volunteers behind the group.