Brooklyn artist Laura Connelly decided it was time to do something to help during this challenging time of pandemic and isolation. She decided to take her talent to a new level by opening a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for five local animal-related non-profit organizations by offering her art in exchange for donations. In this way, she raised almost $12,000.
Connelly loves to draw animals, and pets are her specialty. She likes to call people’s pets their “little babies,” and finds joy in drawing them, and brings joy to the pet owners.
She wrote on Instagram:
“I’m sitting at my desk, with a hot cup of tea and waiting for your DMs with your pet photographs.”
Overwhelmed with responses including wonderful stories and photos of the pets, Connelly got to work, drawing 1,252 unique, custom drawings.
Her success on Instagram inspired her to expand her efforts. Her GoFundMe campaign was set up to benefit five non-profits connected to animal welfare since these organizations also saw increased demand during the coronavirus pandemic. Those groups include Foster Dogs, HeartsandBones, Social Tees, Animal Care Centers of NYC and Mr. Bones and Co.
At first things were slow, but after a week the word spread.
“My Instagram literally exploded,” she said with a laugh. “The donation amount was crazy; it was almost doubling every day.”
Connelly, a Williamsburg resident, began to receive requests for pet portraits from all over New York City, Canada, and even Europe. She was working 15-hour days drawing dozens of portraits, surpassing her goal of $500 by about $11,000, hitting a generous sum of $11,576.
“I’m really happy that I did this,” she said. “I think it changed me. I never raised money before.”
The campaign demonstrated what a large difference many people joining together can make, even if each donation was small. The largest donation was just $99, while many donations were for $20, $15, $10, and even as little as $5.