2013 Challenge FAQ

Rules for Contestants

Who can compete?
Is there a waiting list?
Can agencies enter as a team?
Can we get help from local rescues and shelters?
Can we win more than one prize?
What do you do with complaints about contestants?
What is the Challenge Account and how do I log in?

Community Engagement

How do we win the Community Engagement award?
How can our community help us win the Challenge?

Facebook & Hashtags

What should we post on our Facebook page?
Why isn’t our shelter’s Facebook Feed showing up?
My Facebook connection has expired. What should I do?
What are the hashtags?
How do we use the hashtags?
When should we use each hashtag?
Why should we use each hashtag?
Can we just use the #100KChallenge hashtag on ALL of our Facebook posts?

Community Engagement Voting

How do we Get Out The Vote?
Can we get the names and contact info of our voters?
Where do we send our supporters to vote?
Who can vote?
What if some supporters don't have a Facebook account?
How often can each person vote?
Can a supporter vote for more than one shelter?

Live Exits, Euthanasia & Spay Neuter

What is a live exit?
Is the increase counted as a percentage or a number?
How many more lives do we need to save in order to win?
Why do we only get a half point for transfers?
Why are you focused on increasing live exits rather than decreasing euthanasia?
Why do you collect euthanasia data?
What about spay/neuter?

Animals Transfered Out

Can we choose not to collect and report transfer outcomes?
Will the .5 apply to transfers out during the baseline months' data, too?
Are we expected to collect and report Transfer Outcomes tied to the baseline months (June – August 2012)?
Are we required to use the Transfer-Outcomes Report provided by the ASPCA?
Why do we need to include the attestation...
Is the Transfer -Outcomes Report for tracking adoptions only?
What if we transferred an animal by August 31st and confirmed a live release at the receiving shelter in September but BEFORE our monthly data was due?
Do we need to record all transfers out on the worksheet or just those with a confirmed live release?
The privacy policy of the agency or rescue group receiving transferred animals does not allow them to release adopter information. What happens if they don't provide this information?

Data

What is the ASPCA going to do with the data you collect?
What's the difference between the Adoptions Counter and the Leaderboard?

Goal of the Challenge

What is the goal of the $100K Challenge?
Shouldn't the Challenge focus on improving the quality rather than the quantity of adoptions?

 

Rachael Ray Partnership

 

Why is Rachael Ray partnering with the ASPCA on the $100K Challenge?

Rules for contestants

Who can compete?
Any 501(c)3 or government shelter in the United States (including Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands) with a calendar year 2012 intake of at least 1,500 cats and/or dogs and spays/neuters all animals prior to adoption can apply. All competing agencies must agree and adhere to all of the Challenge Rules. Shelters will compete in one of five divisions based on intake.

Is there a waiting list?
Yes. There will be one wait-listed agency for each division. That agency will have the opportunity to compete if a shelter in that division withdraws or is disqualified before May 16, 2013.

Can agencies enter as a team?
Contestants must be individual organizations, but we welcome and encourage you to work collaboratively with other shelters and rescues. You even have the option of sharing prize money with your collaborators. See #35 in the Rules.

Can we get help from local rescues and shelters?
ABSOLUTELY! One great strategy for winning the Challenge may be to work with other shelters and rescues in your area to save more lives together. While teams are not allowed in the Challenge, working together and deciding on how to share the glory is up to you! See #35 in the Rules for more details.

Can we win more than one prize?
Yes! One agency can win as much as $140,000. See #32 in the Rules.

What do you do with complaints about contestants?
We fully investigate any and all complaints about rule violations. If we deem that rules have been violated, the contestant may be disqualified, in which case their departure from the contest will be announced on the contest website. Complaints about shelters that are non-contest specific are forwarded to the shelter for direct resolution.

What is the Challenge Account and how do I log in?
Each Challenge contestant has an account on the Challenge site. Logging into your Challenge Account allows you access to the full list of monthly Challenge Tasks, Resources and User Guides. You must also log into to your Challenge Account to update your Adoption Counter, add Event information, connect your Facebook page to the Challenge site or change any information on your shelter's individual profile page.

To log into your Challenge Account, go to the Challenge home page and click on the "Log In" button on the top right corner of the page. Enter your username (as you selected in the application) and password. First time users should request a new password, and the password will be sent to the email account provided in the Challenge application. The ASPCA does not have access to contestant passwords. Still having trouble? Please email us.

Community Engagement

How do we win the Community Engagement award?
You win this award by doing the best job of getting your community members directly involved in helping you save lives and then talking about all of that life saving work on your Facebook page. Oh, and don't forget to use the hashtag: #100KChallenge so your posts about your life-saving work get pulled to your contestant page here on the Challenge site. You can start engaging your community as soon as you've received official word that you've been accepted into the Challenge.

You will want to continue engaging (and talking about it) through August 31, 2013. And you'll want to get all of your community members to vote for you because the three contestants that save at least 300 more lives and get the most votes from August 15 through August 31 will become finalists*. The ASPCA Grants Committee will review the Facebook feed on the three finalists' contestant pages to ascertain what agency did the absolute best job of getting all kinds of community members directly involved in saving more lives. For more on the criteria see the Challenge Rules and the Community Engagement Award.

How can our community help us win the Challenge?
Your community members are your key to saving more lives! Be it getting the word out, acting as adoption ambassadors, foster families, volunteers, adopters, sponsors, social media mavens and more, your community members are vital! Businesses can host or sponsor events. Donors can pledge prizes for meeting your adoption goals. The driving force behind how your community members can help you save more lives is your—and their—creativity! And the best part is, once people have engaged in helping you save more lives, they are likely to continue to want to be engaged. So their involvement now will set the stage for saving more lives well beyond the Challenge.

Facebook & Hashtags

What should we post on our Facebook page?
Your Facebook page is a great vehicle for pumping up your staff, volunteers and community. It's also the primary way we'll judge your community engagement for the $25,000 Community Engagement Award. So use it to show how you and your community are working together to save more lives. You can announce your goals, recruit help for projects and events, preview upcoming promotions, recap events and promotions and report on the myriad ways that foster families, volunteers and community members are helping you save more lives during the Challenge. Post photos of animals as they go home, of foster babies getting stronger, of volunteers helping you in everything you do. Post videos, too. And you should highlight and link to all of the media coverage you're getting for your work in the Challenge. In short, anything and everything you're doing to increase lives saved during the Challenge should show up on your Facebook page. And don't forget: to get your posts to show up on this Challenge site—and be counted towards the Community Engagement Award—you must use the hashtag' #100KChallenge.

Why isn’t our shelter’s Facebook Feed showing up on the Challenge site?
In order for your agency’s Facebook posts with the hashtags #100KChallenge or #100KSaved to show on Challenge site, you must connect your agency’s Facebook page with the Challenge site.  This can be done by accessing your secure Challenge Account and following the instructions available in the User Guide. 
If it appears that you are linked but your new posts are not coming through, then your connection has most likely expired.  Please follow the instructions in the User Guide to “Connect your Facebook Page”.  You have to repeat the initial connection instructions to re-connect. 
To test whether your connection is working, just go to your shelter’s page on the Challenge site, you should see posts with the hashtag #100KChallenge at the bottom of the page.  You can access your shelter’s page by going to the Contestants page and clicking on your shelter name in the list.

I received a message that my Facebook connection has expired. What should I do?
Facebook periodically disconnects your link to the Challenge site.  Until the end of the Challenge, when you receive this message, please go through the steps in the User Guide, “Connect Your Facebook Page” to reconnect.  Instructions are available in the User Guide section of your Challenge Account.  You can verify the connection is working if recent posts with the hashtag #100KChallenge appear at the bottom of your shelter’s page of the Challenge site.    Your shelter’s page can be accessed by clicking on your shelter name on the Contestants page.

What are the hashtags?
The hashtags allow for automatic sharing of Challenge related posts from your Facebook and Twitter pages to the Challenge site, so that you only have to post once on your Facebook page. #100KChallenge: February through August, this hashtag should be included in all of your Challenge-related Facebook posts in order to send those posts to the homepage of the Challenge site and to your shelter profile page.

#100KSaved: June through August, this hashtag should be added to all photos of animals (and their new families) as they get adopted in order to send those photos to the Lives Saved Photo Gallery on the Challenge site.

How do we use the hashtags?
#100KChallenge: include on all Challenge related posts on Facebook in the description/status #100KSaved: include in the description section of every photo of an adopted animal.

General Guidelines

  • No spaces between the letters and numbers.
  • Capitals and lower case letters are both acceptable.
  • Put the tags in the description of the post being shared or on the photo description.
  • Incorporate into a sentence or place at the end of the post.
  • You can also include both hashtags in one post to ensure it is shared in both locations.
  • Only the shelter's Facebook account administrators can post using either hashtag.
  • To share a post from someone else, the admin can repost it and include the hashtag in the description.

Contact challenge@aspca.org for instructions on connecting your shelter's Facebook page to the Challenge site. Without the link between your two accounts, the hashtags will not work.

When should we use the hashtag?
#100KChallenge: February through the end of the Challenge, use this hashtag whenever your post is Challenge related.

#100KSaved: June 1 through August 31, use for all photos of animals adopted during the Challenge. Photos can be of the animals themselves or can include their new families and/or shelter staff and volunteers.

Why should we use each hashtag?
#100KChallenge: This is the primary way we'll judge your community engagement for the $25,000 Community Engagement Award. Your Facebook page is a great vehicle for pumping up your staff, volunteers and community. So use it to show how you and your community are working together to save more lives. And by utilizing the hashtag, we make it easy to transfer that community engagement to a place that your team, the public and the ASPCA Community Engagement Judges will be able to access.

#100KSaved: The Lives Saved Gallery is a moving pictorial celebration of the work of staff and volunteers to save thousands upon thousands of precious cats and dogs over the three months of the Challenge. Plus, the ASPCA communications team will be driving traffic to the Lives Saved Gallery, and since all of your photos link back to your Facebook page, that traffic will mean more visibility and potential support for your shelter.

Can we just use the #100KChallenge hashtag on ALL of our Facebook posts?
Simply applying the hashtag to ALL your posts could work against you for the Community Engagement judging. Include the hashtag only on posts that are about your Challenge campaign or your work to build capacity for saving more lives during the Challenge months.

Community Engagement Voting

How do we Get Out The Vote?
Be inventive and use any and every channel to get the word out to your community. And, we've provided a graphical button you can post on your Facebook page and website, and in your emails and newsletters. The graphic is available here.

Can we get the names and contact info of our voters?
Because of the voting setup, ASPCA can collect the email addresses (but not the names or other contact information) of those voters that voted and opted to share their email address with their shelter.

Note: The ASPCA does not keep or use these email addresses for any reason.

Where do we send our supporters to vote?
Send your voters to the url votetosavelives. org . Once there, they will log into Facebook and approve the voting application to access the voting page. They will not need to approve the voting application after their first vote.

Who can vote?
Anyone 13-years-old and older with a Facebook account can vote. Staff and volunteers of organizations who are Challenge contestants are allowed and encouraged to vote for their own organizations.

What if some supporters don't have a Facebook account?
They can sign up for a Facebook account for free. Sorry, but they can only vote with a Facebook account so that we can ensure accuracy of votes.

How often can each person vote?
Each person can vote once a day, every day. They may choose to vote for more than one shelter each day.

Can a supporter vote for more than one shelter?
Yes, each person can vote for more than one shelter each day. However, they can only vote for the same shelter once per day.

Live Exits, Euthanasia & Spay Neuter

What is a live exit?
Live exits are defined as animals who leave your shelter through adoption (including on-site, mobile, satellite and event adoptions), alternative placements (such as barn cat programs and placements with law enforcement) and return-to-owner (RTO). Transfers to rescue or other shelters for adoption are also live exits, but these will only count as a half point on the Leaderboard. For more details on what counts as a live exit, see #10-16 in the Rules.

Is the increase counted as a percentage or a number?
The increase is counted as a number, except for the Most Improved Player grant in each division, which is counted as a percentage.

How many more lives do we need to save in order to win?
That depends on the competition. In 2010, the Humane Society of Boulder Valley took the grand prize by increasing lives saved by 962. In 2011, Austin Pets Alive! ran away with the glory, having increased lives saved by 850. By the conclusion of the 2011 Challenge, 10 shelters, ranging in intake size from 2,654 to 27,987, increased lives saved by more than 300!

Why do we only get a half point for transfers?
Transfers are a two-step process to saving lives. Moving an animal to rescue or an adoption agency is an important step, but our ultimate goal is saving lives – and that means getting them to their permanent homes. So we will be granting one half point for each animal transferred to another adoption agency, and you can get another half point for each of those animals when you provide confirmation from the receiving agency that the animal has been successfully adopted. See rule # 12 and 16 of the Rules.

Why are you focused on increasing live exits rather than decreasing euthanasia?
Guess what? When you increase live exits, euthanasia rates go down. Check out Dr. Emily Weiss's blog on this topic. In fact, in the first two years of the Challenge, euthanasia went down significantly for contestants (6,400 in 2010 and 5,400 in 2011) compared to the same time during the prior year. The Challenge itself focuses on live exits, though, because it gives your community members more tangible ways to get involved. They can adopt, promote adoptions, work at adoption events, help match lost and found reports, get the word out and do so much more.

Why do you collect euthanasia data?

Two reasons:

  • To ensure fairness. Euthanasia numbers complete the snapshot of monthly shelter data, enabling our dashboard team to spot and investigate irregularities. It's simply about balancing. In order to check the math, we need to add who comes in and subtract who goes out. Then we can compare the data to who's left in the building.
  • To advance our collective understanding. Increasing live exits decreases euthanasia. That's why we want to capture the full snapshot, including euthanasia data, in order for the composite data from the Challenge to provide reliable, complete information on the most effective ways to decrease euthanasia.

What about spay/neuter?
Every animal counted as an adoption or alternative placement for the Challenge must be altered before going home with their new family. Period. If your shelter is still working with your veterinary community to get pediatric spay/neuter into your programming, we suggest looking at the Challenge as an opportunity for a trial period. After the contest is over, you and your veterinarians can evaluate how well things worked and hopefully add pediatric surgeries to your permanent programming. The AVMA supports pediatric spay/neuter. The Humane Alliance has an excellent training video for veterinarians. (And they are always happy to provide advice on working with your veterinarians by phone or email.)

Animals Transferred Out

Can we choose not to collect and report transfer outcomes?
Yes, if you choose not to track your transfers' outcomes, you will receive .5 for transfers out during baseline months and .5 for transfers out during Challenge months.

Will the .5 apply to transfers out during the baseline months' data, too?
Yes, transfers out will count as .5 in both baseline and Challenge months.

Are we expected to collect and report Transfer Outcomes tied to the baseline months (June – August 2012)? No.

Are we required to use the Transfer-Outcomes Report provided by the ASPCA?
The Transfer-Outcomes Report is intended to help you track the status of animals transferred while helping us ensure fairness for all contestants by verifying that transfers have resulted in live releases. You may customize the Transfer-Outcomes Report to allow you to more easily copy/paste data from your existing software or reports. Should you choose to create and use a customized form, the form must be submitted for approval to your ASPCA data contact by April 30, 2013.

Why do we need to include the attestation "By submitting the attached data, I represent and warrant that the data is, to the best of my knowledge, true and accurate" for each Challenge month, in addition to the Transfer-Outcomes Report? Is the attestation required if we use a different form for the Report?
The attestation is how the contestant affirms that the information in the Transfer-Outcomes Report is true and accurate. Yes, it is still required if you use a different form for the Report.

Is the Transfer -Outcomes Report for tracking adoptions only?
Use the Transfer-Outcomes Report to detail all qualified live releases (Adoptions, RTOs, alternate placements (e.g. service dog placements, felines released back to the field)) in order to receive .5 live release added to your count.

What if we transferred an animal by August 31st and confirmed a live release at the receiving shelter in September but BEFORE our monthly data was due? Can we count that as a live release?
All transfers out must have a live release date during the Challenge months. So, the .5 transfer live release would count, but not the other .5 for the Live Release (e.g., adoption, RTO) if it occurred after August 31.

Do we need to record all transfers out on the worksheet or just those with a confirmed live release?
The Transfer-Outcomes Report is intended to track all animals transferred out during the Challenge months. By recording all animals transferred out and not just those with a live release outcome, you will be able to update the status of each animal more easily. In order to receive a .5 for a confirmed live release you will need to record those transfers on the Transfer Outcomes Report.

The privacy policy of the agency or rescue group receiving transferred animals does not allow them to release adopter information. What happens if they don't provide this information?
If you are unable to provide the adopter's last name, city, and state on the Transfer Outcomes Report for any transfer live release, that transaction will not qualify for an additional .5 live release. If you have concerns regarding the privacy policy of your receiving agencies, and/or if you would like assistance with explaining the Challenge and the related data collection process to your partner rescue group(s), please contact your ASPCA data contact.

Data

What is the ASPCA going to do with the data you collect?
Total lives saved and increases in live releases for each contestant will be published monthly on the Challenge leaderboard. After the Challenge, composite state, divisional and national data will be compiled to provide information and insight to the field about the results of the Challenge and the state of shelter overpopulation. We may also use subsets of data internally to plan training programs and to develop resources for shelters.

No individual agency data—other than annual intake and live release numbers, and increases for June through August 2013—will be published without the express permission of the agency.

What's the difference between the Adoptions Counter and the Leaderboard?
The Adoptions Counter is an electronic tool for your website that primarily serves as a marketing tool. You will enter a daily total of adoptions in the Adoptions Counter. The Leaderboard shows the total lives saved and the increase in lives saved at the end of each month of the contest. The ASPCA enters the numbers in the Leaderboard after carefully vetting the complete data that you submit each month.

Goal of the Challenge

What is the goal of the Challenge?
Simple: to save more lives! In the short-term, the Challenge saves more lives because staff, volunteers and community members are driven by friendly competition to be creative and work harder than ever before. But it also saves more lives in the long-term, because all of the added attention and support contestants earn during the contest can be harnessed for continued life-saving. See more on the method behind the madness of this contest.

Shouldn't the Challenge focus on improving the quality rather than the quantity of adoptions?
Who says you only get one without the other?! In 2011, the adoption rate for contestants increased by 9 percentage points, while returns within 30 days actually decreased by 1 percentage point.

While millions of dogs and cats are still dying in our shelters every year, we all need to stretch our goals and innovate to save more lives. The Challenge supports shelters in this innovation. By tracking data and documenting efforts, the ASPCA and Challenge shelters are working together to develop and test new ways to help the thousands of shelters and rescues across the country save more lives.

Rachael Ray Partnership

Why is Rachael Ray partnering with the ASPCA on the $100K Challenge?
All her life, Rachael Ray has been an advocate for animals and a supporter of animal welfare groups. Her love for animals and of her pit bull Isaboo inspired her to create a pet food called Nutrish® to help raise money for animals in need. Rachael donates 100 percent of her proceeds from the sale of Nutrish® to provide funding and support to organizations like the ASPCA that take care of animals who have no one to look out for them. Rachael has made a personal commitment to helping the millions of cats and dogs each year who find themselves in shelters and are in need of a second chance at a new home and a better life. Rachael is partnering with the ASPCA's $100K Challenge, a ground-breaking competition that inspires animal shelters across the country to get more homeless cats and dogs out of shelters and into the loving homes they deserve. In 2012, Rachael is teaming up to offer more than $500,000 in prize grants to winning shelters that connect with their local communities to innovate and save more animals. Last year, $100K Challenge contestants saved more than 52,000 animals in just three months, an increase of nearly 9,000 cats and dogs over the year before.

Didn't find the answer to your question?
Email us here challenge@aspca.org and we'll get right back to you!