The PAWS Auction for the Animals is the largest fundraiser of the year for the Camden-based animal shelter, making it the most important. When it became clear they would need to move the event online in 2020, staff were worried.

“We weren’t sure what to expect,” PAWS Executive Director, Shelly Butler, explained. “We had to cancel three major fundraisers this year due to the pandemic. The fundraisers we were able to hold virtually online helped but didn’t receive the level of participation they typically do at live events.”

Despite the challenges, the PAWS online auction raised more funds than the shelter expected. “We are very grateful to the community,” Butler said. “We set our fundraising goals for this year’s auction conservatively, keeping the pandemic in mind. We ended up exceeding those goals by 33%, which will make such a difference to the animals in 2021.”

A major driver for the auction’s success was a matching gift, which doubled donations to the PAWS Auction for the Animals Fund-a-Cause up to $5,000. Over $10,000 was successfully raised for the Fund-a-Cause alone, which will go toward the purchase of a PAWS Cares van to mobilize PAWS essential services out into the community in 2021.

“We could not have done it without all those who bid on items and especially our event sponsors, including the hundreds of local businesses who donated items to be auctioned off,” Butler said. PAWS 2020 Auction for the Animals sponsors were Fuller Chevrolet; David & Felicia Feldman; Loyal Biscuit Co.; Uncle Willy's Candy Shoppe; Camden House of Pizza; Good Tern Co-op, Penobscot Bay Dentistry; Taxes Plus; The Stone; and Captain Swift Inn.

To support PAWS with the cost of food, shelter, medical care, and rehoming for hundreds of homeless animals every year, visit PAWS is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization; donations are tax-deductible.