It all started with an idea and an Etsy forum thread. A year and a half later, Etsy for Animals (EFA) has over 530 members, and is one of the largest Teams on Etsy. For EFA’s first Storque post, click here. You can get to the team members’ items by searching "team efa."
Although the only membership requirement is a love for animals, many members also choose to donate a portion of their proceeds to animal charity: either to the EFA charity of the month (this July, the charities are Dogs for the Deaf and the Vancouver Aquarium’s Marine Mammal Rescue Program) or to other animal charities that they individually support. EFA also has a shop, where all items are donated by EFA members, and 100% of proceeds from sales goes to the EFA charity of the month. When contributions from the EFA shop and EFA members are totaled, many small donations add up to large contributions to animal charity.
How does such a large team function? Electronic communication, shared documents, and the EFA Yahoo group, administered by Darktemptations, are essential since team members live all over the world. But, most importantly, many EFA members have volunteered their time to help. Here are just a few of these hard-working people and the EFA projects they’re working on.
[Michele aka mvegan5 and her cat, Moses]
Michele aka mvegan5 is the EFA team founder and co-leader. She’s a California artist who currently lives and works in Israel. Michele says, "I’ve always known I wanted to help animals and be an artist, and have now been able to combine the two." Michele is the contact for new members, writes the EFA newsletter, manages the EFA Flickr group, assists with the EFA shop, and promotes EFA wherever she can.
[El aka ElephantDance modeling her blue and white spiraling cloche]
El aka ElephantDance is the EFA co-leader, and administers the Etsy for Animals shop with the help of eight dedicated volunteers. El recently moved to California from Saipan, a small island in the Northern Mariana Islands. El says, "Seeing the poor neglected animals on the streets of Saipan convinced me that I needed to do something, even if it was one animal at a time." El also manages the EFA blog and her own two Etsy shops while working, going to school, creating lovely crochet, and running a Help the Puppies campaign to provide ongoing medical care for animals she rescued in Saipan.
Haley aka haleyshandmades contributes many hours of her free time to maintain the EFA website. She also creates wonderful poodle artwork. Her favorite piece, made when she was a student at Washington University in St. Louis, is Poodles Crossing the Delaware, a huge 3 foot by 5 foot print of poodles fighting in the American Revolution, based on the painting by Emanuel Leutze.
The multi-talented LolaLynn organizes the EFA monthly challenges where EFA members vote on a challenge theme each month, and then members submit entries based on that theme. Entries are then showcased on the EFA blog, in forum threads, and in Treasuries. Lynn says, "I so firmly support El and Michele’s mission that I took on coordinating and editing the monthly challenge even though I knew nothing about blogs! In the process I have made new friends and learned a lot."
[Etsy for Animals logo, designed by alilsumptinsumptin]
Welsh felt artist and costume designer, Kim aka Midnightrabbits, keeps track of donation requests that EFA receives from animal charity groups for handmade items to be used in fundraising activities. Many EFA members have contributed their time and talent to create items for these fundraisers.
Fiber artist, Marjorie aka WHSKR, is the EFA publicity coordinator. Marjorie, who lives in New Zealand, says that when she first joined EFA, she was concerned that her relatively small contribution would not make a difference but then realized that the small amounts contributed by many sellers "all grow together to make a donation of several hundred dollars each month. People can touch the other side of the world without leaving home — it’s an astonishing thought and a powerful motivator."
You can meet EFA members in the lively and fun weekly EFA team chats hosted by Gena aka Dogonwear every Thursday from 10:30 to 11:30 AM ET in the Etsy Virtual Labs. Come on in to network, learn, and have fun! Gena, who designs canine fashions, also organized a cooperative quilt project as an EFA fundraiser. The quilt will be available soon in the EFA shop. Stay tuned!