Cover Story: Cows and Chickens and Naked Celebs! (Oh My!)
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. PETA. Its approach to getting people’s attention is bold, ballsy, bewitching — and often includes ads that feature celebrities in their birthday suits.
In the name of protecting every animal’s health and well-being, PETA investigates and exposes gruesome practices at slaughterhouses and animal-testing facilities, goes after fast-food meccas like McDonald’s and KFC, and protests any fashionista who thinks wearing fur is chic.
PETA knows that once you have people’s attention, and you have them talking and listening — and thinking — the next logical step is giving. The 28-year-old organization’s catchy slogans, in-your-face ads, and top-notch direct-mail and e-mail campaigns helped it raise a remarkable $31 million-plus in the fiscal year 2006 to 2007.
And it doesn’t hurt that PETA has a history of using its funds efficiently. In that same year, nearly 84 percent of its operating expenses covered programs that fight animal exploitation; only 11.96 percent was spent on fundraising efforts and 4.26 percent went to management and general operations, according to PETA’s Web site.
PETA has the formula figured out, for sure. But it knows that resting on its considerable laurels isn’t an option. Reaching members of every generation, whether they give now or 10 years from now, is paramount, so in addition to multiple sites devoted to cows, fur and going vegetarian, it also hosts sites that cater to both the young and old.
The organization most recently launched PETA Prime, which reaches out to baby boomers — those born in the post-World War II era between 1946 and 1964. Karen Taggart, PETA’s manager of fundraising innovations, is behind the effort, which launched in fall 2008.
“The target demographic is a little older, baby boomers,” Taggart says. “People think this group isn’t online, but they are there paying bills, shopping.”