PEOPLE: Turning a hobby into a full-scale charity

Brittany Bloomer’s entrepreneurial journey started from seeing a problem – one that impacted the lives of thousands of animals – and a relentless dedication to solving it. Her charity, Pound Paws, helps to re-home pets in pounds and rescue centres. It operates an online search engine which fast tracks the adoption process, by allowing users to search by breed, age, size, and more.

After learning about how many pets were being euthanized each year and the lack of awareness among potential adopters, Brittany focused on raising awareness for these animals by taking photographs and sharing them on an online blog and to social media. This later evolved into a charity, and social media has become one of their strongest weapons in raising awareness of pets needing new homes.

  • What made you want to start Pound Paws? How have your ambitions with the organisation changed over time?

Pound Paws is something that began as a hobby as a teen, after immersing myself in the Animal Welfare space, volunteering in shelters. I was shocked to discover the devastating statistics back in 2009, of over 250,000 healthy and happy pets getting euthanized in Australian shelters each year.

  • What were the biggest challenges you faced when starting and growing Pound Paws?

The biggest challenge for me was selecting key members for the charity board, as they are your backbone and support! I am really grateful for my board members who all contribute amazing skills to help drive Pound Paws.

  • What have been your most difficult learnings from this experience? How have you changed the way you work and operate because of them?

I am constantly learning new things, as well as being challenged through Pound Paws. As any Founder is aware, you are required to take on lots of different job roles. As a way to continue raising awareness for the charity, I took a risk at hosting an event, with no event management experience. Luckily, it turned out super successful and we are now hosting these events monthly around Australia! I learnt through that experience, that on the opposite side of fear, is bliss!

  • What have you found to be a common misconception of working in or for a charity?

It is not like any other job where you can just switch off. You are emotionally invested in it, which means it is something that you are always working on, thinking about or emotionally attached to.

  • Would you recommend others to consider starting their own charity? Why or why not?

Yes of course, if your passion is strong enough to drive the mission then go for it! Otherwise, there are a lot of amazing charities that are always looking for volunteers, this is just as fulfilling and helpful. Pound Paws is something that originally began as a hobby and because of that strong passion, it has lasted to date and continued to be so successful in re-homing and raising awareness for rescue pets.

About the expert

Brittany Bloomer is the Founder of Pound Paws, an Australian based charity on a mission to raise awareness for pets in Australian pounds and rescue centres. The charity operates an online search engine, which live streams pets available for adoption, whilst also hosting monthly dog adoption events around Australia.