Today, I was saddened to find an email in my inbox that my "co-founder" had forwarded to me in response to that flyer. It is from Mark Heiny, a Board Member for DOGPAW (the company that runs all of this area's dog parks). It says:
DOGPAW constructs and maintains the information kiosks for posting of our organizations information and approved advertisements (Non-profit and paid advertisers). Since your meet-ups require a fee they would be considered a for-profit advertiser.
If you are interested in advertising at the Dakota Park or all four of our parks, please see below for further details and cost. If you do not wish to sign up to advertise at the parks, we kindly ask that you do not continue to post your company information on the kiosks.
DOGPAW welcomes your advertising and sponsorship. Reach your target audience - and support the DOGPAW mission - a low-cost, high-traffic message promoting your business.
We offer in-park advertising on banners, flyers, and business cards. Your advertising donation also includes a "sponsor spotlight" logo link on each of our web pages. Our website attracts approx 1200 visitors per month and our parks have approx 1600 total visitors per day.
Please submit your “dog related” advertisement, completed form, and payment to DOGPAW.
*Sponsor Ad Manager(s): *email@example.com
Completely staffed by dedicated volunteers!
Phone: (888) 899-0025
So, I fired an email back:
My name is Meagan. I am the one that posted the flyers for our meet-up at your dog park. I was forwarded your email.
I just want to start by saying I am not trying to argue with you but I want to make our group perfectly clear to you.
I understand everyone is out to make a buck, your company included. I understand you may think we are too because we charge a small fee. That is in fact not true.
We are a small group of individuals that own Puggles. We have formed a group (NOT a company) by word of mouth and by using Face Book to find other Puggle owners interested in meeting for play dates. LazyDog CrazyDog is a doggy daycare facility that has let us use their building to meet at during the winter months. Our $3.00 fee goes to them for that use. We (PDX Puggles) are simply a group of individuals that get together to socialize our dogs. We don't get profit from it.
The day I posted these flyers at Dakota was my 2nd visit to a dog park (the 1st was at Ross). On this day my 5 month old puppy got bit severely and had to be rushed to the vet. Not only did this experience make me vow to never visit a dog park again, you email has furthered solidified that.
I simply can't pay your outrageous advertising fee when I get nothing in return. We are not selling a play-date to people. We are not being paid to advertise for LazyDog CrazyDog. I hope I have helped clarify things for you.
The 8 1/2 X 11 full color, laminated flyer and color business cards cost a lot of my own dollars to make. I would appreciate it if you mailed them back to:
Vancouver, WA XXX
By clicking over to the link to buy advertising space you will find this:
8.5" x 11" Flyer at Both Kiosks:
$30/3-month (min per site - double fee to post multi-site).
$50/6-month (one month free with 6-months prepaid per one-site - double fee to post multi-site).
$100/year (two months free with one year prepaid per one-site - double fee to post multi-site).
Business Card at Both Kiosks:
$15/3-month (min per site - double fee to post multi-site).
$25/6-month (one month free with 6-months prepaid per one-site - double fee to post multi-site).
$50/year (two months free with one year prepaid per one-site - double fee to post multi-site).
Site Location: Brush Prairie, Ross, and Stevenson (all options available) or Dakota.
Again, I am just deeply saddened that we can not "advertise/promote" our community group, at the one place we are sure to attract Puggle owners, because by charging a $3.00 fee we are considered a "for-profit organization."
Give me a break!
UPDATE: I have heard back from Mark- at least he is prompt.
I would like to clarify that DOGPAW is a 503c Non Profit Organization that, with volunteers, builds and maintains off-leash parks in Clark County. We utilize the donations, volunteer membership fees and advertising income to build and maintain these parks.
I understand that you may not profit from the fee that is charged for your meet ups, but our policy is that unless the advertiser is a non-profit or is only posting for an event that does not require a fee, then they would fall under the requirement to pay for the advertising of the information. Since your meet-up requires a fee, even though it does not directly benefit your group, it would require an advertising fee.
I am sorry to hear that your had an incident at the Dakota Park, we try and maintain a safe environment for the park users, however in the end the owners of the dogs are responsible for the actions of their pets and any costs associated with injuries they may incur on others. In three of the parks, Ross, Brush Prairie and Stevenson in Washougal, we have dedicated small/shy dog areas to allow the separation of dogs of different sizes and we have a fund set up to finance the building of a small dog area at Dakota.
We would be unable to mail back your flyer, but if you have a member of your group visit Dakota, I would suggest you have them pick it up. We will leave the advertisement on the kiosk's until late next week.
Completely staffed by dedicated volunteers!
Phone: (888) 899-0025
So, I have just a few more thoughts on the subject tonight.
1.) I am not against donating money or volunteering time to provide and maintain dog parks in this city. In fact, I am very thankful for DOGPAW. They maintain four dog parks in my area- the only four dog parks in my area.
2.) I understand that the money for maintenance and up-keep has to come from somewhere. I, however, do not agree with their policy in this case. We, PDX Puggles, do not get paid in the true meaning of "for-profit." The money passes directly through our hands and is used to pay LazyDog CrazyDog for the use of their facility.
3.) I am well aware that: "owners of the dogs are responsible for the actions of their pets and any costs associated with injuries..." And my dog has had one too many surgeries, injuries, rounds and rounds of pain medications and antibiotics. It is just not worth the risk.
4.) Please, don't even go there: "we have dedicated small/shy dog areas to allow the separation of dogs of different sizes..." My dog is not so small she needs to be segregated. And she is not shy. As I have said before. I place no blame about the incident. If I wanted to blame someone, or get them to pay my vet visit that day...what should I have done? Left my injured dog in my car to bleed from her nose while I walked around the park looking for the owner of the offending dog. Don't even get me started.
5.) Of course, when I wrote in my email that I would prefer my flyer mailed back to me, I was joking. I fully expected it to be in the trash. I am pleasantly surprised to hear that it is still up. I will go retrieve it- not just because it cost me a few dollars to make, but because I want to post it somewhere else around the city.
We are just a group of people who love our Puggles. Like minded people. We have formed a community around these dogs, this wonderful breed, and enjoy seeing each other monthly. I just wanted to let other Puggle owners know that they are not alone.