By Kerrin Jeromin
Volunteers prepping goodie boxes for the 2021 virtual Furry Scurry.
Sneakers? Check. Four-legged friend? Check. Scurry along your favorite path or trail to support homeless pets and horses throughout Colorado? Check!
For the 28th year, community members set out on two (or four) legs to support the Dumb Friends League in the annual Furry Scurry. Typically one of the League’s largest and most successful fundraising events, this year “scurriers” set off and participated virtually from a place most convenient for them.
For the second time, the Furry Scurry went on as a fully virtual event in 2021. Unlike in 2020, when the sudden emergence of Covid-19 forced changes to accommodate a virtual event, this year’s event was planned to be virtual from start to finish—a first and entirely new, challenging task for the Special Events team.
“When planning a virtual event, you have to think ‘how do I bring the event to the participants while still making them feel like they are in-person with everyone’?” shared Brittney Martz, the League’s special events coordinator.
And, while there’s nothing quite like the in-person experience with thousands of people and pups gearing up for the walk, the League managed to make event day special in new ways by bringing the activities to the people.
Participants experienced “vendor row” delivered by way of thousands of stuffed boxes. Packed up by League volunteers, each box was filled with event day goodies, including an official Furry Scurry T-shirt, pet treats, coupons, gear and loads of other fun items they would have received at the event from pet-friendly sponsors and vendors.
Special social media activities also brought the Furry Scurry to the people, getting great interaction from social media influencers and novices alike.
“We had tons of pictures coming in on our social media from participants nationwide, sharing with us their walk photos and wearing their Furry Scurry gear. It was so much fun to see!” said Martz.
And while it is certainly a different type of experience, the Events team recognizes the advantages of having virtual events, allowing the event to be even more accessible to the community.
Compared to last year’s event, the Furry Scurry had an increase in both the number of fundraisers and the average dollar amount raised.
In total, more than 1,900 people registered for this year’s Furry Scurry, raising over $485,500, which Martz said is very strong for a virtual event.
“We are super excited to know our mission is connecting with people who want to do more than just register. They want to make an impact,” said Martz.
So, will virtual events be the new norm? Likely not.
The next Furry Scurry is set to take place on May 7, 2022, and the team is hopeful to be able to “scurry” together as a community once again. “We are keeping our fingers crossed it will be in-person next year, and so far the outlook on that is looking good,” said Martz.