Shelter Challenge FAQ

Questions about our new Shelter Challenge? We've tried to anticipate the most common questions here and will be expanding this page as we receive feedback.

Voting and Sharing FAQs
Not all groups that participated in older Shelter Challenges have chosen to register yet. If your group is missing, send them the link to the Shelter Registration page. If you are responsible for registering your rescue, please follow the instructions on that page and note that it takes up to six business days to verify shelter submitted. Thank you for your patience!
Can't find the vote button? First, check if you (or someone sharing your computer or, in some cases, work network) have already voted anonymously today. If so, you will not see the vote button. (To avoid this, create an account with us--your account means your vote is counted as your own. You get to vote once per day, from 12:01 AM PT to 11:59 PM PT, during an active voting period.) The anonymous vote limitations are just one of our many measures to prevent cheating - which people write in about with concerns every day. Second, has the voting period ended? To find out, go to the homepage (where we'll usually tell you) or to the contest page and click on the name of the current contest (where the voting dates are always listed). The Shelter Challenge is not a 365-day-a-year contest because we need time between contests to vet winners, award prizes, and set up the next one. We thank you for your patience!
Total votes are tallied for each account-holding user during each Shelter Challenge. When a new Shelter Challenge begins, you can expect your total votes to restart at 0.
GreaterGood has made a conscious decision to stop supporting old versions of Internet Explorer because these are no longer supported by Microsoft. This became a choice between spending the money on supporting every version of a browser or giving more money to shelters and rescue groups. We'd rather give more money to shelter and rescue groups. We do support the most recent versions of Internet Explorer by using them in all phases of testing. Our Challenge team has not seen many issues (which is why we ask for screen shots if you do see something unusual), and works hard to resolve those that we are able to reproduce. However, if you are using Internet Explorer 7 or earlier, your experience on our website may be affected. Please consider updating your browser. If you are experiencing regular error messages, our tech team suggests clearing the cache completely, logging out of all pages, closing the browser, and then relaunching the browser. If this doesn't clear the page, look in the your browser search bar for a "broken page" icon and click on that. This may clear red ! or red "system error" box that appears for some but not all IE10 users. This may also go away with the next IE10 patch -- and we recommend staying up-to-date on browser patches when released by Microsoft. We are continuing to work to improve the experience.
To share information about your group, you can create your own account. Once you are signed in, click on link below the "sign in" box that says "Your Totals & Rewards." There you can select a shelter and be able to "recruit" by sharing on a variety of sites including Facebook. There's a more detailed explanation here.
No. You can still vote without creating an account. However, having an account will let you do more to support your favorite rescue group in upcoming Challenges, including recruiting others and participating in some of the mini-contests (like the story and recruiting contests). Also note that there are security restrictions on anonymous votes in order to keep the contest fair. If you are having difficulty voting anonymously, you may wish to consider creating an account.
Problems with a web page can be caused by many things — and we can better understand how to fix it if your email includes some basic information such as the type of browser used and whether or not you were logged into the site when the error occurred. Currently, we show more than 250 combinations of browsers, browser versions, and devices used to access and vote on this site. Unless you tell us which one you're using (browser, browser version, and device), we just aren't able to give you a very specific answer. We will use this information to improve the overall experience of this Challenge website for everyone. Obviously if it is a universal issue, it impacts all groups equally and does not impact just your group. We very much appreciate screenshots if you can take one. It helps our team identify problems more quickly. We do log all reports of issues, even if we are not able to respond to every email sent to us.
If you are seeing odd messages in red or if the page does not seem to be responding appropriately, try clearing your cache by holding down your shift key and reloading the page. If the problem persists, please consider updating your browser. Please note that older versions of Microsoft Windows may not support the current version of the Microsoft web browser, Internet Explorer. If you are relying on an older verion of Windows, please consider using an alternate browser, such as Chrome or Safari. If that still doesn't work, send us an email and let us know what type of browser that you are using. See also the information above about Internet Explorer 10. If you see something that looks like a broken page in your browser bar, click on it and that may fix the issue. If the red box has an X in the corner, click that and it will close. Internet Explorer users may also need to hit the broken page icon in the browser bar to reset page.
Shelter and Grant FAQ
The grants awarded from the Shelter Challenge are used for the care of rescued pets. Past winners have used these grants to pay for medical bills, feed their charges, spay or neuter animals, and to improve facilities housing the pets. You can read stories from winners about how they've used their grants in Shelter Challenge News.
Yes! This is one of the most exciting new features of the Challenge. Learn more here.
No. Groups who fail to provide the proper documentation as requested by will be disqualified and the grant will go to the group with the next highest vote total as outlined in the rules.
No. US-based groups who fail to provide the proper Tax ID (501c3 number or Municipal Shelter EIN, available on your annual 990 form to the IRS) at time of registration as requested by will not have their listing activated. When you provide that information, your listing will be activated. We do recognize that groups outside of the United States have different needs. Let us know if you are located outside the United States and need help with your registration. Please note that all emails concerning a shelter's or rescue group's registration must include the organization's name, physical address, and official email contact information. Emails without that information will be addressed after all others are answered.
If we haven't registered you within 10 business days of your email, it is likely that a vital piece of information was missing from your application. Please double-check your 501c3 number with the IRS (check your 990 form!); that's the usual culprit. If everything was filled in correctly, we recommend you send one more registration email (after 10 business days have elapsed) and a follow up to the Shelter Challenge admin email address. We cannot respond to registration emails directly.
If your organization won a regional award (state, International, US Territories, or Canada) in the last contest during the calendar year, you would not show up in the regional standings chart for the current Shelter Challenge because you can't win that category. You should be visible in other charts. To learn more about the rules for the Winter 2013 Shelter Challenge, click the ABOUT SHELTER CHALLENGE in the purple bar at the top of the page.
Cash grants normally are mailed within seven business days of the winner announcement. Delivery of vaccinations and pet beds can take up to sixty days after winners are announced. Distribution of all prizes is handled by If it is past this time period, an official representative of the winning group should contact for further assistance.
Still Can't Find the Answer?
You might try the Challenge's Facebook page. We answer questions there too! If you don't have a Facebook account, keep reading.
If you still have questions after reading this FAQ and checking the Facebook fan page, please feel free to contact our representative at If you're sending a message about a technical issue, be sure to include what type of browser that you use and attach a screenshot of the problem if you can.
Due to the sheer volume of emails, we are not able to respond to every one. During the first week or two of a Challenge round, priority is given to emails coming from rescue groups and shelters who want to register or who are currently participating. If you are an official representative of an organization, please identify yourself and your group for a faster answer. We also try to respond to new emails asking a question* that is not answered in the FAQ or rules. Please send your question to Emails sent to other addresses may not make it through due to our spam filters. Putting multiple addresses in the "To:" part of your email can add to that problem. All emails concerning a shelter's or rescue group's registration or participation in the Challenge must include at minimum the organization's name and physical address. Emails without that information will be discarded if Shelter Challenge team cannot determine the name of the organization. We cannot answer any questions about "my group" or "that group" without the proper name and location of the organization - imagine someone you've just met asking you, "What do you think of my baseball team?" You wouldn't be able to give a good answer without knowing the name of the team, the league, and the city. We're in the same boat! *If you send us your opinion about something, we will log it but we may not answer it given the volume of email received. If you send the same email more than once, only one will receive an answer. Emails containing abusive language or threats directed at other participants or administrators of the Shelter Challenge may be deleted without response. If the same email is sent daily with abusive language, it will be deleted unread. Email is answered Monday through Friday in order received. Please allow two to three business days, although we will try to answer faster if volume permits.