If you’ve not heard of it, our Name a Puppy scheme (NAP for short) provides our supporters with the unique opportunity to name a guide dog puppy and be at the heart of their story as they aspire to become a future life-changer! As well as giving the special gift of a name – the first and most important word a pup will learn, supporters will follow their journey with us, gaining exclusive insights into the world of Guide Dogs along the way. Anyone who raises or donates over £2,500 can Name a Puppy, whether as an individual, with a group of friends or social group, with colleagues as part of a workplace challenge or charity of the year fundraiser.
I’ve been with Guide Dogs for nearly 20 years, and I’ve been involved with NAP since its creation pre-2009. We’ve had the pleasure of working with such a wide range of supporters in that time, from local businesses and national retailers, to social and sporting groups, families affected by sight loss and those who have fundraised to leave a lasting tribute to a loved one. We’ve had fantastic feedback over the years, but with technology progressing, and our services expanding, we wanted to reflect this within Name a Puppy and we’re really excited to be launching our reinvigorated scheme.
At Guide Dogs, we pride ourselves on listening to everyone in our family – whether that’s the people we support, those who volunteer their time, or those who kindly donate to us. So in early 2021, we set about talking, but most importantly listening, to everyone involved in Name a Puppy - from the supporters who have named puppies in the past, to our account managers and volunteers, to the teams behind the scenes who create our bespoke ‘Pupdates’. We wanted to hear what they thought of NAP and, more importantly, how they thought it could be improved.
We’re extremely grateful for all the feedback we received and, after a great deal of thought, time and effort, we’re delighted with how NAP looks now. Everything has been given a facelift, from our Name a Puppy leaflet to what a supporter can choose to receive. Our web pages and social media channels look fantastic in our refreshed brand colours too.
Now, instead of following a pup to a specific milestone as you did in our old format, every supporter will find out what their new role will be. I think it’s wonderful that everyone gets to hear what happens to the puppy they have named, whether that’s becoming a guide dog, buddy dog, guide dog mum or dad, or even when a role with Guide Dogs is not right for them. We put the emotional and physical welfare of our dogs at the heart of everything we do at Guide Dogs, and we firmly believe that we should celebrate every one of our named pups, regardless of which future role might be right for them.
We’ve added personalised puppy photos to Pupdates and introduced new additions to some of our naming levels, such as a family tree and biographies of the pup’s mum and dad. Some of our naming options offer either a digital or in person visit with the puppy too!
NAP has always had four different levels for donors to choose from, and one thing we haven’t changed are the fundraising or donation amounts to name a puppy. But we have renamed the levels as ‘Name’ (for £2,500), ‘Raise’ (£5,000), ‘Train’ (£10,000) and ‘Transform’ (£50,000), which better reflect the language we use as a modern charity.
We aspire to a future when every single one of our guide dog puppies is sponsored, be that through our Name a Puppy or Sponsor a Puppy schemes. I’m confident that our new-look NAP will help us to do just that and will be a big hit with supporters old and new. We’ve already received some incredible feedback from our current Name a Puppy supporters, volunteers and colleagues, and we’re excited to see what the future holds.