I often joke that I thought I got into animal sheltering to worry about animals, not worry about money. The reality is that those two things are intertwined and the way we help animals is by having the resources to give them what they need. As an organization we’ve done a pretty good job of that.
We’ve pretty much always had to work off “cash flow”. In other words, how much we can spend doing our job of saving the lives of animals is based on how much we can bring in in donations and service revenue. We have a pretty limited saved buffer and we’ve never been lucky enough to have a giant endowment like some shelters in our region.
That’s why it kills us when we have budgeted income that doesn’t come in when it’s supposed to. Such as the $110,000 which was supposed to come in to our coffers this month but didn’t. Surprise! That’s money we need to adopt animals, provide surgery and vaccinations, feed the pooches, keep the lights on, heat the buildings, and pay our excellent staff.
We budget as tightly as you probably do with your household income and when we get told, as we just were that the overdue check is “in the mail” in a month or two, it doesn’t help pay the bills right now. It’s even more frustrating when we have had a great year, like we have had, because it means we have to decide where we will cut back on programs or services, even if it’s just for a month or two, services which won’t be in place to help people and pets. When it is life or death, a month or two can be a long time. Too long.
I wish we had ten, twenty, or thirty million bucks in the bank to draw from when an accountant decides to wait an extra couple months before distributing over one hundred thousand dollars given to us by a generous donor who passed away. But we don’t (can you imagine what we could do for animals if we did?!). We just have to squeak by and hope this unexpected and unwelcome shortfall hurts our mission as little as possible.
Fortunately, we are highly efficient, we’ve got discipline and good financial practices- there’s a reason we have a four star charity rating! – and we’ve got you!
Our supporters have always come through for us because they know we do more with less than pretty much anyone out there and we do work on their behalf that makes them proud. I hope our work makes you proud. That’s why I hope you’ll consider helping us out right now, when we need it and are waiting for our critically needed gift to arrive.
Please consider making a gift online right now. Consider giving a gift for holidays (the animals don’t care which one!) in honor of a friend or family member. Have an office dress down day and ask people to donate funds or items from our wish list to help offset our costs. Make a year-end stock transfer to avoid those pesky capital gains taxes or distribute a mandatory IRA payment to the animals. If you’ve already made a gift this season or this year, double check to see if your employer makes matching gifts before the year ends.
We know you probably don’t have an extra $100,000 just sitting around (if you do, call me!) but every little bit helps and together we can all chip in to ensure that the animals get the holiday they deserve and our staff can focus on worrying about the animals and not worrying about money.
That’s my job. Thanks for all you’ve done- and I hope will do- for the animals!