Vision, Value, Facts and Figures for the love of Animals

Blog Post Dated 08/02/2013

 By Diane Robertson

Animal Outreach of the Mother Lode (AO) must share information with the public that shows the facts about the organization so they can acquire more donors and donations

One of the things that I have not been sharing with you, my blog post readers, is what your donation to Animal Outreach of the Mother Lode means.  You know what AO does because you can see their Facebook posts and Web Pages.  You can see images of available dogs and cats and the stories of adopted pets on Facebook.  You also have a good idea of what AO needs because they do try to let you know.  Animal Outreach always needs more volunteers, foster parents and monetary donations.  Sometimes, AO asks for specific items such as copy paper or laundry soap.

Did you know that Animal Outreach of the Mother Lode has a “Wish List” on Amazon?  Well, it looks out of date right now.  Yep, one more thing AO “should do” better.

What you do NOT know now are the numbers.  You do not know how many animals were helped last month or last quarter or what form that help took.  You do not know how much money it would take to foster five more dogs or spay one more community cat.  I would like to share this information with you so that you know more about how your donation is used and inspire you to give even more.  I do not have this information therefore I have outlined some questions for Animal Outreach below.

Without answers to at least some of the following questions, Animal Outreach fundraising and volunteer recruitment campaigns are limited in their effectiveness.  People want to know how the money is used and what a donation can accomplish for the organization.  People want to know the impact their  donations are having on the organization.  They know that Animal Outreach save lives.  But, they also want to know more precisely what their donations and/or volunteer work will accomplish.

Here are some questions looking for answers:

  • How many dogs and cats were adopted last week, last month, last quarter, last year?
  • How many surgeries were performed overall (last month, last quarter, last year and then break-down the types of surgeries performed)?
  • How many vaccinations were provided overall?  Then break these down by type of pet (dog or cat), the owner (Animal Outreach or someone else) and perhaps by vaccination type.  For example, knowing that AO provided X number of Rabies vaccinations to clinic dogs and X number to their foster dogs might be interesting to know.
  • How many exams were performed (visits to the clinic aside from surgeries)?
  • What was the intake for dogs, cats and dogs/cats combined last month, last quarter and last year?  Compare this to the same time-period a year earlier.
  • How many dogs does AO have in foster care today/this week/this month?  Compare that to the same time-period last year.  Repeat for cats.
  • What is the average length of stay/AO ownership for dogs?  Cats?
  • How much money did AO receive in monetary donations last month, last quarter, last year?  Compare that to the same period last year.  Perhaps  break down donations into categories that can be readily tracked such as Razoo, Strut Your Mutt, Change Jars and receipted monetary donations made via check or credit card.
  • How much money was raised by each fundraising event?  How many tickets were sold?  Share some pictures of the event or venue.  Compare that to that same event last year, if applicable.
  • How many registered volunteers does Animal Outreach have?  How many active volunteers does Animal Outreach have?  How many volunteers does Animal Outreach need?
  • How many members does Animal Outreach have on the Board of Directors?  How many do they want or need?
  • Does Animal Outreach have or want to have any advisory committees?  For what purposes and how many people do they want or need?
  • What public reports are produced annually?  When are they produced?  Are they available online?

What good are numbers anyway?

When numbers are available, information can be produced that helps people make decisions on donating and volunteering with an organization.  Numbers inform potential donors how much money it will take to care for the “average” cat in the shelter or provide the discounted veterinary services to the public next month.  Numbers can inspire and motivate staff, volunteers and donors.  Most importantly perhaps, goals can be set.  Goals must be measurable to be of any use.  So, setting and tracking progress on goals is critical to success and everyone wants Animal Outreach to be successful. Numbers can also let supporters know where the organization has been, where it is now and where it wants to go in the future.

There is a problem with these ideas though.  It takes time and staff or volunteer effort to produce.  It takes skilled labor that AO may not always have available.

This is where you, your friends and co-workers can help.  Volunteer, foster, donate and support Animal Outreach of the Mother Lode to ensure the organization has the resources it needs to provide the services for the community and yes, the public information you desire.  Write , visit or email Animal Outreach yourself.  AO’s contact information is provided at the end of this post.

Background

Many people are attracted to volunteering with animal welfare organizations.  There is a lot of work to do that takes only a little training and yet the sense of accomplishment can be staggering.  The animals are grateful and you know it!  You can see it and you can feel it!  Examples of some of these hands-on rescue operations include:

  • Pulling (rescuing) dogs and cats from high-kill shelters or over burdened shelters
  • Transporting animals from a shelter to Animal Outreach
  • Transporting animals to AO for treatment or to an adoption event when a foster parent cannot
  • Fostering a dog or cat and seeing them adopted by their forever families
  • Providing socialization for the cats at the AO shelter
  • Providing clean water, clean liter boxes and/or a clean living environment to the cats at the AO shelter
  • Caring for the sick and injured animals AO has rescued
  • Providing adoption assistance to people looking for their next dog or cat

There is another part of rescue that does not necessarily involve direct, hands-on, live-supporting activities.  Much less glamorous perhaps, but just as important as all the other work to save the lives of animals.  I call these behind-the-scenes activities the business activities.  It takes skilled and some semi-skilled labor to keep the organization functioning and moving forward.  Examples of some  business activities include:

  • Financial accounting including payroll, payroll taxes and income tax accounting
  • Fundraising
  • Computer and network maintenance (Information Technology)
  • Data entry
  • Customer service including opening the snail mail, answering emails, answering and returning telephone calls and text messages
  • Supply management
  • Volunteer recruitment, training and management
  • Staff training and supervision
  • Shelter management and monitoring
  • Accounts payable and receivable activities
  • Marketing activities including community outreach, producing Facebook posts, writing newsletters, writing blogs, producing brochures and information sheets, producing and maintaining program information sheets, etc.
  • Establishing, updating and monitoring programs
  • And the list goes on and on

Animal Outreach of the Mother Lode has been serving California for over 20 years.  They do a lot for the community.  They do a lot for animals.  And, yes, they need to improve communication and reporting for their volunteers, donors and supporters.  It is not that they lack ideas on what to do.  I am sure they have an endless stream of “you should do this” coming at them.  I think they need a lot more skilled volunteers in the areas of finance, accounting, marketing and management.  I don’t know much about the business side of AO so I am assuming all this based on what I do know and what is not available now.  I have ideas for a Director of Marketing position.  If you are a Director of Marketing or know someone who is, please contact me or AO to discuss volunteering some of your valuable time.

Do you want to save the life of a dog or cat that has done nothing to deserve death at the hands of an over-burdened animal shelter?  Great!  Volunteer, donate, foster and support Animal Outreach of the Mother Lode.  Ask your friends and family to join you.  Together, we can get and keep this organization staffed with the professional, skilled and semi-skilled volunteer work force needed to get ALL the jobs done right, all of the time.

Go to Animal Outreach at 6101 Enterprise Drive Diamond Springs, CA and fill-out a volunteer application or get a volunteer application online at their website, http://animaloutreach.net.  You can also telephone them at 530.642.2287.  I am always willing to answer any questions that I can.  Please contact me via email at aodiane@comcast.net or message me through Facebook.

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