For the Love of Animals – Part 2

By Diane Robertson

Date:  08/06/2013

On August 2, 2013 I created a rather long blog post about facts, figures and information requirements in rescue.  It was basically a rant or a wish list for the rescue that I work with.  Since I spent so much time and energy writing about data, I now see more and more of the articles and videos that others have produced on the topic of information gathering and publication of that data.  It is the publication of data that helps tell the story of what we are doing and how well we are doing.

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There are statistics from national organizations about total intake and kill rates from their members.  There are statistics from individual public shelters.  Then there are the statistics that rescue organizations should be posting.  Shelters are now often posting how many dogs and cats were sent to rescue organizations.  I want the rescue organizations to show how many of those animals received they handled and their overall numbers.  The overall number for some rescues will help people understand that there are many, many, many more unwanted dogs and cats than the 6-8 million often reported (that comes from national organizations).

Let’s help tell the story of the plight of our beloved pets so we can encourage more adoptions, more spay and neuter, more volunteers, more foster parents and yes, more donations to help fund these critical organizations.

Donate to Animal Outreach of the Mother Lode Today:  http://www.strutyourmutt.org/team/ao.

I am not alone in my deep belief in the value of data in animal rescue.

Following are links to other articles on the topic of data, facts, figures and the value of information in animal shelters and rescue.

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.

I Need Your Support, PLEASE

Strut Your Mutt Campaign

StrutBanner1

Supporting Animal Outreach of the Mother Lode’s Strut Your Mutt fundraiser is a good idea.   Here is just a small reminder of why so many support us with their time, talent and financial support:

  • Animal  Outreach (AO) provides FREE feral cat spay and neuter services.
  • AO provides low-cost spay and neuter services for dogs and cats.
    • AO reduces the number of unwanted cats and dogs in El Dorado county by thousands and thousands every year! Last year, AO performed over 7,300 spay and neuter procedures.  Wow!  Each procedure requires an experienced vet and many support staff to handle the appointments, paperwork, surgery preparation, recovery and release as well as medications.  This is an expensive procedure that AO provides either free or at a minimal cost.
  • AO provides affordable, no appointment necessary, walk-in vaccination services.
  • AO rescues dogs and cats from high-kill shelters in California and works with the local shelter to help with their over flow of dogs, cats, kittens and puppies.
    • Providing a temporary home and medical care for homeless pets allows these animals the time and care they need to find their permanent homes.  Thousands of animals are saved from death, every year, by the hard-working, caring folks at Animal Outreach of the Mother Lode.

Animal Outreach is competing against 75 other SPCA’s, shelters and rescue groups across America for the top prize of The Golden Bone awardThe Golden Bone award goes to the group that raises the most money in this Strut Your Mutt campaign that ends in September.  You, our supporters, can show the entire country that we have the best supporters by doing well in this competition.  This would be a fantastic award and would allow AO to strut our stuff all over TV and newspapers! This award will help raise awareness of the problem of homeless animals everywhere as well as the needs in our community.

The most money raised by the participating groups,  so far,  is just over $6,000.  The AO Strut Your Mutt Team goal is only $5,000.  However, with your help,  the team could easily meet or exceed that goal and capture the coveted Golden Bone award.

There is another award up for grabs, The Golden Collar Award.  This award is  for the person who raises the most money overall.  This would be another great achievement that you or one of our current team members could win.

Let’s Do It!

What You Can Do To Help…

It takes a lot of money, donations and volunteers to keep this organization and its programs running. Thank you on behalf of all the dogs, cats, kittens and puppies whose lives are touched and saved because of generous supporters like you!

Diane Robertson

Animal Outreach of the Mother Lode VolunteerAOHeading

Strut Your Mutt Campaign Poster

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Latest Strut Your Mutt Poster

Latest Strut Your Mutt Poster

Come join our team!

Vote for Animal Outreach of the Mother Lode! Winner gets $1,000.

ImageAnimal Outreach of the Mother Lode invites you to help them win an online contest.  It doesn’t cost you anything.  You sign up at the rescue site (your name and email address are the only things required) and then vote for us.  You can vote every day.

Of course in the process of doing all this the rescue site would like you to become aware of the wonderful items they have for sale.  I have personally purchased quite a few things and have been extremely happy with their quality and service.

Can I count you in?  Help us raise $1,000 by just clicking a link and voting.

==============Here is more information:==========================

The NEW Shelter Challenge!

Welcome to the Doggy Paddle – your chance to get to know our new Shelter Challenge technology.  Create an account, share your shelter, and more!  Between June 5 and June 18, you can vote for your favorite shelter every day – five winning shelters will each win a $1,000 grant!

New Poster for Strut Your Mutt

New Poster for Strut Your Mutt

By Diane Robertson. Please participate in any way you can.

Strut Your Mutt 2013

By Diane Robertson

The annual Strut Your Mutt fundraising event has begun.  This is a group of animal welfare organizations that are getting together to walk to save homeless pets across the country.  This year there will be walks in 11 cities in the United States plus “virtual” walks for those of us who are not near those cities.

This is a huge event and I am personally asking each of you to support me in my fundraising efforts.  All donations on my page are Tax Deductible as they will go directly to Animal Outreach of the Mother Lode, a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization that rescues cats and dogs from Northern California shelters before they are killed due to lack of space.  My personal fundraising goal is $500, Animal Outreach of the Mother Lode’s goal is $5,000 and the event is hoping to raise $1.5 Million.

Please help me save more cats and dogs this year by sponsoring my Strut Your Mutt Walk.  Thank You!  Here is a link to my fundraising page:

http://www.strutyourmutt.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=donordrive.participant&participantID=15735

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