In order to meet the growing need for SQSPCA services and still cover ever-increasing recurring costs, SQSPCA officials have announced the launch of a new Annual Fund donation tier, the Helping Paws Society, aimed at securing donors at the $1,000+ level.
An anonymous matching challenge will get things started.
“A generous benefactor has thrown down the gauntlet, so to speak,” said SQSPCA Executive Director Stacie Haynes. “To help us build the Helping Paws Society, which will in turn increase operational support, this donor has offered to match donations of $1,000 or more dollar for dollar, up to $100,000.”
New campus presents new fund-raising hurdles
Coming off an extremely successful capital campaign that raised more than $5 million in just under three years, the SQSPCA is currently adjusting to life in both new shelter and thrift store facilities just 1.2 miles north of the former location on State Route 28 between Cooperstown and Oneonta.
“Our new shelter is comparable to a state-of-the-art healthcare facility, with sophisticated and complex plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems designed specifically for our needs,” Haynes explained.
These upgrades are not without continued associated costs, though, Haynes said.
“The reality is that the new building requires additional expense and investment to maintain,” she continued, “and the shelter revenue streams don’t come close to covering recurring operational costs, even prior to the move.
“The combined total of adoption fees, thrift store sales and municipal contract income is far lower than our expenses, especially now, in light of the fact that the maintenance requirements of the new building are more complicated and more expensive,” Haynes explained.
The SQSPCA is dependent upon philanthropy to bridge that gap.
“We are converting from capital campaign to Annual Fund mode not only to meet these new expenses but also to cover recurring costs that continue to escalate, such as insurance and wages,” Haynes said.
Increased services come at a cost
Since 2015 – following restructuring, intensive work with Shelter Management Consultant Barbara Carr, and organizational rebranding – the SQSPCA has increased its footprint substantially throughout Otsego County and the surrounding region. In the last year and a half alone, despite the global pandemic, the SQSPCA has:
· Started and maintains a pet pantry, and eliminated surrender fees, to help individuals and families facing financial difficulties
· Expanded its emergency boarding program for animals belonging to those in crisis
· Provides emergency medical care for animals outside the shelter walls
· Partnering with Otsego County Department of Health to organize and execute free rabies vaccination clinics
· Formed the “PAWS (Puppy Mill Awareness with Shelters) Before You Pay” initiative in collaboration with the Humane Society of the United States, the New York State Animal Protection Federation, the ASPCA, and local shelters
· Absorbed and is continuing the Greater Oneonta Fund for Animal Responsibility (GOFAR) feline low cost spay-neuter clinic
· Formed the Here to Help Hotline and Farm Friends Network to assist with an ever-increasing number of cruelty and hoarding cases and other situations involving farm animals such as pigs, horses, sheep, and goats
“Our intake and adoption statistics are also incredibly improved,” Haynes added. “Animal intake has increased by 143 percent over the past five years. Total animals cared for is up 129 percent, and adoptions have increased by a whopping 226 percent.”
Length of stay for shelter animals has decreased by 55 percent at the SQSPCA, dropping from an average of 67.6 days in 2015 to 30.4 days in 2020.
Helping Paws Society welcomes charter members
The new facilities will further improve the daily lives of sheltered dogs and cats by better conforming to guidelines established by the Association of Shelter Veterinarians. Upgraded features include two entrances separating incoming animals from visitors and animals leaving for their new homes, a sterile surgery suite with safe recovery area, a fresh air ventilation system to benefit visitors as well as animals under shelter care, and convenient parking.
“A vibrant Helping Paws Society will allow us to continue these positive trends in the organization’s efficacy as well as in the public services we are able to provide, and will ensure that we can maximize all the possibilities of the new campus,” Haynes said.
To become a charter member of the Helping Paws Society, call (607) 547-8111, extension 101 to speak with Stacie Haynes. Donors who have already made gifts of $1,000 or more in 2021, or who have SHELTER US pledge payments scheduled, will be included among the list of founding members.
Members will receive an invitation to special events including an annual cocktail reception, a commemorative mug and certificate of membership.