Years ago, I received a mailing from Philabundance, that I remember to this day. If you don’t know them, Philabundance is now the primary food bank for the Greater Philadelphia area. But it started out as one woman in a station wagon picking up leftover food from restaurants, bakeries and grocery stores and distributing it to organizations that fed the homeless. At the time of the mailing, they were still a relatively small organization that was using almost exclusively volunteer labor to pick up the food, thereby keeping expenses at a minimum with the thought that the money they raised would stretch further that way. But then they took a step back and re-examined that assumption. Was an all-volunteer labor force really allowing them to accomplish the most good? They arrived at a different conclusion.
The mailing explained to donors why they needed to spend the money to hire paid drivers rather than rely exclusively on volunteers. They knew that people saw how much they were able to accomplish with volunteers and would question the need for paid staff. Philabundance management explained that the restaurants and other organizations providing the leftover food needed the reliability of agreed upon pick up times that remained constant week in and week out, something that is difficult to accomplish with volunteers with variable schedules. Inevitably, family and work priorities sometimes trump volunteer commitments. They found that the investment in paid staff multiplied what they could accomplish and more than justified the expense.
Hand2Paw finds itself at a similar crossroads. We have looked into working with more animal shelters and more organizations assisting at risk young people but we are constrained by the geography and availability of our volunteers to both put these programs together and to execute them. We believe we could materially increase the human and animal lives that we can touch with a paid staff person whose efforts can be devoted to coordinating with the facilities we serve and marshaling volunteers to assist the youth during our shelter visits. It is difficult to accomplish all that while working a full time schedule. We now have a paid staff member in the Summer supervising three interns providing much needed enrichment and attention to the animals at the Pennsylvania SPCA. This allows us to see how much more we could accomplish with a year round staff person and inspires us to ask for your help.
This brings us to the Dog Days of Summer Campaign. We are small and your donation has a real impact on us. This is kind of embarrassing to admit but we rejoice over every check and every PayPal notification we get. J Our tails wag and everything! Since we trust you love dogs as much as we do and the Dog Days of Summer are upon us, we are asking you to sign up during August as a monthly supporter in any amount you are comfortable with. Monthly support we can rely on will provide us the security we need to bring on a staff member. We will thank every donor publicly on social media (unless you don’t want that) and film a video especially for you of a shelter dog jumping for joy in a baby pool! How’s that for immediate gratification!