Oct 10, 2014

Our Fail Forward Story: Do your due diligence

Project POOCH Youth and Dog Bonding
Project POOCH Youth and Dog Bonding

Project POOCH, Inc.®, is a small non-profit with a lean outreach staff. We accomplish a lot with a small budget, and most of the funds donated to our organization go directly toward our mission and program rather than to fundraising or administration. Since every dollar counts, we believe it’s important to choose fundraising opportunities wisely. There are lives and futures depending on us to make sound financial decisions. 

We wanted to share our Fail Forward story with our supporters to demonstrate our commitment to being transparent and accountable to you. Read below to learn about a lesson we learned.....

Failure: Partnering with a business without a written agreement and clear understanding of what the business is offering. Result: not getting our return on investment and raising less funds than planned. 

This summer we hosted a fundraising event at an area business and advertised it based on what we understood the business was offering in terms of proceeds that would benefit our non-profit. We were very excited to partner with them and it seemed like it would be a fun and successful event as we heard a fair amount of buzz about it from supporters. A good number of people attended the event which was wonderful and from that standpoint, the event was a success! 

However, what didn’t work out as planned is how funds were being raised for us. Attendees made purchasing decisions based on our advertising, thinking they were helping raise more funds for our organization. After all, in addition to having the opportunity to socialize with fellow supporters and dog lovers, they were there to help raise funds critical to our mission. The evening went well and based on our understanding of how the business structured the benefit, we thought we had a successful night. We were excited to see how much we had raised to support our work. 

Well, several months passed and no check came from the business. After several attempts to follow up with the business, still no response, explanation, or funds. Finally, a member of our staff was able to catch the business owner on the phone. 

In the course of the conversation, it became clear that what had been discussed between another representative at our organization and the business did not match what was relayed and ultimately advertised to the public. The business owner assumed they had met their obligation and chalked it up to a misunderstanding.

We failed to make sure the person marketing the event was in the room when the deal was struck. This did lead to a misunderstanding. We also failed to get an agreement in writing that would have spelled out what was expected by and from us and the business. In the end, while we did raise some funds at the event, we didn’t meet our fundraising expectations. 

Lesson learned:

It is critical to have all parties involved at the table from the beginning. This ensures everyone is on the same page, everyone is hearing the same information, and any concerns can be sussed out at the start. This would have allowed us to be fully informed and to determine in advance if the event and/or partnering with this business would raise enough money to make it worthwhile. 

In addition, get it in writing! This would have made follow up much easier. The business would have known what was expected of them and would have had to fulfill their obligation. We would have had a clearer idea of how much money we would raise.

Being a small non-profit like many that are on GlobalGiving, we have to be very careful and mindful about how we spend our limited resources. We are beholden not only to the young men and dogs we serve, but also to our donors and our community. Making sure our fundraising efforts will give us the return on investment we require is our responsibility. Before investing money or too much time, we learned we must do our due diligence when planning fundraising efforts and have clear communications with the businesses with which we partner.


Jul 25, 2014

Robi finds true love

Robi's transformation

Robi is a handsome Komondor who was with us for almost 8 months! He came to us in a need of a little grooming as his long cords, naturally formed by his fur, had become matted (see lower left of pic). As with every dog in our care, the young men working at Project POOCH, Inc., gave Robi the time and attention he required.

Being a Komondor, Robi had some special needs. His fur can be very difficult to maintain as it can take days to dry, holds dirt, and can become matted. This is why you see Robi sporting a puppy cut to help keep him clean. Keeping his fur clipped and clean became a top priority in maintaining his overall health and wellbeing.

Komondors are a large breed with males weighing an average of 80 lbs. They were originally bred as independent protectors of livestock. As such, Komondors like Robi are independent thinkers who can be stubborn and domineering. Robi would definitely need a special home with a human companion equipped and ready to work with him, socialize him, and provide him with plenty of exercise and love.

Robi’s trainer worked diligently with him, teaching him basic commands, so that he, like all the dogs who come to Project POOCH, could pass his Canine Good Citizen test. Robi succeeded, proving he is a gentle, loving soul, who just needed and wanted gentle, consistent guidance, companionship and love.

One day, a woman came in to meet Robi after seeing him online. It was love at first sight! She just knew they were meant to be together.

Just days after Robi went to live with his new mom, we received this email: 

“I absolutely love Robi. He's such a gentle giant, a puppy at heart, and a great companion for Pharoah and me. He's enjoying our walks, running around in the backyard, watching the koi (he barks at them when they splash), sleeps like a baby, and is eating well. He wakes me up in the morning by putting his head on the bed and breathing in my ear....so quiet and sweet. I plan to regularly visit his POOCH trainer (and everyone at Project POOCH). He raised a fabulous dog and I'm eternally grateful to him. Robi and I are a perfect match!

All is better than I imagined. He’s a wonderful companion and unlike any other dog I’ve ever loved. Everyone is having fun with him.”

Robi’s trainer, and all of us at Project POOCH, were thrilled his patience and efforts paid off, and that after a long wait, Robi finally found the forever home he deserved! 

We are so grateful to those who support our work. It is amazing the big impact a little love, attention, compassion, and kindness can have on the lives of the dogs and youth in our program. Your support makes this possible. Thank you.


Jul 14, 2014

The power of patience and love


Meet Rusty—a handsome boy with the odds against him. He came to Project POOCH, Inc.®, from another shelter where not much was known about him because he was a stray. He had been there two months when Project POOCH found him. This sweet and friendly guy wasn’t attracting potential adopters—neither at the shelter where we found him nor at Project POOCH. 

That’s where our unique program comes in! 

It affords the dogs, and the youth, the promise of a better future. At Project POOCH, we have no time limits on how long a dog stays with us. We’re in it for the long haul, keeping hope alive, and remaining committed to each dog and youth in our program. 

We NEVER give up hope that a brighter future is just around the corner. 

Our mission is to help build that brighter future. Every day, the dogs and youth in our program work together, forge a bond, and help each other find their way to happier futures. 

The youth at MacLaren are dedicated to the dogs, like Rusty, in their care. To hear the youth talk about the dogs and the transformation in their own lives will make your heart skip a beat. They understand that while Project POOCH has given them a chance to better their lives, they in turn, have been entrusted to do the same for dogs like Rusty. 

It took over 3 years for Rusty to find his forever family. Rusty loved people, but not cats or other small furry creatures. Each day at Project POOCH, Rusty was fed, walked, socialized, trained, and most of all, LOVED. He went on several home visits to see if he was the right dog for the potential adopters, but there was always a furry creature around the corner so he was returned to Project POOCH. Rusty’s lucky break came after 3 years in Project POOCH. Happily, he is now in his forever home! 

Project POOCH, Inc., provides a special opportunity for dogs and youth to heal each other; to remind each other compassion, kindness, respect, and unconditional love do exist and that they deserve all this and more. 

As one person wrote us: 

I was inspired and amazed by the hard work and dedication. I saw many wonderful talents – but most of all, I saw the kind-heartedness of young men who have at their core the love to heal themselves and inspire others. 

Thank you for your support! Your gifts give so much more than you can imagine, and have a lifelong impact on all those touched by Project POOCH, Inc.’s program.

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