The downturn of the national economy has had an adverse effect on the amount of individual donations received by charities and non-profits globally. Center for Wildlife is no exception. Between fiscal years, 2010-2011 and 2011-2012, individual donor giving dropped by 42%, with admissions of injured and orphaned wildlife ever-increasing. However, at the end of the fiscal year 2010-2011 the Center had been the recipient of a large bequest from a long-time supporter. The timing of this generous gift could not have been more valuable, as it provided the resources to buffer the national downturn while dedicating Board and staff resources to analyze trends, reposition development efforts, and improve organizational efficiencies as appropriate. We are pleased to report on the work that we have done over the past several months to ensure the Center for Wildlife's sustainability, along with positioning ourselves to launch a capital campaign that will help us build and ensure staffing and diagnostics equipment for our much needed medical clinic and education center.
I. Intentional Use of Resources
This past year Center for Wildlife made a conscious decision to invest funds in strengthening its organizational foundation, fundraising capacity, staff assessment, program evaluation, and effective policies and procedures, along with creating a maintenance repair plan, thanks in part to the generous operating support from the Barker Foundation. This was seen as an investment in our future, while anticipating continued national economic downturn and commensurate necessary shift in development activities. Additionally, the Board of Directors increased its commitment to committee leadership, and increased the talent pool serving on the Board.
This year (fiscal 2012-2013) the Center is building on last year’s analysis and proven successes, including identifying and developing specific donors, broadening the base of potential donors through increasing visibility and targeted activities (mailings, website, e-newsletters, social networking, and partnering with local businesses and organizations), and strengthening the Board.
The intentional use of resources to stabilize Center for Wildlife focused on:
A. Job analysis and profiling
The Center revised the staffing structure and position descriptions. For example, medical clinic positions during the “off season” are required to be involved in grant-writing support and presenting fee-based educational programs and tours, and medical clinic management is assigned to a board member who is a Veterinarian.
B. Recruitment, selection, hiring, and training of new staff
Concurrent with the institutional changes in philosophy 3 long-term full-time staff members resigned. The Center undertook a professional staff search - recruitment, interviewing, hiring, and training for 3 dynamic professionals who are now on board.
During the past fiscal year, Center for Wildlife has undergone an executive leadership transition involving the welcoming of a new Executive Director and President of our Board of Directors, and transition of two other long-term board members.
Creation of New Operating Committees
A result of the organizational analysis was the need for active Board support to the organization in the areas of Development and Medical Clinic Operations. This has resulted in the creation of the Medical Clinic Committee and Development Committee, each chaired by a Board member with experience in their respective areas.
2. Creation of a Maintenance and Repair Budget and Plan
During the in-depth analyses, the need for of a long-term maintenance and repair plan was recognized. Several structural and safety issues were identified in 2011-2012 and either were remediated or are in the process of remediation. Although much of the labor and materials are in-kind donations, this has required much staff oversight and attention.
By laying this groundwork we feel prepared to answer "the call of the wild" from our community and wildlife for decades to come. In the midst of creating systems and efficiencies, we have raised over $100,000 toward the medical clinic and education center which remains in reserves for the project. The over 1,600 injured and orphaned wild animals brought to our clinic, 12,000 calls to our Wildlife Assistance Hotline, and over 7,500 participants in our education programs continue to tell us that there is a deep need and interest from the community to provide our unique services. We look forward to continuing to update you, and are very grateful for your support!!
Center for Wildlife continues to be the largest wildlife medical clinic and education Center in Northern New England. From April through September alone we admitted over 1,200 injured and orphaned native birds, small mammals, and reptiles, and presented tours, public, and on-site programs to over 2,000 participants. Completing this work out of a 1,100 square foot building (including a 57 square foot examination room!) continues to prove to be a challenge.
We remain committed to expanding our capacity for medical treatment and environmental education through a much-needed capital campaign. We are also committed to kicking off the capital campaign when the proper ground work has been laid; engaging our top donors and foundations, securing lead gifts, and having the staffing and strategic planning in place to ensure that the project is sustainable and doesn't compete with the ability to secure much needed operating support.
Perhaps the greatest strengths that our current staff and board leadership team embody is the passion, drive, and ability on a daily basis to see that injured and orphaned wildlife receive the medical treatment they deserve; coupled with a commitment to ensure that their stories are told- preventing injuries to future wildlife. Here's an update on our strategic planning and groundwork this season.
This year our Executive Director, Director for Education & Outreach, and Board of Directors have been busy building several sub-committees to assist in evaluating our progress toward laying the groundwork for a successful capital campaign, along with achieving our mission and goals through the creation of critical evaluation questions and decision-making. (Medical Clinic & Research Committee, Development Committee, Facilities Committee, and Education Committee). While the methods used to collect information vary from project to project, the consistent collection of information allows us to clearly define the information that we need, as well as systems to collect and analyze this information. Examples include:
• Patient medical treatment and rehabilitation success rates
• Intern learning outcomes
• Service procedures and policies
• Better communication of program results
• Training and technical needs
• Determining medical clinic capacity
• Staff and volunteer appreciation
• Planning and budget management
We are pleased to report that the volunteers on these sub-committees have logged hundreds of hours on recruiting new board members, personally engaging donors, and speaking directly with foundations. Through this engagement we have raised over $125,000 so far toward this project. We look forward to continuing on this upward momentum, and look to break ground and launch the capital campaign in 2013.
Although the economy has slowed and individual donations toward our efforts have simultaneously slowed, the number of injured and orphaned wild animals brought to our clinic continues to increase. From March through July alone Center for Wildlife's tiny clinic with 3 full-time staff and an army of volunteers and interns have admitted and medically treated over 700 native birds, small mammals and reptiles. This is all done out of our 1000 square foot building, and examinations of our patients occur in a 57sq foot examination room. We are fortunate to have 3 Wildlife Specialists with extensive backgrounds in wildlife, zoology, biology, wildlife medical treatment, and veterinary medicine; along with a volunteer DVM whose experience in raptor medicine and 22 years of volunteering to perform extensive surgeries and X-Rays for our patients allows us to provide high quality care.
There is no doubt that our staff and volunteer veterinarian have the experience and capacity to continue growing our diagnostics and treatment capabilities, and are limited only by the small amount of space that we have in our clinic. This unfortunately becomes more and more evident each year. In addition to having limited space, the building is now reaching the end of it's useful life. This year we discovered mold and structural issues, and have spent thousands of dollars on remediation to keep our staff, volunteers, and wildlife patients safe while they heal.
These challenges have only given us more drive to continue working toward our capital campaign and much needed Medical Clinic/ Education Center. Our Executive Director and Director for Education and Outreach have been working hard with our Board of Directors to recruit additional professionals to our board, along with developing a strong Development Committee with a strategic vision and engaged volunteers. We recently met with the local press to share our cramped facilities and need for support from our community. Thanks in part to your support, we have raised over $125,000 toward our new building. We are grateful for the opportunity to share our progress with you, and encourage you to contact us with any specific questions or ideas around our project. Thank you for helping to make our much needed dream of a new facility come true!
We are excited to report on our progress toward our new Medical Clinic and Education Center!
As the largest wildlife medical clinic in Northern New England, we have sorely outgrown our clinic and administrative space. For example, over the past few years our Intensive Care Room has grown from typically housing less than 10 patients at a time, to becoming full with over 30 patients requiring daily and intensive care. Our small mammal room has increased from needing to house 50 patients at a time, to close to 200 gray squirrels, porcupines, Virginia opossums, Eastern cottontails, and more. In an effort to achieve financial sustainability, we have increased our support and administrative staff (including the addition of fundraising and development interns and volunteers), and can often have 3-4 people attempting to utilize one small office space. Collaboration across all staff, volunteers, and interns, proves to be difficult without a classroom or administrative space, and we have come up with creative solutions such as tents over picnic tables!
Our board of directors has worked closely with our Executive Director to come up with a feasible solution that will allow us to match the amazing demand for wildlife treatment and education from the community. This multi-purpose facility’s primary purpose is to serve as a state-of-the-art wildlife medical clinic dedicated to providing medical care to a population of animals that are under served in New England. Due to a lack of “ownership” of wild animals, and the lack of local, state or federal funding for their care, the health and welfare of these animals is extremely tenuous. However, it is clear that the New England community is invested in the welfare of wildlife as evidenced by the increase in demand for our services each year. In addition to improving the quality of care for patients, this project will allow Center for Wildlife the to enhance its training programs for professional staff, volunteers, interns and regional rehabilitators through enhanced training and lab space.
The new facility will also serve as a “welcome center” for greeting the public, patient intake, meeting with donors and other partners, separate from the medical treatment space and animal sanctuary. In addition, the facility will provide meeting and exhibition space for our educational outreach program, fundraising and marketing team and director’s office, apart from the wildlife medical and rehabilitation function, and allow appropriate administrative workspace for our increased animal care staff and volunteers. A multi-purpose education and training room will provide space for community education programs and much needed training space for New England wildlife rehabilitators.
We are happy to announce that we have begun laying the groundwork for a successful capital campaign. We have created a Development Committee of volunteers chaired by a member of our board of directors that will be ready to carry out different aspects of the campaign. We have and will continue reaching out to local foundations to educate them on our project, and allow them to match their donors to the project. We have selected and begun collaborating with the architects on the project, and are close to having a clear and final 4,000sf building design. We look forward to providing ongoing updates of this project, and encourage you to contact us if you have any ideas, would like to make a lead or challenge match gift, or would like to become involved in our capital campaign!
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