Need a Fundraiser for Your Local Shelter?
By: Patti Strand Date: 10/31/1997 Category: | Canine Issues | Shelter Issues |
Like many other states, Oregon is in the throes of a taxpayer revolt. Over the last few years Oregonians have authorized two separate tax reduction measures that have effectively slashed government funding for all but the most essential human services. Even in the best of times, animal issues are not high priority budget items. In the current political climate, animal control budgets are treated as little more than annoying afterthoughts. Despite the widespread nature of pet ownership and animal control's statutory obligation to shelter abandoned dogs and to protect citizens from free roaming, dangerous and diseased dogs, politicians often push animal control agencies to seek financing from non general fund sources. Because of this, underfunded animal control managers must spend time away from mandated responsibilities to seek new funding sources such as higher license fees, pet food taxes, etc.
Problems escalate. Attempts to implement fee increases pit animal control officials against the most responsible pet owners in their communities; that is, against those who are easy fee increase targets because they already license their dogs. Since animal control services are supposed to benefit all citizens, responsible pet owners resent having to pay full freight for the irresponsible ones. Worse, as budget cuts kick in and cause staff reductions, lower adoption rates and kennel overcrowding, the public directs their anger - not at those setting funding priorities - but at shelter personnel who are by now over-worked and beleaguered by angry citizens. Through this process, animal control agencies find themselves at the mercy of a variety of agendas and destructive forces that all work together to create an environment in which combat rather than progress is the norm.
Friends of the Shelter Auction
Observing this cycle, NAIA decided to do something that would get past the current political environment and finger pointing exercises and actually improve things for shelter animals and personnel. Joined by Responsible Dog Breeders' Association of Oregon and members of Portland area kennel clubs, we decided to hold a benefit auction for Clackamas County Dog Control in March of 1997. The Clackamas shelter had been built in the 1950s when county population was a third its current size and still rural in flavor. With only the original 32 dog runs, it had a hard time keeping up with demands and bore the brunt of a lot of criticism.
After considering a number of possibilities, we decided to hold an auction-benefit fundraiser to expand their shelter. It was initiated with the following goals:
- To raise needed shelter expansion funds
- To encourage higher adoption rates
- To raise public awareness of shelters and and their role in the community.
- To create partnerships between animal sheltering agencies and responsible pet owners, breeders, veterinarians and other pet professionals
- To unite various animal interest groups in a positive, proactive, problem-solving program
- To raise the image of animal experts such as, breeders, trainers, veterinarians and others in the community
The Clackamas County Commissioners viewed our fundraising idea as progressive, approved the plan and promised that all funds raised would go directly to the shelter. From then on, our members and other dog-lovers in the community pitched in to make the idea a success. Various kennel clubs; individuals and businesses made cash donations to help us get started. Clackamas Kennel Club members crafted auction items at regularly scheduled monthly meetings. Members of our associations solicited merchandise for the auction. Local merchants and national dog food companies made wonderful contributions. Others in our membership, from sheep growers in Clackamas County to cattlemen in central Oregon, local veterinarians, and sportsmen contributed time, ideas and auction items to help us succeed.
On the night of the event, whatever worries we had gave way to a perfect evening. The 4-H building at Clackamas County Fairgrounds was beautifully decorated. More than 100 people attended. The food was excellent. Silent auction tables were covered with more than 100 great looking items. When the silent auction closed and dinner was finished, the award-winning auctioneer took center stage pitching everything from Phantom of the Opera tickets to guided fishing excursions and catered barbecues, to round trip tickets to anywhere in the US - with the luggage to go along. People had fun and the money rolled in!
In addition to raising more than $11,000 for a worthwhile cause, the event brought new friends together, created a venue for a cooperative venture, and in the end proved that it's possible to do a good deed while having a lot of fun. I recommend this money maker to everyone!
Special Thanks to Friends of the Shelter Committee and members of Clackamas KC: Sally Bishop, Bob and Nan Damberg, Jane Garvin, Libby Martin, Rod and Patti Strand, and Susie Wilson.
About The Author
All Authors Of This Article: | Patti Strand |