Monday, August 3, 2015

Happy Anniversary to Us!!!

Mrs. Gray Loves Her Bucket Water!

I can hardly believe that year four for WIFCaP is only weeks from complete!   I've been taking time to step back and take a look at where we have been, where we began and along with that, looking ahead to where we might be going.   It's easy to look back and see the successes (laced with some sadness, disappointments and failures) but looking to the future feels somewhat like looking at a huge mountain that needs climbing, then looking down at my feet and realizing I don't have hiking shoes.

When WIFCaP began it was pretty much me, along with a few very eager and excited friends that wanted to help.   We put together the Face book page and the web page and we hit the ground running for fund raising.  We found a vet that was willing to give us a discount and for almost 3 years, between AVC and SOS in Omaha we were fixing as many cats as our donations would allow.   A year ago we partnered with HVA for an even greater discount which afforded us to do twice as many cats on the same amount of money.   Dr. Sternberg and his crew has been wonderful to us and we value them beyond description!  I have volunteers that help when ever and however they can and their value is immeasurable too!

Along the road, we became incorporated, licensed and obtained our non profit status from the IRS.  All good news.   We have a great board of directors who I lean on for advice and emotional support when the decisions get hard.

Money has never really been an issue.  Our supporters are phenomenal!   When the need is there, they pull through like champs!  I can truly say that other than gas, time and wear and tear on my vehicle, I have not put any of my personal funds into WIFCaP.

In the four years we have been in "business", we have fixed approximately 1200 cats and in total helped around 1400.  That feels like success in any one's book.

We have been honored to be asked to do a workshop at The Iowa Federation of Humane Society's annual conference and will be speaking there again this September.  We have held educational workshops on trapping for several groups and have spoken to many city councils about the benefits of TNR. We've even taught children about the plight of feral cats. More recognition and success!

So why the daunting feeling of a mountain too big to climb?  The mountain is made up of all things TNR and for the most part the vast percentage of it is done my myself.

During year one, I think I had about 3 friends helping.  Most the help was supportive encouragement.  As the years have passed I have gained a couple wonderful volunteers that can actually help me trap and transport, at least during some of the times they have off or are available.  I have volunteers that will help during events and donate items for auctions, bake sales and other fundraising events.

Trapping:    Setting up trapping must co ordinate with Vet hours and property owners schedules and availability. Trapping is done normally very early morning or at dusk, in which case the cats get to spend the night in my garage.  Trapping doesn't just mean trapping, it means getting them to the vet, getting them back from the vet and then back to the property. Cats sometime spend another night  in my garage when it is not healthy for them to be returned the same day.   Then there is the trap cleaning and storage, until the next time.

Social media:  Face book has been one of our most important and wonderful ways to gain support and engage with our friends, fans and followers.   Every day posts are made, with pictures to keep WIFCaP in the forefront of the minds of those we hope will continue to encourage what we do.  Instagram and Pinterest are new venues that I'm now trying to use to offer even more engagement.  I'm guessing I spend at least an hour of my day on social media.  My husband would probably argue that it is even more.

Fundraising:  Constant.  Its seems we need to go from one fundraiser to the next in order to keep a balance in the bank account to stay afloat.  I try to do 4 eBay auctions a year, The Cat's Meow in September, Omaha Gives in the Spring and Tuesday Treasures occasionally.   We have other sources of mobile and internet fundraising like IGive, Paid2Save, Tagged, RESQWalk, and others and these also take constant promotion.

Bazaar and Fundraiser September 19th!

Bookkeeping:  Donations come in the mail and on Paypal...bills are ordered, all kept on Quick books to which I am daily keeping up to date and accurate.  Tax time comes quickly!

Daily correspondence: Phone calls, emails and face book messages come during all hours. These may deal with trappings that need to be scheduled, city community cat issues,  lost or injured cats, found orphaned kittens, or any other cat related question or concern someone might have. Newspaper press releases and other requested articles must be done too!

I want to make it clear that I am NOT complaining.  I LOVE this "job" more than anything I have ever done and my passion for it has not waned n the least bit.   BUT I am also at a point that I know I cannot continue doing it all at the same pace as I'm trying to do it now.  I was hoping that I would have a trapping team in place by this time four years later.  Also a fundraising team.    The truth is I don't.  Not everyone has the same passion for TNR as I do, or the time to do it like I do.  I need to step back and decide what year five will  hold.

The remainder of 2015 is going to be a very busy one for me on a personal level.   I will be headed to VA in September for a week to attend my grand daughter's wedding.  Immediately after that, I head to San Antonio for another week to give my stepsister a break and care for my 93 year old step mother. I get home 3 days before "The Cat's Meow".   In October I am going to Florida and South Carolina to visit my BFF of 50 years to celebrate our years of friendship.  I will be gone for 2 weeks.   In November, my oldest son and his family will be visiting from the east coast, before they make a permanent move to Belgium to head up a Christian kids Camp full time.  THEN sometime in November or early December, my husband will retire.  We have purchased a home in South Texas where we will spend the bitter cold months in winter...hopefully from at least December through March or April.

What does this all mean for WIFCaP?  I'm actually trying to figure that out myself.   I will have a busy August trying to get everything caught up before all the fall activities descend!  I know that Angie and Lois will be able to do some small trappings if necessary when I am gone, even over the winter.   Mrs. Gray, Zeva and Mr. Nelson will be cared for by Becky, Cheryl and Molly...on a daily basis.   I've installed surveillance cameras so I can keep an eye on them (the cats, not Molly, Becky or Cheryl)!  LOL! Much of what I do on face book and social media I can do from Texas.  Also auctions and fund raising.

So, as I write this, I realize that not that much has to change other than my mind set of always wanting to progress and do more.  I am going to need to be happy with what I CAN do  by myself, and be happy for all the extra help I can get.  I need to pace myself and not get sucked into the lie that we have to grow...we have to get bigger and better and do more and more.  Nope...  I am one person and I am 65 years young and I have limits.

So, mountain, you just turned into a molehill.   I can climb you in flip flops!

Thanks for letting me vent!