Message from the Chair – 2017
Good evening and welcome to Golden Rescue’s 2017 Annual General Meeting. Thank you for coming! We appreciate your interest and your efforts in making it here tonight. This meeting tends to be somewhat specific in its format and many aspects tend to be dry and, dare I say, boring. So I apologize in advance for that. But what you’ll find interesting are all the Directors’ reports. These are the moments where we can reflect and talk about last year’s accomplishments and challenges. Even though each Director will speak to their own area shortly, I’d like to give you an overview of last year’s activities.
Firstly, 2016 was a record breaking year for us as we put 293 Goldens through our program. Now this, in a way, is a good-news-bad-news story. Bad news because there are still many, many Goldens who need our help. Good news because we have the will, the passion, the volunteers, and the financial resources to help every Golden who comes across our radar from Ontario, Quebec, Istanbul, Shanghai, and beyond. Now, this many Goldens certainly stretched our finances but through our constant fundraising efforts, we were still able to keep a respectable bank balance by year end. A few years ago, we increased the adoption fee from $400 to $500. Last year, we raised the out-of-country adoption fee from $500 to $800 without resistance. This certainly helped defray at least some of our costs.
Our wishbone lottery is a big contributor to our coffers. We started it late this year to give our volunteers and supporters a bit of a break. It also allowed us to sell through the Christmas holidays as well as during the summer cottage season. On top of that, we raised over $35,000 from the Yorkville Run, the first time we were involved in this prestigious event and the first time an animal rescue group was invited to participate. We anticipate this event to grow every year and become an important part of our fundraising efforts. We are also starting to catch up with the times and are now able to allow e-transfer donations and we also have debit machines, which are becoming increasingly popular and effective at our events such as LCBO Tag days and the picnic. We try to save money wherever we can…as saving a dollar is the same as earning a dollar. Growing our monthly donor base is also a top priority and we now have about 250 monthly donors.
We are streamlining some of our fundraising efforts to maximize our fundraising activities. For example, the event team is analyzing the viability of events to ensure they are worth our while. This allows us to drop poorly performing events giving us the time to concentrate our volunteer resources where they hopefully will do the most good. A perfect example is our trying the Zoomer show this year, which we believe is right up our alley from a demographic point of view.
We have also created a new team, called Team Resources, to respond quicker to new volunteers who have expressed an interest to help in various areas. Team Resources is akin to having our own HR department and is really helping the whole volunteer recruitment process.
Our social media team has really come into their own and our social media presence has improved dramatically thanks to this vibrant group. They are to be congratulated. Also the media attention we garnered last year by newspapers, magazines, radio, and TV was nothing short of astounding. This coverage, mainly due to our Rescue Mission of Love program really helped put us on the map.
And our picnic…another successful event at Viamede Resort where we celebrated our Goldens and our volunteers. What a great time to meet old and new friends and see all the Goldens whose lives we have changed. There’s nothing like seeing a couple of hundred happy Goldens with their forever families. We are truly, most of the time, in the ‘happy business’.
Every year, we have a weekend board retreat where we discuss things on our wish list. As we are a working board, the things on those wish lists tend to get implemented. I am convinced that it is because my fellow board members, who I am honoured to serve with, are doers. I am so grateful for that attribute that we share. Perhaps, it is this ‘doer trait’ in all of our volunteers that makes us successful. We have no staff, no offices or overhead to weigh us down, and no fractured focus to divert our attention. We simply have a single goal, a single belief, and a single spirit of care and determination to help Goldens wherever they are and wherever we can. I believe this ‘doer’ mentality could well be our secret weapon and the real reason we are able to successfully help so many Goldens who so deserve a second chance.
Thank you all so much, those who are here and those who are at their kitchen tables or in their home offices, as we speak, helping Goldens in need.
Thank you all for being Golden lovers who care!