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"lisa finkel" Discussed on The Community Cats Podcast

The Community Cats Podcast

12:28 min | 4 years ago

"lisa finkel" Discussed on The Community Cats Podcast

"The. You tune into community cats podcast ready. Let's cal. Hello and welcome to the community cats podcast. I'm your guest host Lisa Finkel. I've had the privilege of working with your regular hosts Stacey lebaron since I joined the board of directors of the Merrimack river feeling rescue society three years ago. It's been quite amazing for me to have the opportunity to tab Stacy's, incredible, experience and knowledge of all issues related to cats. I frequently say, she's probably forgotten more about cats than most of us will ever know. So we thought it would be fun to have Stacy as our guest turned the tables and do this periodically. So that our podcast audience has a chance to get their own questions answered and to benefit from her insights, you can always go on our Facebook page to give us questions you'd like Stacey to answer on future shows because we want to be sure you're getting the help and information that you need Stacy thanks for being a guest on your own show. Thank you so much for hosting the show. It's it's my pleasure. My first question for you is is something that. I never asked you. Once you told me about your plans to do this event or thought or inspiration motivated you to start the community cats podcast. Many people have now in that. I was have been involved with and continue to be involved with the mentoring program with the Merrimack river feline rescue society and over the course of the last five years have been able to work with eighty different organizations all across the United States. And I certainly learned a lot about those organizations the people and the passion behind those organizations, and I've had so many fantastic phone calls about their stories about their challenges that I really felt that these stories needed to be shared with others. It's not just the mentoring Bruce stories, but we all have stories, and it's those stories that can be impactful and can empower us to believe that we can do more for the cats in the community. And I wanted to be able to have a venue where we could really share and inspire people to take action to help cats in their own communities their own back. Yards the sharing the amazing network. You have really makes us quite powerful. I know that listening to a number of the podcast. I have learned so much myself. What are some of the things you've heard from your guests, this far that have may be surprised you or caused you to think differently or confirm some things that you felt in new. So when thing the Spain Nuder message is obviously it's very clear in it's out there. I think we all want every cat in need out all across the country that needs to have access to low-cost fate is really a high priority. So that's something that has been very present. In most of our shows, and we have also talked about in several of the show's talked about the importance of targeting. The other thing though, that really has surprised me is how other areas and other niches really play a key and important role with our community cats. So when we had the folks from the national kitten coalition on as well as the missing pet partnership, I found they were really very unique story. And really impactful because those are important components of resources that we need in every community, and it's not just about the sort of spay neuter mantra out there. It's about trying to find lost head to find their homes to treat neonatal kittens. Or how to deal with a litter of kittens that you find a woodshed what's the appropriate approach? So it's sort of that niche stuff that we really have organizations that are diving deeper volunteers that are really diving deep into those areas getting to know, their specialties and are willing to share that and it just adds to that wealth of knowledge that any community volunteer will have in order to help cats in the community. And I just so thrilled the pet food pantry conversation is another one that just gets to me these supportive services that sort of revolve around spay neuter and wellness for cats. It's just a really dynamic package. I think I was going to when you were talking about that. I was thinking about the pet food pantry as well as you know. Refer to something called the feline eco system because you don't need just one kind of rescue or one kind of organization or when kind of effort to support cats really need all of these were in a working in areas where they've developed the expertise. Yeah. And then oftentimes it's organsations as well as individuals that try to think about the the tool kit, you know, that we all have to have. And that for me that tool kit kinda keeps getting heavier and heavier, but yet it's more impactful too. So given that the fact that there are so many different organizations or efforts needed. What do you think are the three biggest priorities right now to make the kind of big picture change you'd like to see for community cats. I am probably gonna cheat. Lisa. And I can't get away with three I have to go to four, but I will package one as I still feel that spay neuter as well as wellness is import we still have many areas of the country that there isn't affordable spay, neuter four cats. So I think we're still building out on that national capacity. I think that's at the top of the list at this point in time for organizations, a nother priority is developing sustainable fundraising to help support the spay neuter programs and the wellness programs. I think fundraising is ever everlasting challenge for many organizations, and I think we need some real dedicated efforts focusing on fundraising, whether it's event fundraising dedicated appeals grant writing that specifically focused for supporting spay neuter oftentimes win some organization starts clinic. They try and really make sure that that clinic. Is always breaking even without necessarily fundraising behind it. And I think we're now at the point where maybe the low hanging spay neuter fruit, so to speak is gone. And we now are at the point where we're going to have to be offering free spay neuters with a twenty pound bag of food and possible transportation offered for that cat in order to get that cat into the clinic and that takes fundraising efforts. I also would like to touch upon a challenge that we have with what I call the hidden population and its population of cats that may not necessarily be truly feral. But yet they may not necessarily be the truly adoptable cats that do well in a large scale humane society environment. And I think that at this point in time, the cat a community is sort of wrestling with what to do with that population. Do we just return them to field out to field or how do we bring them back in to a shelter or how do we adopt them out? That's great list. Stacey I I think that especially the fundraising for larger organizations that have some. Restructure, perhaps, you know, paid marketing folks on staff fundraising is a challenge. But I can't imagine what a challenge it must be for a small grassroots community group. Well, yeah. And they oftentimes don't have any fundraising experience at all. And it's really challenging for them. Just to even ask for donation when you're just starting you're worried about your traps, you're worried about fostering kittens? But then you're also worrying about getting money in the Bank. So there's a lot of new skills that young organizations really need to learn we'll that is a great lead into talking a little bit about the mentoring program that you've oversee for M R F R s that was supported providers by that's March charities and now is going in a slightly different direction. Where actually you worked with a number of community organizations that had to raise funds some of them for the first time will tell us about the secrets or the insights of empowering other people to undertake. New project to help cats in their community. I will describe what our current program is which is called the primer grant program, and you can find that on WWW dot M R F R S dot org under the programs page and you just click on mentoring, and it's called the primer grant program. And it was this year was the first year, we tried it. And basically, we're asking very small group with revenues of under sixty thousand dollars a year to initiate, a new fundraising effort that will hopefully raise them up two thousand dollars or beyond. He certainly don't stop once you hit thousand dollars, and then we coached them on different fundraising techniques, and they put together proposal of what their new technique is going to be. So it could be a letter writing campaign. Several of our groups have never done any sort of a mailing out to their donors. They don't have at donor. L'est others did a appeal to their board of directors as well as doing some fair campaigns and stuff. Stuff. One did a spaghetti dinner, spe Getty dinner and also try to t shirt campaign as well as doing an e card campaign. So it was a it's a way for them to try something new to raise money specifically for spe neuter. And then this private foundation was able to match up two thousand dollars of an additional thousand dollars of spay neuter money. So if you raise a thousand you're going to get double to two thousand dollars of spay neuter dollars, which means a lot for these groups considering during the course of a whole year, they're pulling in less than sixty thousand dollars in one of our groups was pulling in their annual revenues for the year was about sixty five hundred dollars. So for them to get two thousand dollars. That's like game changer for them the thing. That's just hold mentoring. That strikes me is just so awesome. Is we do a lot of our work via conference call. So we have phone calls with six or eight groups on the phone at a time, and it's on done on a regular basis over a three to four month period. And these groups get to know each other, they become friends and even though they? Might be one might be in Wisconsin. And the other one might be in Florida. They all very oftentimes have some of the same challenges and they want to support each other. They become a team a team for success. And so having this relationship is great. So the program is good all of these groups were successful. We actually ended up raising over twenty thousand dollars as a combined effort and then with a matching funds of another ten thousand dollars. So it became over thirty thousand dollars for spay neuter with an investment from this foundation of ten thousand dollars. So it was a really good leveraged opportunity. But at the end of the day, many of these groups when I've been mentoring them the last phone, call is very sad. They don't want the phone calls to end because they want that community to stay together. They want their family the support network to stay together. And so that's another objective of mine at the community cats podcast is to create community. So that we have this feeling of family, and we have that support. And we all don't feel alone out there, and it's just been a pleasure to work with these groups to be able to. To have them make these new friends another thing. I've noticed listening to some of the podcasts is this is much about people as it is about cats. Yeah. Say almost even more. So I find over the twenty plus years that I've been in this business. I've found it very isolating business. They're oftentimes where you feel like you're very much alone. You're very challenged. You don't know how you're going to put your next foot forward? And you feel like you're the only one that is suffering, and we shouldn't be suffering, but we all have hard times, and we all have challenges. And that's where we need our friends. We need our support networks to come through for us and to help us and in Massachusetts. We have a young group called mass cats and in its own way, it provides quite a bit of support for many people who are individuals and very small organizations. It's an outlet that they wouldn't have had twenty odd years ago up -solutely the internet really does help bring us together. And again, the the podcast. Your website and Facebook page will also help create that kind of virtual community. And now, let's take a moment. Listen to a few words from our sponsors flashlight tag was fun when you're a kid, but no one wants to play hide and seek with their trap. Find your traps location quickly and safely even when you visit at night with the reveal wild application for Samsung galaxy HTC one Sony experience and other Android phones or go to tiny. You're L dot com. Forward slash reveal wild.

Stacey lebaron Merrimack river Stacy Facebook Lisa Finkel Spain Bank Massachusetts United States Bruce Wisconsin Samsung Florida Sony HTC two thousand dollars sixty thousand dollars