Pete’s story and words from our donors*
— Leslie R. Dye, MD, treasurer, NGWPR
Picked up as a stray in Virginia, three-year-old Pete had horrible wounds on both hips and was skeletal. On the euthanasia list at a shelter, our coordinator received a call and found a couple who agreed to foster him. Pete required extensive veterinary care costing almost $3500. Fortunately, he was fostered by a loving family that he adored, including children, adults, other dogs and cats. He wanted to be with them all the time. If they closed the door, he patiently waited for them and was never pushy. He was such a great fit for the foster family, they decided to adopt him. Now, because of our generous donors and his foster family, he is living his best life.
Charitable donations and the NGWPR numbers
In a report published in 2019, there were more than 1.54 million charitable organization in the United States, and in 2022 Americans gave almost $5 billion dollars in donations. This reflected a decline of 3.4% from 2021. The largest source of charitable giving in 2022 was from individuals, who donated 64% of the total.
The National German Wirehaired Pointer Rescue is a non-profit, 501c3 organization that consists of six volunteer board members and one volunteer who helps with our website. Within the board of directors, there is a president, secretary, rescue coordinator, and treasurer. The organization is extremely lean and runs on a shoestring.
Our rescue has been challenged recently with some large veterinary bills, leading to a depletion in funds for the first time in the past three years. An urgent plea on Facebook resulted in a rapid and generous outpouring of support in donations, including in-kind contributions. The donations ranged in amount, and many have donated in the past. More and more dogs come into rescue requiring veterinary and training funding for them to become adoptable.
As described in the May 20, 2023 NGWP rescue blog, “Making Decisions Regarding Health Problems in Animals, including Rescue Dogs,” decisions regarding veterinary care and training are not made without input from multiple sources, including board members, experienced trainers, veterinarians caring for the animals, and veterinarians who consult with the rescue. Some may question the decision to spend money for dogs who require such care, but if we start to do that, how are we a rescue? Who ultimately decides which dogs “deserve” a set amount of care? Who determines the amount?
Reporting the number of dogs we rescue every year is difficult as some can stay in rescue for over one year and some for just months. Most of the time we have about 25 dogs actively looking for homes in our rescue. The detailed numbers for 2020–2022 confirm that most of our expenses (73–88%) are allocated directly to the dogs we foster and for whom we find homes. As all staff are volunteers, we have no overhead costs for personnel. Expenses that don’t go directly to the dogs include funds to maintain our website, mailing expenses, liability insurance, and costs for calendar printing and obtaining items for auction.
2020 Annual Report
Percent of Revenue from Donations 60%
Percent of Expenses directed to care of dogs 88%
Percent of Expenses related to other 22%
2021 Annual Report
Percent of Revenue from Donations 50%
Percent of Expenses directed to care of dogs 73%
Percent of Expenses related to other 27%
2022 Annual Report
Percent of Revenue from Donations 51%
Percent of Expenses directed to care of dogs 80%
Percent of Expenses related to other 20%
The detailed numbers for 2020–2022 confirm that most of our expenses (73–88%) are allocated directly to the dogs we foster and for whom we find homes.
Information about Non-Profit Organizations (NPO)
Why do people donate to NPOs?
Network for Good surveyed 3000 donors and found the top 7 reasons donors give to NPO’s:
· Donors are mission driven.
Donors, like all humans, want to experience pleasure and reward, and generosity stimulates the release of dopamine that accomplishes those feelings. But the mission of the organization must align with the value of the donors and offer them opportunities to feel good.
· Donors trust the organization.
Donors must trust an NPO and believe in the vision and commitment of the organization. The organization must be transparent and do what it says it will do. Gratitude toward donors is required and information about where the donations are directed is important.
· Donors understand the impact of their donation.
Communicating what the organization has accomplished and showing donors they are making a difference is important.
· Donors have a personal connection to the cause.
Charitable giving is highly personal and often donors have been involved firsthand with the cause and had great experiences with the organization.
· Donors want to be part of something meaningful.
People connect more with personal stories that are specific and donors must be a big part of the organization.
· Donors are engaged.
Donors need to be updated about the organization and have volunteer opportunities.
· Donors want tax benefits.
How does one evaluate an NPO?
One resource suggests evaluating program spending, fundraising fees and executive compensation as three main ways to assess a nonprofit. Believing in the organization’s mission, assuring that they live up to the mission, and demonstrating impact of their work are all important.
Are there specific ways to evaluate a dog rescue?
· Talk to veterinarians.
If you can find veterinarians who have worked with the rescue, they can offer their experience with the group.
· Look at social media.
Look for individuals who have worked with a specific rescue. Offer the option to private message as they may not want to publicly share.
· Look at the efforts the rescue makes preparing the dog for adoption.
Determine the amount of time spent assessing personality, behavioral problems, housetraining, and medical conditions.
· Determine if the dog is in a foster home or if the rescue has a physical facility.
Whenever possible, visit the site.
Specific Questions to Ask a Potential Animal Rescue or Shelter
1. How long has the rescue been in operation?
2. What is your percentage of successful adoptions (dogs not returned by them)? What happens if a dog is returned?
3. Do you specialize in certain types of situations the dogs have experienced (e.g., puppy mills)?
4. What kind of training do the fosters receive?
5. After acquiring a dog, what is the evaluation process before making a dog available for adoption?
6. Do you spend time housebreaking the dog or teaching other obedience skills?
7. How do you assess if the dog is good with young children or other animals?
8. How long is your waitlist or waiting period?
9. Are there any requirements you have of potential adopters (e.g., fenced yard)?
10.Ask about the history of a specific dog you are interested in.
NGWPR Donor Experiences
To determine why some people choose to donate to NGWPR, two donors were asked to respond to the following questions:
- Approximately how often do you donate to NGWPR every year?
- Why do you donate to NGWPR?
- Are there particular circumstances that trigger you to make a donation to NGWPR?
- What are some of the factors that you consider before donating to a non-profit organization? Are they the same for dog rescue?
- What would you estimate the percent of expenses the NGWPR spends that goes directly to the dogs (veterinary care, training, boarding, foster care, transportation, etc)?
- Is there anything else you want to share about donating to NGWPR or other non-profit organizations?
Below are responses to the queries:
- I donate to GWP Rescue approximately 4 times per year. I donate to honor Gotcha Day, birthdays and Special events.
2. I donate because I have come to love the breed and have benefitted greatly from the information and leadership of GWP Rescue.
3. Other than special anniversaries, if I read of special difficulties or projects.
4. There are so many nonprofits. I chose the ones that affect my family most. St Jude and Samaritan’s Purse, and Children’s issues. GWP Rescue is the only dog charity for us at present.
5. I imagine the majority of funds go directly to dogs ( vet, training, transportation etc.).
6. I would add that GWP Rescue is an outstanding organization that has made an enormous difference to so many dogs and owners.
1. We donate to NGWPR three to four times a year.
2. We donate money to NGWPR because we currently are unable to foster or contribute in other ways.
3. We tend to donate when there is a special needs dog requiring veterinary care, or as was the case recently, the NGWPR funds are exhausted, limiting the Rescue’s assistance.
4. We mainly donate to personally selected, smaller, non-profit organizations we are familiar with especially when there is obvious advertised need, or we are honoring a person’s memory. We try to keep track of management and fundraising costs. Our decision to donate to several dog rescues also depends on visible/advertised need in the United States.
5. I would estimate 85–90% of the expenses NGWPR incurs go directly to the dogs. I’m not sure how I based my percentage, but guess the NGWPR has an increasingly alarming number of dogs it is trying to assist. As a veterinarian, I can estimate fees for veterinary care, training, boarding, transportation, etc. I can’t imagine the NGWPR’s payroll if all the people who kindly, generously donate their time, love, even personal resources were reimbursed. It is mind-boggling to me as the advertised list of GWPs needing help grows astronomically.
6. “Giving back” is important. The choice how varies with each individual person. Being older provides both means and the ability to appreciate and select non-profits dear to your heart. Ours tend to include the homeless, children/students, medical research, and dogs.
Also, according to Donor 2, “The NGWPR stories on FB are so tragic I honestly struggle reading them. Where do these dogs and people come from?
I remind myself it is not my job to speculate and pass judgement. It is our goal to appreciate and honor those at the forefront… the Rescue Coordinator, the Board, the fosters, the transporters, the eventual adopters by contributing dollars to all their efforts as generously as we can.”
*Special thanks to Pete’s foster and adoption family and all of our fosters and adopters that provide such wonderful care to the dogs. And a big thank you to Muddy Branch Veterinary Clinic in Gaithersburg, MD for the love and excellent medical care they continue to provide Pete.
Call for volunteer fundraising coordinator
As we continue to be challenged by ill dogs and those with behavioral issues, we are looking for an enthusiastic volunteer to oversee our fundraising activities. In addition to our auction at the national event, we would like to develop another fund raiser, either a virtual event or a live event at the 2024 nationals. If you are interested in serving as our fundraising coordinator, please contact Suzanne Oslander at email@example.com
National GWP Rescue is a nationwide rescue program whose volunteers work tirelessly to provide funding, foster homes, medical care and training for GWPs found in shelters, animal control facilities and to those GWPs whose current owners are unable to provide a suitable situation.
Working hand- in-hand with governmental and local shelters, NGWPR provides a safe and responsible home for GWP’s in need. Placed with an experienced GWPCA member, fostered GWPs that have been neglected, untrained or have medical issues quickly blossom as they are readied for their “forever” homes.
Prior to releasing our rescued GWPs for adoption, volunteers provide obedience, manners, and house training. We hold to the philosophy that a mannerly dog has a better chance of fitting into a new household.
NGWPR believes that Wires were designed to hunt and unlike some other rescue programs, we are happy to place dogs with field experience or bird instinct with potential owners who enjoy hunting behind a Wire. However, NGWPR insists that any rescue dog first be a house dog and companion, then a weekend hunting partner.
Please go to our website to learn more.