The Cayman Islands Humane Society is urgently seeking donations as the group faces declining revenues and fresh fundraising challenges.
The society’s recent annual general meeting installed a new nine-member board, which is seeking to address recent downturns in both thrift shop and bookstore donations, and a concomitant fall in income.
David Reid, board member and rotating chairman for the society’s most recent gathering, said the group was not in crisis, but that “donations to the thrift shop and the book shop have declined and our [cash] reserves and funding will decline if we can’t keep up” with the society’s monthly budget of between $45,000 and $50,000.
“Fundraising has declined with the recent changes to continuity and the change of key players,” Mr. Reid said. “We need to build support with new initiatives because things have slowed down.”
“Donations to the thrift shop,” he said, “are significantly down,” while sales are down by one third, and that is a major contributor to our budget.” Book donations were “down a bit, although not as much, but that doesn’t turn around quite as quickly” as the thrift shop, he said.
The shop offers used clothes, toys, housewares, small appliances and furniture at reduced prices, while special items of greater value are occasionally auctioned on Ecay. Revenues subsidize veterinary care, shelter and food for the animals.
Mr. Reid said the society on average boards 70 dogs and about 30 cats, “although we have had upwards of 100 dogs at times, but that is beyond our capacity, and we really don’t want to see the conditions deteriorate.”
The budget also encompasses the society’s few paid staff, and is mostly drawn from donations and retail operations, Mr. Reid said. Donations come largely from companies and individuals. None is from government.
While things had slowed, Mr. Reid said, “there is no risk of running out of money, but because of the changes, including a difficult economy, “the board’s challenge is about fund-raising and retail.
“I cannot imagine it would happen that we’d go out of business,” however, he said. “We have been around for 40 years and have a lot of supporters out there. “There is not less to do, though, and maybe even more to do.”
The new board retains only two previous members, he said, and was “trying to set up new a schedule” for early next year, “trying to do more, and looking to see if things are being done.”
The Humane Society website perennially calls for volunteers, saying “we need help in all areas – sorting, pricing, displaying, selling. We especially need help on Saturdays, but we can use you during the week as well,” while reminding the public that U.S.-dollar donations can be made through the Bank of Butterfield, and Cayman dollars through Cayman National Bank, while welcoming bank drafts and air miles.
Mr. Reid was unable to comment on previous reports of internal dissension at the society, but said the new board was seeking a clean slate: “We are hoping to make a contribution now and to make the best of the situation.”