Since 2011 we have tried to grow the program at a safe and sustainable rate, working to create the infrastructure and resources that would support expansion. In 2014 we wanted to grow!
2014 Goal: To create the infrastructure and resources to sustain and support expansion of services in the Portland Metro and surrounding areas.
We identified the following steps to achieve this goal:
- Recruit, train and support more volunteer dog/handler teams so that we can meet existing demand in the Portland Metro area as well as expand into surrounding areas. For this we need to:
- Design and publish our own dog/handler registration procedures and qualification test – Done, implemented for 2014 training series. Revised and updated with “lessons learned” in preparation for grant applications for a 2015 training series.
- Design and offer a low-cost, hands-on workshop for 4-5 interested dog/handler pairs so that potential teams can decide whether this would be a good fit for them. – Done, executed on June 14, 2015. Four of the attendees move forward into the full training series.
- Design workshops/classes to help potential handlers meet the criteria for that test, to be offered at least twice a year – Done ONCE – Saturday, June 21 and 28, July 12 for the test-prep series. All four teams passed the test and progressed to the program-specific 3-class series that ended on August 12. Three of those four teams are now actively working with three new Little Dog clients.
- Identify presenters and content for 2-3 continuing education workshops per year to help S.T.A.R. teams stay on top of their game. One handler-only workshop held. Assistance given to two handlers so they could register for the Jan 2015 ClickerExpo here in Portland.
- Define what is needed for a strong support system for STAR handlers. As part of our grant-seeking process and using lessons learned from the 2014 training series, we refined our training and testing plan (which include on-going support) for the 2015 series.
- Identify and qualify for funding sufficient to help us prepare, deploy, and support at least 3 new S.T.A.R. teams over the next year. Done – An unexpected but wonderful grant from IDEXX Laboratories covered the basic costs of the 2014 training series (resulting in 3 new S.T.A.R. teams). In November 2014 we applied for a Petco Foundation “Helping Heroes” grant specifically to train and provision four new teams. In March 2015 we received notice that it had been granted!
- Develop steady income stream to maintain and increase level of services. Good start – direct community support via Fred Meyer Community Rewards, iGive, Amazon Smile and trading card sponsorship are at current levels sufficient to cover the known recurring costs of governmental fees, insurance and trading cards. A regular Fidelity Charitable grant gives us a stable base for other organizational costs. We now have a presence on GuideStar (Silver Participant). Team recruitment and training remains reliant on outside grants. We worked with a PCC class on grant-request writing, which helped us understand how to organize our data in a format expected by grantors.
- Maintain knowledge of and compliance with all regulations and certifications governing private non-profit organizations. Good start – although our annual budget is still the size of a pin-head, we are putting procedures in place in anticipation of growth. We now have a bookkeeper and an accountant to help us maintain financial records in a suitable form. We have published our Fundraising Policy and Guidelines.
- Continue to capture all forms, procedures, expenses, guidelines – EVERYTHING needed to replicate the program elsewhere. Good start – general organizational documents are available on the Web, and exist in editable form on Board computers. Training presentation material exists as single hand-outs, given out in class last time, but which will be moved to a training manual next round.