By Brandon Mustful
It’s the holiday season; a time to be thankful. Granted, we should be thankful all the time! But, the holidays and the end of the year are a good time to step back and remind yourself what you have for which to be thankful. As a nonprofit director, I feel like most of the time all I do is ask for donations, or volunteer help, or more commitment from my staff. Although necessary, I do grow weary of asking, and I do forget about the incredible contributions of people all around me. So, I just want to take a few moments right now to think of all I have to be thankful for as the director of this organization. Of course, I won’t be able to think of everything or everyone, but I’ll try my best.
- I am thankful for all the great homes we are able to find for the stray, abandoned, and surrendered pets. As of today, we’ve adopted 353 pets into new homes. That is 11 more than we adopted all of last year. In fact, in each year since I began working here, we have had increasing adoptions. The month before I began as director we had 8 adoptions. These days, we usually adopt over 30 every month! I am so thankful that people choose to find their new family member with us. I am so grateful that people are willing to make the commitment it takes to bring home a pet. Honestly, I am amazed at how many people continue to come to our shelter and adopt our pets. It is a blessing to have the opportunity to help match them up with a pet who will give them companionship for many years.
- I am thankful to my staff. Currently, we have 8 staff members who work at the shelter to clean the facility, assist clients and process adoptions, manage the health of the animals, and maintain the building. They work hard and for far less pay than they should be getting. In my first year or so of work, I had to fill-in with cleaning kennels and covering other positions relatively frequently. These days, I barely ever have to do that. My staff is trained, responsible, and reliable. I can count on them to run this facility in my absence. I can focus on administrative and outreach activities while they keep the shelter going. I am so grateful to work with such a wonderful and dedicated group of people.
- I am thankful to the volunteers of Great River Rescue. Each month volunteers do about 150 – 200 hours of volunteer work. They do everything from socializing animals, to doing laundry, to conducting fundraising, and even create policies for the organization. Some volunteers help out 10 or 15 hours per week and others attend events and meetings in the evenings after already having completed a full day of work. This organization simply would not be able to function without the hard-work and dedication our our volunteers. I am so thankful for our Board of Directors, our Mod Squad, our Committee members, and all of our animal socializers for their service.
- I am thankful for all of our donors. Each year, this organization depends on about $100,000 in contributions from community members. I know that there is a lot of need out there. There are many churches and nonprofits to choose from and we all have limited resources. It is humbling to see so many people choose to donate their hard earned money to our organization to support the work we do. I also love to see people teaching their kids the importance of giving. It is so cool when a young child comes in and donates items collected from a birthday party or money raised from selling lemonade. Additionally, I am so grateful to all the businesses that choose to support us. So many businesses do supply drives for us, hold fundraisers for us, or just give us financial donations directly. I know that these businesses get approached by nonprofits and clubs dozens of times per year. I’m so thankful that many of those businesses choose to support us.
- Finally, I’m thankful to have the privilege of being the director of this organization. Admittedly, this job is incredibly challenging and it is hard to know exactly what to do in most cases. However, I have a lot of support around me, and people who understand the challenges this job offers. I am thankful that I have a job that keeps me engaged, and presents new challenges and opportunities everyday. I know I am blessed to have consistent work alongside great people.
I wish you all Happy Holidays this season, a Happy New Year, and nothing but love and blessings in the year to come. I hope that you have a chance to step back and remind yourself of all the things you have to be thankful for. I hope that you are thankful for this organization and all the other services this community offers. Please know that we will continue to do our best to always offer the best services we can with grateful hearts.