Home At Last
What is the Home At Last Campaign?
It is our first capital campaign designed to advance the mission of Lost Our Home Pet Rescue. Our goal is to raise $1.75 million to secure our permanent pet shelter home. Ownership of our current home will allow us to continue our life-saving work, expand our programs, and more fully meet the continuing needs of the community we serve. Since Lost Our Home fulfills a need no other pet rescue in the Valley does, it is crucial for the long-term sustainability of the organization to raise funds to purchase the building. Lost Our Home Pet Rescue negotiated a very advantageous lease option at the beginning of our lease term in 2013. The landlord now intends to sell the building, so should we not purchase the building, we could be faced with a new landlord that could raise our rent significantly, or may not renew the lease. After researching other buildings available for lease and purchase, it is abundantly clear that purchasing the building we currently occupy is our best option.
What are the phases of fundraising and what is the quiet phase?
To set ourselves up with the greatest potential for success, there is a quiet phase and a public phase. Lost Our Home’s Board of Directors has decided to launch the campaign in these phases starting with a “quiet phase” until at least 50-70 percent of our total fund goal is raised. Then Lost Our Home will triumphantly announce the campaign in the public phase to the greater community.
Why should I give to the Home At Last Campaign?
Lost Our Home is the only organization in the Phoenix metropolitan area that provides compassionate care to both people AND pets. We seek solutions for people and pets in crisis to enable them to remain together.
What financial advantages does purchasing the building provide?
Purchasing our current building helps us with long-term financial sustainability and to reach our expansion goals. By purchasing our current building, we will save $4,500 a month in rent, and we will receive $2,600 a month in tenant income from an additional 4,000 sq. ft. that is currently being leased. This results in a net gain of $7,100 per month ($85,000 per year). When we are ready for physical expansion we can move into the 4,000 sq. ft. suite in lieu of leasing the space. Lost Our Home’s fiscal policies do not allow taking on debt except in the case of an appreciating asset (real estate), and then only if financing is the only option to keep the property. Ownership of this property provides significant financial gains, operational stability, and opportunity for future growth.
How will the funds be used?
Once we raise the campaign money we will:
- Purchase the building at 2323 South Hardy Drive which includes our current 8,400 square foot shelter, as well as an additional 4,000 square feet that is leased to another tenant
- Build a dog medical room, including an isolation room for contagious dogs
- Add fire sprinklers for safety
- Install new permanent kenneling for dogs for increased safety, sanitation, and capacity, and reduced kennel stress and maintenance
Every person and pet we help in perpetuity will be a beneficiary of this project. Our building acquisition and modifications along with the financial advantages mentioned above will enable us to better serve all the people and pets we help in all of our programs, plus position us to expand our model of on-premise pet companion shelters for other domestic violence shelters, homeless shelters, behavioral health centers and more. Additionally, through the increased visibility this campaign will provide to the organization, we will draw public attention to the critical importance of the various programs Lost Our Home Pet Rescue provides.
What is the current financial position of the organization?
Our budget is balanced and we are seeking to strengthen our financial position through a variety of strategies. We are actively working on building our planned giving program and once we own the building we will be working on building a medical endowment, then a full operating endowment. Lost Our Home very strongly believes in having a good reserve. Each year, we budget a surplus specifically for reserves (vs. a typical zero base budget for non-profits). We typically start each fiscal year with a reserve of almost one year’s worth of operating expenses. This is to help us bridge any anticipated cash flow issues and unexpected expenses.
At the monthly board meetings the Board monitors actuals vs. budgeted items for expense and income to ensure that unplanned deficits do not occur. A dashboard is used to help interpret financial data and also to understand trends and forecasts for program services.
Our CEO is extremely conservative with our finances, which comes in part from her 13 years of experience in the mortgage business. She witnessed the devastation of debt during the 2008 economic crash. She saw firsthand how helpless pets and their parents lost their homes in the crisis and resolved to help them and to never endanger Lost Our Home’s financial security.
What is the plan if the total targeted amount is not raised?
If the fundraising goal is not obtained before our option to purchase expires, Lost Our Home will seek financing for the difference between what was raised and the purchase price of the building. It will not obtain financing for renovations, but will continue to fundraise and do the renovations as the money is raised.
What steps are being taken to strengthen your donor base and presence in the community?
Lost Our Home has proactively taken many steps to strengthen its donor base and community presence. This year we purchased a new donor database system that will enable us to better track, understand and communicate with our donors and thus strengthen our relationships. We also have an average of 40 new volunteers attending orientations each week, all of whom have an opportunity to also become a donor and an advocate for the rescue, spreading the news about our important work and about their favorite pets who are up for adoption.
Once we are in the public phase of the campaign, we have a marketing plan that will be implemented which will increase our presence in the community. As more and more people learn about us through the campaign, they can also be engaged in becoming annual program supporters.
What is the succession plan for the organization?
Although Jodi Polanski, Lost Our Home’s Founder and CEO, does not intend to leave her position, we do have a succession plan to ensure continuity in the unlikely event that she is unable to continue her work for the organization.
What can I support with a gift? Will my gift be recognized?
You may support whatever is the most important to you. If you wish to designate your gift for a particular campaign-related purpose, for instance, for kennels or medical facilities, we will certainly honor your intentions. We also have numerous recognition opportunities available. Recognition opportunities offer donors at different levels a variety of options, including, naming rights to the building and a variety of areas within the building, including the lobby, ReTail Boutique, Pet Food Bank, Play Park, Volunteer Welcome Center, and more. We would be most happy to discuss how you can honor or memorialize your pet or another loved one. Your company can also be recognized and receive other benefits.
What kind of gifts are you looking for?
We are seeking gifts of cash, securities, appreciated assets, and pledges over two years (2017/2018). You can arrange to make your payments on a monthly basis via bank draft or another convenient schedule can be arranged. We accept credit cards and checks.