Thursday, July 29, 2010

I hate events -- but I love my job.

Hello! My name is Danielle Slaughter and I am the Fundraising and Event Director for NMHPU. The first thing you should know about me is that I hate events and I hate asking people for money. Before I came to NMHPU, I always worked hands-on with animals, as a wildlife rehabilitator and a veterinary technician -- up close and personal and never behind a desk. When I took this position, I suddenly had to focus on raising funds and reaching budget goals. I had to direct and participate in major events upon whose success the raising of thousands of dollars depended. And, in some cases, the saving of hundreds of animal lives.

Despite that, I love my job. I love it because, through my time here, I’ve come to see how vital sufficient funding is to the success of our life-saving programs, which are the reason for our existence. If we don’t have enough money, we can’t help as many people spay & neuter their pets for free or low cost, we can’t help save as many feral cats, we can’t rescue as many dogs and cats from the euthanasia lists of shelters, we can’t hold super adoptions (which allow hundreds of homeless pets to be seen by hundreds of potential adopters over three-day weekends), and we can’t operate the Big Fix and the Utah County Spay & Neuter Clinic.

Over the years, it’s become easier for me to manage events and monitor budgets and attempt to raise money. It’s easier because in everything I do, no matter how uncomfortable the task, I keep in mind that I’m doing it to achieve our mission: to end the euthanasia of homeless dogs and cats statewide and to promote humane alternatives for feral cats. And I am rewarded for my efforts when I see homeless dogs and cats going home with their new, loving families. When I see how many people and animals our Feral Fix and Free Fix programs are helping. When I see the statistics that prove our efforts are helping to raise adoption numbers and lower euthanasia numbers in Utah. And, of course, when I get to work with all of the incredible people in our state who give their hearts and souls every day to save dogs and cats.

Danielle Slaughter
Fundraising and Event Director

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Moving to a new chapter of my life . . .

After ten years feeling so blessed to come to work every day, I am embarking upon a new chapter in my life. My husband and I have been invited to join the Best Friends Animal Society team and will be relocating to Kanab, Utah. I am thrilled to continue working in the No More Homeless Pets movement, and I am excited to take my knowledge of the amazing work that this organization has achieved and use it to help other communities throughout the country save more lives.

I cannot express how deeply I will miss my No More Homeless Pets in Utah family. Since I was a young child, I dreamed of doing precisely what I do today--helping save dogs and cats. And in saving these lives I have been fortunate enough to interact with the most amazing people. Our donors, our volunteers, our board of directors, our staff, our sponsors, our shelter partners and rescue friends have enriched my life so very much. Every time I look at our 10th anniversary logo, I tear up--no kidding. It says "10 Years, Over 100,000 Lives Saved." I cannot thank you all enough for making this happen, and I am so grateful to have made this journey with you all. I am confident that under the new leadership at No More Homeless Pets in Utah the rest of the cats and dogs, kittens and puppies, WILL be saved....and there are many, many more in need. The talent, dedication, and sheer will of this team will surely make it happen--along with your unwavering support, of course.

Kalinda Solbes, current NMHPU executive team member and spay/neuter director, will lead the team as interim executive director. Kalinda has been a major force in supporting the vision and in fulfilling our mission here for the last seven years, and she will be a tremendous leader during this transition. Lydia Beuning, current NMHPU executive team member and administrative director, will be at Kalinda's side. I have worked very closely with these two talented women and know the organization is in good hands.

Thank you for the last ten years, thank you for your support of one of the best organizations ever, thank you for your continued support so that No More Homeless Pets in Utah will soon become a reality.

With love and a firm belief that together we can indeed save them all,

Holly Sizemore
No More Homeless Pets in Utah

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Numbers and inspiration at NMHPU

As an employee of NMHPU, numbers are a significant portion of my job: The e-metric rate is discussed and is a good way for us to measure the success in the state in association with the shelters’ euthanasia rate. The adoptions department updates staff on weekend adoption numbers. After one of our fundraising events everyone eagerly awaits the amounts raised. As a non-profit we are reminded to turn lights off or run the air conditioner sparingly to stick to budget.

Specific to the program I coordinate (spay and neuter vouchers for qualified applicants), I track my spending and payments to vet clinics, I keep tally of how many dogs and cats the voucher program has fixed and how many applications are coming in from each county; I pay attention to certain shelter intakes, euthanasia rates and adoption rates.

Numbers are spoken of throughout the NMHPU office, and I’m quite keen to the conversation. I majored in Economics and have a slight zeal for statistics, graphs and organization, so tying numbers in with my love for animals is a delightful way to make a living.

As with most jobs, there is always a boss thrown in the mix, and this individual can be the key element in the evolution of each staff member and their duties. The boss can also be a detrimental part of any advancement and a cause for staff to dread their job and put their frustrations in place of their passion for an organization’s goals. My boss, Holly Sizemore, is nothing of the latter; she is mostly comprised of the leader that makes me recognize the tangible change in my work when the numbers don’t.

She assesses personalities, as a boss should, and customizes her approach to each employee, thus she captures the attention of her employees and their trust. She uses my statistical skills to evaluate my program, better it and discuss it with the public and with me. She’s a prime example of a director who is extremely knowledgeable in all aspects of the animal rescue world, statewide and nationally, and she keeps herself updated daily. She’s passionate, personable, firm, intelligent, spicy, respectful, inspiring, funny and visionary; she sees the best in her staff and has an elegant humor towards their imperfections. She is the only supervisor I have had that makes me feel important because I am important, because the dependency that falls upon NMHPU is a need that falls on me. With this awareness, I put my best foot forward every day of work--even on the days where the hopelessness of homeless animal realities are heaviest.

After ten years with NMHPU, Holly has resigned and taken a position to assist animals on a broader level; I commend her achievements. Though I am sad to see her leave, I look forward to the statistics she’ll be improving and the great save rate numbers to come out of NMHPU from the legacy she leaves behind.

Andrea Torre
Free Fix Director