This is a question we get all the time. Change up the word ‘you’ to ‘your veterinarians’, ‘your front desk staff’ or ‘your driver’ and we are 100% accurate. This newsletter piece is a little insight on why that answer is usually no.
Volunteers are precious resources, and most nonprofit organizations couldn’t accomplish what they accomplish without them. The credibility of an organization and the impact it can have on a community issue is one that must be carefully and strategically managed. The bulk of our efforts at Northwest Spay and Neuter Center happen in the surgical suite under the skillful hands of our medical team. This team uses training, skill, technique and years of practice to combat pet overpopulation to the tune of more than 13,000 spay and neuter surgeries each year.
The average veterinary clinic dedicates about a day a week for surgeries of any kind. These can include spay and neuter, amputations, enucleations and anything requiring exploratory surgery. It is unlikely that these same clinics see the daily volume (about 65-70) that we see in our little clinic in Tacoma.
So, what does all of this have to do with volunteers?
However, even though nonprofits are expected to perform like businesses, they do not get the same leeway in funding that government-contracted businesses do. They don’t have nearly the bargaining power of big corporations, or the ability to raise costs for their products and services, because of tight controls on grant funding. This country is full of wealthy companies who contract with government in the defense field (for example), and they make a killing in profits, and yet if you’re a nonprofit organization, chances are very good that you aren’t getting the full amount of funding to cover the cost of the services required. Can you imagine Boeing (or any other recognizable large corporation) putting up with a government contract that didn’t allow for overhead? Can you imagine Alaska Airlines being piloted by volunteer pilots? Furthermore, can you imagine a community without the impact of nonprofit organizations?
At Northwest Spay and Neuter Center, we take our role in animal welfare seriously. We employ skilled surgeons, professional licensed technicians, and assistants that can accommodate our volume. And every day, we deliver top notch, consistent, high-quality service. All of this in an effort to keep care affordable and accessible.
We know we are able to deliver the consistent care to our 13,000 patients a year, because this is what our team is trained to do, and compensated fairly for. Having a heart for your community is one thing, but it won’t pay your mortgage. Having a heart for your community and an equitable wage for your training, skills and performance is what makes up the tangible difference you can see in your community because of the hard work of nonprofit organizations.