Editor's Note: Page Knoebel is the Co-Founder and Board President of Satchel’s Last Resort.
On Tuesday, November 14, the team from Satchel’s Last Resort made up of Iris Eastman, (Executive Director), Doug Walker (Operations Manager), and I presented our business plan to raise $50,000 in startup capital for an Animal Behavior Center to a group of our supporters.
Hearing about Satchel’s opening a Behavior Center was nothing new to them. We’ve been talking about it for two years. The need for such a place, how it will help not just Satchel’s but people and pets in the community and other shelters as well…
Satchel’s is a lean organization. Up to this point, we’ve had no advertising or marketing budget. Every cent donated goes toward animal care. So, to get this business plan and presentation ready, we had to reach out to our community; students from Ringling College of Art & Design helped us with our fast pitch slide presentation and with pictures for our dog and cat cutouts, and John Dingell, the kind owner of the UPS store on Clark Road printed our business plans at cost.
Any presentation jitters we had were gone as soon as we walked into the room for our presentation. Inside, before any of our invited attendees arrived, were our biggest supporters for this venture…Larry Clark, our consultant from No Margin, No Mission (NMNM) who spent hours helping us complete our business plan, and Michael Oxman, also from NMNM; Michael Corley and Josephine Eisenberg from The Patterson Foundation (TPF), and Sara Leonard, our fundraising consultant from the Sara Leonard Group. We set up life sized cutouts of a few of Satchel’s dogs and cats and sat amongst them for pictures; we put doggy business cards and Satchel’s hats on all the tables, and we were ready to rock.
The invited guests arrived. Michael Corley shared with them how hard we worked to get to this point – that we weren’t selected the first year, but came back, tried again and was one of four nonprofits selected from the group of 100 participating. Larry Clark echoed those sentiments and described the Margin and Mission Ignition Initiative, how it was embraced by TPF as a way to help nonprofits become more self-sustaining by developing mission-driven businesses.
Then, we were on – and the magic happened. We talked about our mission and how our Behavior Center is a natural extension of that. How classes at our Center will differ from training that is already offered. That it is often very traumatic for a person to give up a pet, but they’re panicked and don’t know what else to do. How we receive at least 60 calls a month from people needing help – usually these are easily dealt with behavior issues, but we haven’t had the resources to help them.
Our attendees were engaged, asked great questions, and gave us valuable feedback. The takeaway from that morning’s presentation was priceless.
Michael Corley wrapped up our presentation with a generous, completely unexpected announcement; TPF would match, dollar for dollar, the first $25,000 we raised for our $50,000 startup goal. We were wonderfully stunned!
One of our attendees handed me a napkin with a $7,500 pledge. Another gave us a verbal pledge of $5,000. At that point, the President of the Johnson Foundation, who was in attendance, announced that the Foundation would also match, dollar for dollar all donations up to $25,000 – and then, went on to offer the Foundation’s matching of funds for the second $25,000! Now, if we raise our $50,000 in startup capital, we will have $125,000, enabling us to do many facility upgrades in the first year that were originally scheduled for year two – and we can accelerate the hiring of outside behavior consultants so we can offer more classes and help more people keep their companion animals. Whoa!
We have raised $15,000 towards our initial goal of $25,000. Big Cat Habitat, in a true showing of one rescue helping another is hosting a few of Satchel’s dogs at their facility on Palmer Boulevard on Sunday, December 17, and donating $3.00 of every entrance ticket sale that day to our new Behavior Center.
We had a mini fast pitch – with four new potential donors – on December 12.
We are going to get this done and we are going to make a difference in this community, all because The Patterson Foundation and the Margin and Mission Ignition consultants gave Satchel’s a second chance – the same thing we do for the animals in our care.
For those who shared part of their day with us and to all who are helping us make this income earning venture a reality, a heartfelt thank you.