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Executive Director Update

I hope you enjoy the articles found here in our 2024 Q1 newsletter! You’ll find an interview with our co-founder, Charli King; updates from each of our programs; and other tidbits. In other news, the Board of Directors welcomed Jim Wegerbauer as a new Board member and our Treasurer at its February meeting. And then, it dove right into our updated Pawsitive Teams Strategic Plan (2024-2027), our budget for this new year and our results from 2023. The following information provides you with a recap.


Strategic Thinking: The Pawsitive Teams Strategic Plan has been in existence for many years and is now a three-year rolling plan updated annually by the Board of Directors. The Plan consists of three major Goals: (I) Assure the Long-term Financial Viability of Pawsitive Teams; (II) Assure Program and Services Leadership, Quality and Development; and (III) Administratively Assure the Efficient and Monetarily Sound Operation of Pawsitive Teams. Each Goal consists of relevant Objectives, under which achievable Tactics are outlined. The Objectives and Tactics are action oriented so as to achieve the longer-term strategic Goal under which they are placed. To that end, the Board carefully reviewed its Goals, Objectives, and Tactics, refining these to reflect both achievements as well as putting a fine point on those activities that require new or additional work.


In Goal I, we tackle increasing our endowment, continuing to grow funding from grants, obtaining data to show our impact, marketing our planned giving program, increasing our donor database, and developing marketing materials specific to corporate giving.  As an example, key to assuring the long-term financial viability of our organization, is a new Objective, to increase the amount of grant funding we obtain annually. Over the past four years, we have benefitted from increasing the number of grant proposals submitted to funders whose mission aligns with ours. From that effort, we have received $253,727.00 in funding over four years. In addition, we received $133,845.00 in unsolicited grant funding, i.e., from organizations to which we did not submit a proposal but rather that surprised us with their generous grants. While we know that funding is tight and there are more nonprofits here in San Diego competing for those funds than ever before, we now have a new objective concerning increasing grant funding. Hand in glove with that goal, however, is the ability to provide solid data showing funders our impact of all our programs in San Diego. Volunteers and the management team are already beginning work on defining, collecting, analyzing, and reporting data demonstrating our reach and impact in our community.


In Goal II, each of our program managers carefully refined their programmatic goals. We aligned objectives and tactics that are inextricably linked within and across our programs so that we can grow Pawsitive Teams over time, understanding both opportunities and constraints. As well, back in the mix with this updated Plan is preparing for our upcoming ADI reaccreditation for the Service and Facility Dog programs. Within Goal III, the Board agreed to create two committees, both concerned with increasing our presence in San Diego. The first will address the goal of obtaining corporate sponsorship and the other addresses marketing the Planned Giving program. Goal III also addresses the continuing refinement of our “one system” technology solutions including implementing the Volunteer module of SalesForce and ensuring that required data flows seamlessly into the system.


2023 rolls into 2024: Most nonprofit organizations across the country had the same experience we had in 2023, that of a decline in donations both large and small. Particularly hard hit were small organizations like ours. Not only did studies show that individuals gave less or less frequently, but funding organizations and the philanthropic arm of corporations find themselves in the same situation and cannot fund all those who make requests. The average donor retention from year to year across U.S. nonprofits is at a low of 42.6%. The reasons for this situation are quite varied and definitely understandable, given the tragedies occurring around the world and the state of our national and local economies.


However, Pawsitive Teams was very blessed in 2023. As you know from our previous newsletters, we received very large gifts from The Rainbow Girls of California and from the Sands Estate. These combined funds not only went to our operational expenses that were not covered through individual, corporate or grant funding, but also have been invested wisely to help us as needed this year and beyond. In 2023, grant funding covered half the cost of our new roof, and in 2024, grant funding covered half the cost of our new HVAC system and funding from the Sands Estate had been placed inour restricted Training Center maintenance account and covered the other half.  Both of these systems were decades old and well beyond their expected life, so we are lucky to have been able to replace them.


How can you help? For 2024, the Board and our management team have worked to pare our expenses even more than last year as well as brainstorm ways to increase our funding. We will need everyone’s ideas to generate more funding, so please email me with your great ideas at: [email protected] As well, please provide contact information for individuals you feel should know more about Pawsitive Teams. By being an ambassador for us so we can let more individuals know about our great work, you will help ensure that the future of our organization is bright.


Thank you for all you do,