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Discussion Starter #1
I've decided to try to help with the feral cat problem in my town. TNR is the way to go, and I want to keep them fed and warm. Like so many other people in the US right now, I'm unemployed so I have plenty of time to give but not a lot of cash.

Does anyone have any good tips on how to start a fund like this? I was thinking about all the regular things like putting jars in gas stations, flyers in windows. That type of thing. Maybe even a car wash in the spring. Any other good ideas?

Do I have to make it an official non-profit or can I just go around collecting money from people?
 

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I would suggest making it an official non-profit, simply for legal matters, taxes, and any other issues you may run into after a while. There's an article on how to start charity organizations in a magazine I read the other day. But it's my "bathtime book", so I'll get it tomorrow after my bath and bring it down to the computer and post the info for ya.

You can try a jar. My group tried putting a jar in a coffee shop (one volunteer is good friends with the owner/barista), but we got maybe $10 in a whole week. We also have a jar at the vet we use, and it's got maybe $15 in 6 months of being there. Not much, but I guess every little bit helps.
You could also do fund raisers like bake sales, or sell beaded bracelets, or whatever you can think of. We sold cookie dough from a local company...I think it was $20 for a pound of dough, and we got $15 of it ($5 went to the company for their expenses of supplying it).
Be sure you get any permits needed, for selling stuff! I've heard several stories of KIDS being fined for having lemonade stands without a business license! But hey, that's the world these days...

I don't really get involved in the money part. Like you, I don't work and can't afford to donate to all these things. However, I do go to the sanctuary to clean the place and care for the cats (one cat that needs medicine won't let anybody but me touch her!) about 3 or 4 times a week. Our funds aren't enough to hire paid people, and it seems lots of people don't want to volunteer when it requires physical labor. (lots of times we get people that come and just play around with the kitties, and I end up doing all the chores).
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the advice, Vivid Dawn. I figured the jars don't pull in much. You're right though, every little bit counts. The beaded jewelry sounds good because I know how to make wooden beads. They would be easy and cheap for me to make since you can just pick up sticks off the ground. Almost like free money!
 

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Thank you so much for getting back to me with that link. It has some good information on it that I hadn't thought of or read yet. Seems like a lot of work, but I'm up for it!

Your cookie dough example you posted inspired me to talk to a local restaurant. The manager seemed enthusiastic about coming up with a way for us to work together. Hopefully he'll still be enthusiastic when the time comes.

Thanks again for your help.
 

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Good thing I'm behind in my magazine reading, huh? That was from the July issue! LOL

We also wanted to sell pizza, but the only pizza company that really did fundraisers required a HUGE order, and delivered with a semi-truck...and they would only deliver to somewhere we could keep such a load. So be sure whatever you chose, you have proper resources to complete the activity. The cookie dough just needed to be refrigerated, and could be stored in somebody's basement "food storage" fridge and transported by car, so that's why we did that one.
 

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OOOOOooooo LOVE this thread!

I'd love to start something like this in my town. My awesome neighbor already feeds the ferals and has a hutch to keep them warm on her patio, but I'd like to take it a step further with the TNR. That way, I can stop seeing new kittens every year. Much as I love them, it breaks my heart too much, as I'm sure most if not every person on this thread can understand. :(
 

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Yeah, kittens are cute... but so vulnerable in many ways. I was very hesitant to let Zinny back out to the colony last month, as she's still so small (6 months old, barely 4 pounds). When I first caught her, she had pneumonia so bad that the vet shook his head when he listened to her breathe, and I seriously thought he was going to tell me she wouldn't get through it. But she seems to be doing okay, probably only because I feed her and have insulated shelters. Otherwise, I'm not sure she would survive the winter.
 

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OOOOOooooo LOVE this thread!

I'd love to start something like this in my town. My awesome neighbor already feeds the ferals and has a hutch to keep them warm on her patio, but I'd like to take it a step further with the TNR. That way, I can stop seeing new kittens every year. Much as I love them, it breaks my heart too much, as I'm sure most if not every person on this thread can understand. :(
I'm sure you can find somewhere affordable to do the neutering where you are. See if you can get some cash up with your neighbor. Even if you only get one fixed, that's a big help.
 

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OOOOOooooo LOVE this thread!

I'd love to start something like this in my town. My awesome neighbor already feeds the ferals and has a hutch to keep them warm on her patio, but I'd like to take it a step further with the TNR. That way, I can stop seeing new kittens every year. Much as I love them, it breaks my heart too much, as I'm sure most if not every person on this thread can understand. :(
If anything, the people on the feral section would understand not wanting to see kittens each year. 50% of all kittens born die a horrible death and not make it to adulthood. When you see kittens it means more numbers added to the feral population which all people who do TNR are trying to bring down the numbers. My TNR group was thrilled the first year two of our supported colonies had no kittens! That is a victory.

What is the purpose of you gather money? Is it for spay/neuters, vaccinations, buy traps, build winter homes for ferals, pay for food, meds, or what?

The best thing you could do is gather several of your cat friends who are interested in TNR and organize. Become a 501c3. It makes you legit.

In mid 2006 seven cat loving people got together and orgainized. By 2010 we have done over 850 cats. Vetting and adopting out companion cats we had trapped that had been abandoned. and vetting ferals in supported colonies with caretakers. We supply the food for the caretakers.

Weve run this on a shoe string. But its amazing how much can be accomplished with determined cat lovers. Half the funds raised go to medical issues. Ive had to dig deep in my own pockets at times when funds were low.

Develope a good working relationship with cat savvy vets. Find out where low cost spay/neuter clinics are. Keep your ear to the ground of grants given to these places that give free S/N for ferals. Start writing for grants, sell handmade product on Etsy or at a farmers market. Tap your employed animal loving friends to donate. There is so much you can do to make this work. But it take a group wanting to do this mission of helping ferals. Its always easier to do it with friends who support you and take on part of the work.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
What is the purpose of you gather money? Is it for spay/neuters, vaccinations, buy traps, build winter homes for ferals, pay for food, meds, or what?
All of the above! :)

I've been trying to get other people involved in this, but none of my friends seem interested past the point of pretending. They say they're too busy...while watching tv. But I guess everybody has their own priorities. I'm just tired of seeing something that needs to be done and nobody trying to do it.

There are a few people from the local shelter who are interested in helping but they pretty much have their hands full already. My parents are going to help me build some shelters and I already have a source for good free food, as long as it lasts.

Becoming a 501c3 is something I've been looking into. Is there a way to get out of the filing fee? It would be $400 which is exactly $400 more than what I have to work with right now.
 

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It cost us $500. No way around it. You just have to suck it up and pay it! You also need to file once a year- taxes. but the bene is, money donated can be tax deductable.

Where are you located?
 

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I'm in East Tennessee and I'm really wondering if we'll even get $500 a year in donations. The town I live in isn't particularly cat friendly.

I did get some good news today though. I had left a note with my email address on a little cat shelter that someone had put by a dumpster in town because there's a colony of cats that live there. They always leave food for them too. The cats must get enough to eat because when I go to check on them, they're always hanging out and there's still food in their bowl.

Well today I got an email from the lady who takes care of them, and she's interested in helping out. Not only that, but she says she knows others who are also interested. Yay! There's only so much I can do on my own, so this is fabulous news to me. I was really worried it might just be me for a while.
 

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That is good news. Youll be surprised once the word gets out of the people youll meet or come forward wanting to make a difference. The community that I live in is very small but we managed to raise around $40,000 a year now that people know who we are and we have a history so grants are easier to get.

We could easily use 4x that amount each year. A friend of mine gave us a grant for $10,000 with 2 years to spend it. We have to document how it was used. We managed to use it up in 6 months. We had spay/neuter clinics and was able to vaccinate, treat for mites and fleas too out of the grant. Build some feeding stations, buy food with it for colonies.

A lot of grants are very limiting on what it can be used for. Only S/N.. but not for vaccination..crazy hugh?
 
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