Notes to the January to March 2011 Financial Statement:
- Our largest source of income is still through donations from our stakeholders.
- We kept a very tight marginal reserve last quarter – income less expenses – which is risky should there be any emergency veterinary expenses required. We appeal to you our stakeholders to financially contribute to our Veterinary Fund to allow us to keep a larger veterinary expense reserve for any emergencies, so that we do not ever have to make a choice between treatment and euthanasia when cats can tangibly benefit from veterinary treatment.
- We did not receive any bank interests in Q1 2011.
- Cat Welfare Society Sterilisation Reimbursements remain a vital source of income for our Sterilisation Fund. We appeal to the public to donate regularly to the sole cat welfare advocacy group in Singapore for them to continue reimbursing caregivers and members for sterilisation of stray cats. As of 2010 the operational profit of CWS is in a deficit (see this PDF page 23 for their income statement) and your generous financial support for CWS will benefit not only the stray cats we sterilise, but stray cats nationwide.
- Our largest direct expense on cats (our beneficiaries) is still on sterilisation of stray cats. This will continue to be the trend as sterilisation costs for cats will continue to outweigh other per cat expenses such as boarding.
- Our Boarding Expenses were reduced by donations-in-kind from the public after our appeal was published.
- Our Operation Expenses ratio to total funds spent has gone up to 18.5% compared to 4.7% from 2010 FY. This is mostly due to an emergency Singapore Power utilities subsidy from a donor for the sum of $400 as we experienced a power and water supply cut in Q1 in our foster home in Ubi. We also purchased a second annual membership for Cat Welfare Society so as to increase our CWS sterilisation reimbursement cap by another $500 per month. For every donation that comes towards the representatives (Chiam Elaine and Andy Koh), all are recorded in our official Love Kuching financial statements for complete financial transparency. 18.5% for operational expenses i.e. expenses not used on our beneficiaries still falls within the charitable organisation mandate of no more than 30% on operational expenses.
- For a more detailed (with dates, description of items purchased) financial statement please feel free to write to Elaine at firstname.lastname@example.org to request.
As we review our last quarter and plans for 2011 we have come together on a decision to launch a new sub-fund under our Operations Fund. At present, our Operations Fund consists of:
- Seed Fund – for publicity and fund-raising expenses.
- Transport Fund – for transport to and from locations such as pet supply stores, veterinary clinics, TNRM sites.
- Other operational expenses such as stationery, and in the last quarter, utilities.
With the introduction of more volunteers in 2011 and the mandate we have set ourselves to further improve our work in 2011 we have decided to launch a new sub-fund under Operations, known as the Volunteer Fund.
This decision did not come easily – we consulted privately with our regular donors and discussed the pros and cons in detail. As volunteers, our work is pro bono, i.e. we do not earn any income from any work relating to Love Kuching. However, in the long run, in order to achieve our goals for 2011 and ahead, we will need to consider 2 expenses that are directly for humans, that is, our volunteers, in order for us to continue our trajectory without setback.
Our volunteers consist of our two founders Elaine and Andy and our volunteers with portfolio – Sterilisation Volunteers, and Communications Volunteers (to be fully integrated within the year). At present, Elaine is working for Love Kuching almost full-time (oftentimes at the expense of her freelance work which is income-generating). The 2 expenses that will come out of the Volunteer Fund will be in the 2 forms of (1) volunteer appreciation – gifts or reimbursements for meals and transport; (2) honorariums. Volunteer appreciation will apply for Andy, Elaine and volunteers with portfolio. Honorariums will apply to Elaine who is contributing her executive and administrative skills to Love Kuching’s operations. The exact amounts of these 2 expenses will depend on donor response to the Volunteer Fund which we can publish once the baseline of funds has been established. The usual charity sector volunteer reimbursements are at $5 per day per volunteer on days that the volunteers are active. All volunteer expenses will have the relevant paperwork and be recorded in our financial statements.
We were hesitant to launch the Volunteer Fund at first because the Singaporean climate towards paying staff or volunteers in the charity sector is highly risk-averse unlike in other countries, where it is highly recommended to pay non-profit workers in order to achieve greater financial transparency. But we as Singaporeans ourselves understand this risk-averse attitude in charitable giving hence our own initial hesitance. There are cases nationwide of solitary cat caregivers who pilfer funds secretly for their own use, claiming to donors that the funds are for buying cat food or for veterinary or sterilisation expenses of stray cats. In order for us to make it meaningful and secure for our stakeholders regarding expenses on volunteers, we have to make it above board and financially transparent, hence the launch of the Volunteer Fund. We did a straw poll to garner donors’ attitudes towards it and the response has been very supportive, indicative that our stakeholders truly appreciate the sweat equity that has been placed into Love Kuching Project by the volunteers.
Love Kuching Project is here to stay and raise the bar for cat rescue year on year. Every initiative that we launch and you support reinforces our mission that we will continue to love the cats in our lives and neighbourhoods. A big thank-you to all the ‘cat-angels’ as we affectionately term our donors, and to the The Water Dish our corporate sponsor, for helping us come this far and bringing us further in our journey in Love Kuching Project!