Making a difference... One dog at a time

6 Months! Where Did That Go

Wow, doesn’t time fly when you are having fun? 6 months has passed already since Finding Furever Homes launched as a Charitable Trust – and what a lot has happened since then!

If you keep up to date with our weekly blog, you’ll know we are doing our best to try to keep on rehoming dogs – our rescues really appreciate the wider audience we are reaching on their behalf, and so we have seen a steady stream of dogs packing up their rescue kennels and moving off to their Furever Homes – homes they perhaps wouldn’t have found if we didn’t have the fabulous support we do 😉

We have also learned a lot in the last 6 months, including how being a Trustee for a small but busy charity can be very time consuming – I think there have been days where we have all said “Enough!” and again, we will learn from this and think carefully about the next six months …

Just being a registered Charity means time has to be spent – keeping the accounts in order, attending regular Trustee Meetings, taking and circulating minutes, making sure things like insurance are sorted and maintained etc. That’s before we even start updating Twitter, Facebook or the website with new dogs, dogs moving out, news, campaigns etc …..

We have been asked a few times why we chose to go for registered Charity status, especially with the extra workload it can bring – but for us the positives outweighed the negatives by a long way AND by law, if your income in donations and fundraising is over £5,000 per year, you are required to register as a charity with the Charity Commission. We always intended to raise funds over and above that amount, it equates to less than £500 per month, and we knew that to really support the rescues, the finances would have to be greater than that!

So, as well as not breaking the law, we realised that Charitable Status also meant that we would be able to apply for certain grants and funding for the rescues, AND that we would be able to open a Just Giving account for those all important fundraisers! You can’t get Just Giving if you are NOT registered as a charity. Which leads us onto Gift Aid. In the UK you can claim an extra 25p in the £ on any donations made by a UK Tax Payer – again, you can only do this as a Charity registered with HMRC, which we are. It also helps in these situations to have a qualified accountant, which we do, to take care of such matters for you – thank you Yvonne!

Other areas where Yvonne has been an absolute star has been in registering Finding Furever Homes with Companies House. This has meant that we can protect and copyright our name, so nobody can set up a commercial business using the FFH name as we have already registered it – this also keeps our domain name for the website safe too! We wouldn’t want to have say, an estate agent decide to call themselves Finding Furever Homes and confuse our dogs with their bricks & mortar! So you see, there are a lot of business/legal obligations that have to be met and that we have been carefully guided through by people far more qualified and knowledgeable than ourselves, and all for the good of the dogs 😉

Finally, and probably the most important reason to register ourselves, legally and above board, was to demonstrate a commitment to our donors. I think we have all been concerned in the past by potential “scams” that we sometimes see. We wanted to be sure that money donated to FFH could be traced and that we can tell people how it has been spent – we tend to pay bills directly to the vet, the food supplier, the builder – we don’t hand over money to a personal account where only one person is the named signatory. We have come across situations in the past where money donated to other “charitable causes” has not actually gone to where the recipient intended and we wanted to make sure as much as we possibly could that money did not just disappear into a named person’s bank account but instead went to pay the vet bill, buy food, buy collars and leads, pay for a behaviourist or builder, whatever the service actually needed was. All our Trustees are volunteers and no salaries, wages, expenses or travel allowances are paid – everything they do, they do from their own pocket at their own expense – transparency is critical to us.

So six months on, more dogs have been helped to find their Furever Homes, more funds donated to pay for those still looking, and an awful lot of hard work from a great crowd of people – THANK YOU! We are hugely grateful to every single person who has donated, supported, helped, spread the word or simply been on the sidelines with words of encouragement! We will NEVER take your support for granted and are delighted that you are as keen to help these dogs find Furever Homes as we are 🙂

We have come across some negativity too over the last 6 months, inevitable I suppose, but generally from people who don’t understand what we do, how we work or the criteria we have to work to – so hopefully by producing updates like this and our weekly Blog, people will know & understand.

Thankfully the good far outweighs the bad and with the feedback we have taken this week from the rescues that we are working with, we genuinely do believe we are making a very POSITIVE difference, one dog at a time! We have got a couple of big projects coming up over the next few months that will make a HUGE difference to two of our rescues, so please watch this space! Keep supporting, keep waving the flag and together we can do fabulous things. Thank you all xxx

PS: Our next Trustee meeting is 16th August, so any questions, feedback or agenda items, we would love to hear from you!