(Darren Peterie, Mechanics Bank Relationship Manager in Napa, submitted this item.)
When Kipling, my beloved 15-year-old English Bulldog, passed away in February, one of the things that helped me through the loss was being a volunteer and board member with Napa Humane.
One of my bank colleagues suggested that I get involved with this wonderful organization and introduced me to the executive director. It didn’t take much to convince me, since I am an unabashed animal lover. While Napa Humane doesn’t function as an animal shelter, they partner with the county’s animal control agency to offer low cost vaccinations, provide micro-chips and offer low cost spaying and neutering for cats, dogs and rabbits. They also have a state-of-the-art “mobile adoption unit” they use to take homeless pets to adoption events.
I serve on the board, and I’ve found the experience both fun and interesting. Napa Humane’s fundraising is transitioning from a once-a-year major event (Cause for the Paws) to several smaller events aimed at engaging more people and awareness year around. One of the new events is our “First Annual Walk for the Animals,” which takes place August 5th. Participants will do a one-mile walk around the center of downtown Napa, and then gather in a park where there will be booths, a pet costume contest and prizes.
Our bank will be a sponsor and have a team of walkers there. Our sponsorship this year is a great illustration of how local businesses can stretch their contribution dollars when supporting nonprofits. We are frequently approached for cash donations and we can’t always say “yes” to them or give them as much cash as they ask for. However, instead of simply declining, we try to explore other ways to help them. We’ll ask what they plan to use the money for and also find out if they need additional volunteer support for their events.
For example, Napa Humane Society was looking for bottled water donations—and we happened to have bank-labeled bottled water we could donate. We also asked them if they planned to take credit cards. As part of our Community Partners program we offer nonprofits free use of several wireless terminals—something that otherwise might cost hundreds of dollars. They were delighted to take us up on our offer of both in-kind donations. In-kind contriutions and volunteer workers are a great way for businesses to help nonprofits without breaking the budget.
Personally, volunteering has been very rewarding for me. While I miss my dog terribly, it is reassuring to know that I’m helping others learn the joys of pet ownership. If you think you would like to help Napa Humane—either on a one-time basis or longer--you can learn more at http://www.napahumane.org/. You can sign up for the Walk for the Animals at http://napahumane.org/walkforanimals/
I hope we’ll see you there.