continued Fortunately, Morgan and his board of directors, including treasurer Nick Pirro, were able to turn that around.
“Just prior to Paul coming in, the only fundraising that was done was what people gave just on their own initiative, as well as a couple of small fundraisers,” Pirro said. “Since then, with the help of some new people here, the events have produced more money. But also, we went to direct mail, which was something that hadn’t been done before, and that has been very successful. It’s the old adage — if you don’t ask, you don’t get. It’s as simple as that. I learned that in politics.”
Morgan said the shelter has also begun to pursue grants more aggressively.
““That’s helped out in regards to capital improvements,” he said. “We had the front office remodeled about four or five years ago, and that was all paid for through state funding. By going to the people at the state level and saying, ‘We’re a nonprofit, will you help us help the animals in our community?’ that’s helped out a lot.”
But none of it would be possible without the generosity of the members of the Central New York community, many of whom recognize that it’s their dollars that both help the shelter operate and fund capital improvements.
“It’s interesting how they’ll do it,” Morgan said. “They’ll send back the response letter with two checks in it. One will be $25 [specifically designated] for the capital improvement project, and they’ll have another for $25 [specifically designated] for the general fund. The generosity and the thinking mechanism that’s going on, I think it’s working. People are starting to contribute and see how important it is for the community.”
During Morgan’s tenure as executive director, there have been several major renovations at the shelter, the most extensive of which being the construction of the veterinary center. The facility can now provide on-site care for animals with special medical needs, as well as all necessary vaccinations and some low-cost spaying and neutering. The clinic performed 459 surgeries last year as part of a program paid for by a PetSmart Charities grant that provided for low-income spaying and neutering for the 13211 zip code, a program Morgan says he hopes to participate in for another zip code next year.