The Shade Tree shelter for women and children in crisis is experiencing one of its own.
If public contributions don’t pick up, the shelter could be forced to cut programs or start charging for services, according to the head of the shelter.
As of June 30 , preliminary numbers showed the shelter had a budget deficit of $174,663, said Marlene Richter, the shelter’s executive director. The shelter’s fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30.
“We know that our expenses are at the minimum and there’s nothing else that we can do with expenses,” she said. “So all eyes are on public contributions and bringing those up.”
The shelter did not meet its public contributions goal for the 2012-2013 fiscal year , Richter said. It had set a goal of raising $1.9 million in contributions, including private grants, but according to preliminary numbers it only brought in about $1.1 million.
At the same time, the shelter budgeted to receive about $500,000 in local and federal government grants. Preliminary numbers show that it received $600,000, but that may increase , Richter said.
Its annual operating budget is about $3 million.
Richter said some regular donors are making smaller donations than they have in the past.
People are still recovering from economic hard times.
“Our community is just starting to get back on its feet and we know that from our volunteers who are here,” Richter said.
That doesn’t mean the shelter doesn’t plan to have a more aggressive fund-raising strategy for fiscal year 2013-14 . The shelter is doing some things differently, Richter said.
For example, for the first time during summer, the shelter is sending letters to donors asking them to keep Shade Tree in mind.
“We are asking them to remember us this summer,” she said. “The need continues.”
It will also conduct small, medium and large fundraising events to give people options to contribute, Richter said.
If the shelter’s public contributions don’t pick up, it could be forced to take actions that are not aligned with its mission.
“We talked about it (charging for services), but it’s against our philosophy,” she said, adding that in 22 years of operation, the shelter has never charged. Charging would be a last resort, Richter said, because she wants women to know that there’s a place to turn to if they are in crisis.
In 2011-12, Shade Tree served 4,512 women, and in 2012-2013, it served 5,200, Richter said.
Lisa Lynn Chapman, director of community relations for Safe Nest, a local nonprofit that assists victims of domestic violence, said their community donations also have decreased, but the nonprofit is looking for other ways to bring in more funding.
Donations make up about 50 percent of Safe Nest’s just under $4 million operating budget, Chapman said.
Last year it served a little over 50,000 people with shelter, counseling, advocacy and prevention education.
“The economy affected every nonprofit,” she said. “We are not exempt from it.”
Contact Yesenia Amaro at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0440.