My husband, Ron, was out on the golf course last week with his golf buddies. Ron has never met a stranger and he has no difficulty striking up conversations with anyone who is willing to reciprocate. So Ron is armed with flyers about our fundraiser at the California Pizza Kitchen on the 17th and Save the Date cards for our fundraising gala in October and he’s passing them out to everyone who acts the least bit interested. I wish I had his tenacity! Anyway, Ron’s buddy asked him point blank, “If Hart Felt works with volunteers, why do you need all this money?”
Well, first of all, wouldn’t it be nice to know that if you, for any reason, could not assist your parents or another aging relative that there is an agency like HFM out there that could step in? Wouldn’t it ease your mind to know we’re here? Some of our clients have children that have greater health issues than their parents. Some adult children are now unemployed due to the sluggish economy and are struggling as well. Some frail seniors have no family nearby to even ask for help. Some families have been torn apart over time and fear keeps them apart.
So back to the question: where does the money go? First there is the monthly rent for the small office Kelly, Jane and I share at the Salem Centre. Luckily our electricity, phone and internet costs are included in the rent, as well as conference rooms for Board meetings, volunteer orientations, and committee meetings. Of course we have salaries for Kelly who is full time, and Jane and I who are part time because without us nothing would get accomplished. It takes a lot of paper, printing, and mailing costs to run an organization like ours. Many of our clients don’t utilize email or even have access to a computer so we rely on the US Postal Service to get the paperwork we need signed into the client’s hands and back to us. We also have to print out all the volunteer applications even though most volunteers do utilize email to send and receive correspondence. There is the cost of printing correspondence, newsletters, brochures, volunteer training manuals, Board documents, and a variety of documentation for grant applications and to demonstrate compliance. Oh, and we can’t forget the cost of insurance to protect our volunteers, board, and clients!
Where does the bulk of the money go? Well, a wheelchair ramp usually begins at about $500.00 in materials. The average ramp now costs close to $600.00. While we say we will pay up to $250.00 in materials for minor home repairs, it’s hard to stay within that limit with the cost rising as I write this. These repairs include the installation of grab bars in the bathroom, handrails along stairways, paint projects, plumbing emergencies, electrical emergencies, and many other projects that we try to find licensed contractors to fix through donated time with materials we can buy at cost. Then there are also the costs associated with fundraising and volunteer recruitment and retention. Background checks run around $25 dollars each and then there’s the reference checks, printing, collating, and binding of the training materials.
Sometimes we’ll receive small grants or other funds targeted for specific needs like gift cards for food, medication, clothing or pet care assistance. While we never hand out cash, we do try to creatively find ways to meet the needs of our clients. God makes sure that those with the most need rise to the top of the stack in one way or another.
The bottom line is that in 2014 we only spent about 6.5% on administrative and fundraising costs, while the rest of the money went directly to our program. Our Attorney, CPA, Webmaster and Marketing Specialist, and all licensed contractors work pro bono. They believe in our mission and monitor our work based on their individual expertise. Their services would not be cheap and we are blessed that God sent them to us. Won’t you also help us help frail seniors with your donation? Your donation could make a huge difference to someone as close as your next door neighbor. Go to www.hartfelt.org and choose a cause to DONATE now!