Animal Friends not only offers spay and neuter services to low-income families, often using its mobile vehicle, it provides vaccination clinics and its Chow Wagon program distributes pet food and litter through local food banks. Last year, it collected about 90,000 pounds of food to stop people from feeding their pets people food.
With its new animal wellness center, Swisher hopes Chow Wagon can expand further.
But Animal Friends’ educational effort doesn’t stop there.
The organization has indicated to local vets that it isn’t trying to directly compete with them, he says. Animal Friends is focused on low-income families who normally don’t go to the vet.
Swisher started as Animal Friends’ CFO more than 20 years ago, stepping in to lead on an interim basis three years later. He’s seen the nonprofit do incredible things.
“We’ve tried over the years to knock down any barriers that are in the way to make sure people understand the importance of getting their animals altered and keeping them current on their vaccines,” Swisher says.
He’s also helped Animal Friends find strong financial footing with a clear, focused vision. For example, the nonprofit is on its third five-year strategic plan.
“When I first started, there wasn’t a lot of talk about the business side of the organization,” Swisher says. “We were a very caring, compassionate organization, as we are today, but there wasn’t a lot of focus on the business side of the organization: how to brand the organization, how to fundraise for the organization, how to look ahead.”
Animal Friends not only needs to be a compassionate organization that provides quality care, it also has to raise awareness and money. Swisher says it can do all that by sticking to its mission, ensuring existing and new programs and services meet their outcomes.