I am presently going through the process in MO. The paperwork was minimal. Two pages. The hardest part is figuring out a name for the rescue. =) There is no fee for a rescue license through USDA.
As for funding...we are holding a neighborhood garage sale in June to benefit our vet fund. We are sending out flyers asking for household items for the sale. We will include a wishlist of items needed for the rescue as well. I have had offers from a few girl scout troops to help me as a service project. That is where we are right now.
We brought one of our pet GP's to school for a visit today. It was great PR. Two parents asked about adopting a GP. I sent them to the Humane Society as I don't have any rescues or foster pigs (we are in the process of fostering pregant GP's for the Humane Society) yet.
- I GAVE, dammit!
We have 14 pigs here now, and expect at least $350 a month in vegetables and another $150 or so in hay and pellets.
Other supplies like coroplast, water bottles, food dishes, bedding, medical supplies, medications, etc. are extra.
Expect that you will easily go up into spending tens of thousands of dollars a year if your population rises or you get a few geriatric pigs in that cost you money at the vet's.
We support our rescue by obtaining a reseller's license and selling accessories and feed to the public which we buy wholesale. Some of our products are homemade and donated by volunteers but the vast majority are purchased with the reseller's license.
We attend major events that generate a good deal of our revenue; We hold a "supply day" once a month where we offer discount feed to all of our adopters and to anyone in the public who inquires; and we build cages for people who can't be bothered to make them themselves.
Adopters are always given the options of finding their own feed (and told what is best) or purchasing it from us. Same goes for the cage. We send them to the www.cavycages.com website to show them how to build it, and add that we do custom make them for busy people. When I started the average adoption donation was $25 and now the average is $100.
We have a "sponsor a pig" section of our website where the public can donate to a particular pig's medical fund. Everything from neuters to consults with specialists has been funded through the sponsor page.
We have a CafePress site and are registered with IGive.
When we were really desperate we took all our old things and sold them at the swap meet for 300$.
The last thing that I personally paid for was Panda's emergency medical care, but only because I had not authorized it with the board of directors.
We are a 501(C)3 and have been incorporated for a year. I'm not saying that we are wealthy; on the contrary, we are often scraping for funds. But we do have a regular cash flow that provides the basic needs for the pigs. When major veterinary problems come around, we kick into high gear and seek out donors and other ways of helping the pigs.
- I GAVE, dammit!
I didn't mean to sound callous - We are very grateful for each and every donation that we do get. Unfortunately, what we get in donations seems to only make up about 10% or so of what we're actually spending.
What the 501(C)3 has done is make us eligible to particpate in large adoption fairs and benefits for animals where we can sell our supplies. The reseller's license is by far our greatest tool for helping the pigs.
- You can quote me
1. On your own;
2. Becoming a licensed or registered rescuer in your state. This is what Suzie is doing. Each state is a little different (in Georgia it's Georgia Dept. of Agriculture that does the licensing, rather than USDA as in Missouri), but in general the state recognizes you as a rescuer. This means among other things you can generally pull from shelters and animal controls at a reduced cost, or free;
3. 501(c)3 is a Federally-recognized charitable organization, entitling you to tell your donors their contributions are tax-deductible; enabling you to get a reseller's license, etc.
From your profile I would suggest you contact Rose at The Critter Corral: http://www.crittercorral.org
Maybe foster for her and see how it goes?
I just realized that my license is through the MO State Department of Agriculture, not the USDA as I stated earlier. I had just been researching the USDA and I had it on the mind.
I am curious if any of the rescues represented here has been able to work out a payment plan or discounted services with their vets?
I know a vet here has offered to neuter free of charge.
Talishan has been big help to lots of people. She and her husband just prove that you don't have to foster pigs to help out. She did a transport for me, without her help I couldn't have done it.
Being new myself to rescue. I have had to learn to say 'No" you can't save them all. You have to know how many you can afford to take care of properly and leave it at that. My limit is 10 if none are pregnant,and 5 if I have pregnant ones. Just in case the vet bills coming rolling in, I want to be sure I can pay.
I get a fair number of kids with their parents who say they want to run a guinea pig rescue when they grow up. It's very sweet. My advice: be sure to study hard in school and be very successful at what you do. It takes money. A lot of it. And all the effort that you have to do to raise money takes time and takes away from other things. A whole lot of trade-offs.
You really should read the thread on the first link I posted on the cavy rescue forum about starting and starting small or fostering -- as has been wisely suggested.
I've cut back significantly where I can. And I'm finally getting caught up on my paperwork and facing exactly how much money I am spending on what. Not done yet, but it's looking like around $1000 a month right now. That's $12,000 a year, cash out of pocket. In addition to my regular rescue expenses, I have a pretty hefty internet and software bill because of all the sites and services I provide. Donations ebb and flow. Sometimes they are decently above adoption fees, sometimes not. NEVER do adoption fees or donations come close to expenses.
I've decided I will not go the way of non-profit for two reasons. One is paperwork. It's pain enough as it is for me, but more important to me are the restrictions on lobbying. No way I'm going to allow some effin' breeder get me in trouble for violating some lobbying rules. And I know they would. For me, it's not worth it.
In getting the SB1357 bill passed in Sacramento, there is no way I could have done it the same way or anywhere near as effectively had I been a 501c3. It's just what's important to me.