Abracadabra! The magical staff at IFAW supported Mdzananda animal clinic

ifaw supported mdzananda animal clinic

Working in the non-profit sector for any length of time attunes you to the magical powers of the administration team. A surprisingly high number of donors are very happy to provide project funding but often with the strict admonishment that the organisation concerned should “use these funds for direct project costs only, not for administration or even salary costs!”

Working at the Mdzananda Animal Clinic, the IFAW supported community animal clinic just outside Cape Town has renewed my determination that the NPO sector, and animal welfare organisations in particular should make sure to partner with donors and supporters that fully understand the nature of the administrative support needed to run any successful and sustainable entity.

Just take Mdzananda for example - a client arrives with their pet or a stray, seeking our help in some way. The administrative office often spots this arrival from our “front row seat,” wondering what happened to that dog - maybe a motor vehicle accident related injury, or “Gosh! Look at the clever carrier that lady has made for her kitten.”

We know that Pinky and Mabhuti, the front-line team in reception will engage with and capture all the personal details of the community member concerned as well as details of the animal and its needs and keep those records on hand and up-to-date so we are able to stay in touch, give support and education and report to our funders on the effectiveness and reach of our work.

The two of them are also responsible for sales of food and other pet products and accessories that we make available to our customers at reasonable prices - this also contributes to our drive for sustainability.

Similarly, statistics about the consultations, education, mobile clinics, hospital admissions, operations performed in the theatre, stray programme and adoptions are captured so we can understand our work more fully and report more effectively.

This onerous task requires more than one player and, as we receive the relevant information from the departments concerned, Nicolette, our Executive Administrator, captures this information daily while Alicia, an intern on work placement is responsible for accurate filing so that our hospital staff can access information quickly and efficiently. Nicolette also attends to ordering supplies, monitoring maintenance, facilitating the adoption programme on site and staff admin issues.

Siphokazi is our Bookkeeper and must juggle the demands of all staff for daily payment requirements while making sure that we understand our financial position by keeping the records ship-shape.

Abracadabra! Salaries are paid, electricity is purchased, medicine and food is available for our animals, groceries arrive, banking takes place, financial systems operate, vehicles are serviced and annual leave and training and sick days are all taken care of.

Our administrative team is just as passionate about their work as the frontline team of vets, animal welfare assistants, drivers, educators, hospital and theatre staff and maintenance staff. We know which animals have come in and what's happening with them. They make us happy and they break our hearts.

We are happy in our work, knowing that we are the ones waving the magic wand to make it all happen…

--SW

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