Changing our system of giving

Posted on Posted in Blog

The NTU Cat Management Network has been operating for nearly 13 years now. What started out as a Trap-Neuter-Return-Manage system jointly managed by faculty residents and students has evolved drastically. The campus cats are now an integral part of campus culture; icons in their own right; hall residents and JCRCs have helped support these campus cats through thick and thin.

We’ve always faced difficulties getting donations throughout the last 13 years. For one, our expenses have always been tied to the number of cats that need help and the severity of their illnesses and ailments; and we are one of a few school clubs – if not the only club – that deals with direct beneficiaries who have no underlying social support system (other organisations) below them.

We have had to adapt and evolve to regulations from the campus administration and the law, making sure that we keep in line with the various agreements we’ve made, and the obligations stated in our mission: to care for the campus cats. We’ve also made efforts to modernise and keep up with the times; changing the ways we reach out to hall residents, and changing the ways they can give to help our campus cats.

Which is why we now have to fundamentally change how we receive your generosity, in line with long-standing rules from the Student Affairs Office that bar online fundraising, which we have used to help fund vet bills for the campus cats.

The major change

The biggest change is something that you probably won’t notice, but we will no longer be soliciting donations for the campus cats.

This means that from 31st December 2017, we’ll no longer be accepting bank transfers direct to our Financial Controller, nor Paypal donations from into our Paypal account.

The only donations that we’ll accept will be from iGave, which goes through the Development Office. We’ll be including instructions on how to make a bank transfer through iGave, and speaking to the Development Office on how best they can facilitate donations of smaller sums.

Sales, instead of donations

Instead of soliciting donations, we’ll be selling electronic thank-you cards – similar to the ones we are currently selling for Nanyang and Techie.

We’ll also be selling merchandise (either online, or a with few potential campus partners) during term time. This, we hope, will foster campus cat culture amongst hall residents, but as a group of students, it is inevitable that we face some hiccups along the way.

We’ll also be bringing fundraisers for campus cats who need it closer to hall residents, by hosting fundraising booths in halls where a cat needs help.

Ensuring accountability

We’ve submitted our accounts for auditing in the last two academic years, and have nominated the NBS Audit and Assurance Team as our independent auditors for the year onward.

In addition, we have been transparent about our vet bills, with annual reports published every year that include a detailed breakdown of veterinary expenses and a summarised report of what has gone on for the club.

We’re intending to continue doing so in future years, so you may rest assured that we are spending money prudently for the benefit of our campus cats.

The impact on our bottom line

As a non-profit, these changes are bound to impact our ability to fundraise.

One major way we think this will hurt our bottom line is in the ease in which people give to us.

It limits the generosity from people who may have connected with us solely because they feel an affinity to the campus cats; we’ve met people from around the neighbourhood and beyond – parents of hall residents and people who just live in Pioneer – who have cared so much that they make trips to campus just to visit our cats, and we’ve met students who have joined us because they’ve heard of us during their pre-university days (some of them are even Main Committee members)

These people hear from us through social media, and social media reach for merchandising often stop short as Facebook throttles potential ads on its feed.

We’ll continue to make it easier for these people to give back to the campus cats, and ensure that not much has changed, save for the fact that you’ll get something back. Our hope is that in adapting, we do not hurt our ability to raise funds for the campus cats (and occasion, some campus dogs).

We thank you for your continued support, and hope that this doesn’t change your mind about assisting us.