When a rescue expands to the point where the salaries of the principals of the rescue can no longer support it, and it is to some degree (or entirely) dependent upon donations/volunteers, is that irresponsible/short-sighted in of itself? I tend to think it is.
Let's face it: You can't MAKE people give money. Charitable donations vary greatly depending on many factors: the economy, your rescue's reputation, changes in tax law, etc. Donations of labor/volunteering depend on the same factors. When the economy is poor, a part-time job becomes more appealing than volunteering.
Now obviously we all know of organizations that have well-developed fundraising departments and really have it down to a science, where the ups and downs of giving are never in danger of totally shutting down operations. I.E. HSUS. But in between the small, privately financed rescue, and the huge, national organization,there seem to be a lot of rescues a little too big for the principals to support, teetering on the brink of disaster and constantly begging for money. I'm sure they think they can build things into the next HSUS...but just like new, small businesses, most of them crash and burn. Unlike Suzy's Coffee Shop and Tattoo Parlor, though, personal bankruptcy doesn't solve everything when a rescue fails. Instead we are left with, typically, dozens or hundreds of animals on whom vet care, nutrition, etc. has been neglected - a massive mess for someone else to clean up.
This is a 27 year old Thoroughbred mare. The first pic is in February 2007 - the second pic just seven months later. HOORAY for Steve and Tracy for this fabulous rehab job. The mare needed no special care and had no health issues...she just needed food. More proof that old does not inevitably equal skinny!