The BC SPCA's 2010 Branch of the Year Award was presented to the Sunshine Coast Branch at a special ceremony in Vancouver Saturday, May 29.
"It's become one of our biggest success stories," said Bob Busch, the non-profit society's general manager of operations in a press release.
Manager Shannon Broderick joined the branch in 2007 at a time when support and awareness of the SPCA was fairly low. Since then, she has boosted adoptions and revitalized fundraising programs: The Wilson Creek shelter re-homed 346 animals in 2009, compared to 285 in 2008, representing a 21 per cent increase. Fundraising also jumped from just $1,000 raised in 2007 to more than $11,000 today.
Fundraising efforts include the annual Pet Photos with Santa, which has been taking place for more than 20 years, and new initiatives like the glossy photo booklet of adopted animals that Broderick compiles every year and sells to members of the public.
The Sunshine Coast Branch also assists branches in smaller and more remote communities where pet overpopulation is a larger issue. Using the BC SPCA transfer program, Broderick regularly takes in dogs and cats from Haida Gwaii and Prince Rupert and places them in homes on the Sunshine Coast.
Busch said the high rate of adoption on the Sunshine Coast is due in no small part to volunteer Karen Holland, who takes photos and prepares compelling summaries for the online and in-shelter adoption profiles of all the adoptable animals. Holland also maintains a blog for the shelter.