A Mammoth Mess
In addition to fundraising changes, the organization has improved its disaster plan. It now has developed the capability to switch the employee emergency hotline to an out-of-area-code number and an intranet registration function that collects evacuation contact information. Employees must now check in within 72 hours after a storm, and Blackberries and WiFi cards have been distributed to key staff members. It also has a set satellite location in place.
Down but not out, ANI and New Orleans are getting back on their feet, slowly but surely. ANI achieved its six-month goal, and while Conkerton says the 18-month goal is challenging, she’s confident that the $25 million figure is well within reach. Ever the fundraiser, she adds, “If your readers want to make sure our recovery takes root, their support would help immensely!”
Until it has more resources, ANI is still running in recovery mode. It typically produces a different membership decal every year, for example, but has continued to use leftover decals from 2005. It also typically produced four, four-color member publications annually, but given mail and other resource challenges, it produced just one in 2006 and probably will produce no more than two in 2007.
All of the organization’s facilities now are open five days a week for winter, but with shortened hours of operation. For example, pre-Katrina, the zoo was open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and now is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Attendance for the year is expected to be 30 percent of its normal yearly average. Conkerton says that attendance currently is running slightly ahead of budgeted numbers, but adds hesitantly that survival for the organization — much like the rest of New Orleans — is still a tenuous balance.
“Everyone, no matter how little or how major their personal losses have been, is impacted by the region’s recovery, and things will fall through the cracks,” she says. “We’re all learning to be more patient and to realize what’s essential rather than what’s done because it’s always been that way.”