Angel Guild, a business success story

Danna Webster, KP News

On Jan. 14, the Key Peninsula Community Council hosted presidents of 10 local non-profit organizations. As the presidents told their histories, half of them bowed to the Angel Guild officer in the audience and expressed their appreciation for support received. By the conclusion of the reports, it was evident that the Angel Guild is a highly profitable non-profit organization and they give it all away.

Angel Guild finance officer, Nadine Sanders, was their representative at the KPCC meeting. During her presentation, she recognized the many organizations in the room that the Angel Guild was pleased to have supported and shared with them that the most successful year, to date, was 2007 when the Angel Guild contributed $73,000 to requests. There was an audible gasp from the audience at that amount and she received an enthusiastic ovation as she concluded her report. With merchandise ticket prices like 25 and 50 cents, and $1.25, how does the Angel Guild do it? According to the Angel Guild treasurer, Margo Danforth it is “because of the by-laws. We have certain perimeters that guide us,” she said. “We do not give to individuals, political organizations and not to churches.” Danforth also quoted from the mission statement to illustrate those guidelines, the Angel Guild is “to serve and fund worthy causes and community organizations on the Key Peninsula.” When money is given to an organization based outside of the Key Peninsula, such as the YMCA, the Guild “stipulates that it (the grant) is to be spent for children on the Key Peninsula,” she said. It is difficult for the public to see how much work goes into raising funds. Although based on donations, the majority of donations cannot be used in the store and are passed on to other organizations. The store’s standard is that nothing is put in the store that the volunteers would not buy. Danforth noted that the Angel Guild is definitely a business right down to the collection of state sales tax.  “We are a very organized organization, and have a purpose, and that’s how it works,” she said. The Angel Guild has almost 50 volunteer members. Members pay $5 dues and must work in the store a certain number of hours in sorting, sales or one of the other various jobs. An executive board is elected in March and installed in April. Currently the board is served by Marlene Miles, president; Pat Kunzl, vice president; Pearlita McColley, secretary, Margo Danforth, treasurer; Nadine Sanders, financial officer; and the coordinating manager, Bonnie Stinson, who has served for about 14 of the Guild’s 36 years in business. The executive board prepares a monthly financial statement, maintains a three-month expense reserve, reviews grant requests and makes recommendations. The requests and recommendations are presented to the general membership on the fourth Monday of the month where a vote determines all final decisions. Annual grant money donations are posted in the store. According to Sanders, although a lot of people think the Angel Guild is like Santa Claus, grants are dispensed based on the amount of money available for each month. When winter storms caused store closures in Dec. 2008 the available funds for Jan. were low. This is Danforth’ssecond year to serve on the board as the financial officer and she continues to be amazed by the money raised by an all volunteer work force. “I’m totally blown away by the money,” she says.