Bat World Sanctuary

Bat World Sanctuary, Inc.


By Michelle Brunet


Amanda Lollar once thought bats were "vermin" until one hot day in 1989 she discovered an injured Mexican free-tailed bat baking on the sidewalk. She couldnít stand to let it suffer, so she brought it home and set out to the library to find out how to care for bats. The small mammal, "Sunshine," spent the remaining year-and-a-half of her life in Lollarís care.

"Seeing this little creature in front of me, it was the complete opposite of everything I had ever been told [or thought about bats]," says Lollar. "I was looking at a gentle, clean, intelligent, inquisitive, beneficial creature. It inspired me to teach others what I had learned and open other peopleís eyes."

In 1994, Lollar founded Bat World Sanctuary, Inc. and opened the organizationís first bat sanctuary. The Mineral Wells, Texas-based refuge has been a place for hundreds of non-releasable bats to live the rest of their natural days; it also serves as a temporary shelter to bats with non-permanent injuries before being released back to their natural habitat.

Bat Worldís development started off slow, but it is now Lollarís lifestyle. Over the last 20 years, she has learned a lot of lessons to pass on to those wishing to start their own charitable organization.

Bat World Sanctuary, Inc. is registered as a 501c3 nonprofit and Lollar highly recommends those, seeking to do the same, to find a lawyer or accountant to help with this process. Lollar also advises that prospective charitable organizations recruit a Board of Directors with multi-talented, trustworthy members that are also passionate for the cause. She adds that charities should not rely on one single source of funding in order to keep the organization running. (Bat World has raised funds through numerous avenues, such as donations, Adopt-a-Bat programs, merchandise sales and workshops.)

Finally, Lollar cannot stress enough the power of social networking. She says one of the biggest mistakes a non-profit or charity can make is ignoring those who make contact, as it not only could jeopardize potential donations, but it also tarnishes part of the organizationís mandate (in her case educating the public about bat conservation.) Lollar shares that one time she had a lengthy phone conversation with someone looking for advice on how to care for an injured bat. A couple weeks later, that same person called back revealing that she was with a foundation that wanted to donate $25,000 to Bat World.

"Donít ignore anyone no matter how trivial their question or need may seem. Everyone deserves a response," says Lollar. "Particularly if a donation is made, the worse thing that anyone can do is to not thank their donor. If that person was only able to donate $5, that person should get a thank you just as meaningful as someone who might have donated $50,000 because that $5 may have been huge for that person."

Lollar has some help from volunteers (including her husband) but spends seven days a week, up to 20 hours a day, caring for the bats at the sanctuary. But Lollar says that she "wouldnít trade it for anything in the world" as she truly loves what she does.

"If youíre going to start a non-profit or be behind a cause, it has to be your lifeís work," she says. "You have to be willing to devote almost all your time and energy. Itís like a child you have to basically raise and nurture constantly. Youíre going to learn along the way whatís good and whatís not. Youíre going to grow as the non-profit grows."


LINKS:  |   Bat World Sanctuary, Inc.



Story appears in

HobbyFirm Magazine

Volume 1., Issue 2


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