Finding Volunteers and Fosters for Animal Shelters and Rescues!
by Alva Logsdon
Every community has great volunteer potential; the key is knowing where to find them and taking an active role to do so. Here are 19 resources you can focus your recruitment efforts on:
- Yahoo or Google groups (look for categories like animal groups, photography, marketing, social media, retirees, web, PR, and more!)
- Local corporations often have active volunteer programs investing in the community
- Local businesses may allow you to post a volunteer recruitment flyer at their place of business and also post your need on their social media pages – ASK THEM! Place volunteer recruitment postcards on restaurant and coffee house tables, post flyers on the drive-through window at pharmacies, fast food restaurants, etc.
- Social media: post volunteer needs often on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, and LinkedIn, etc. But don’t limit yourself to your current audience. You need to continue to reach beyond the immediate rescue community!
- Local senior center – retirees can help with admin duties, walk the dogs, love on cats, bottle feed kittens, sew blankets or other animal need items (you can also apply for grants if you have an active senior volunteer program: http://www.seniorcorps.gov/for_organizations/funding/index.asp )
- Singles social/service organizations – singles are always looking for a way to connect with others that share their passions!
- Faith-based organizations, churches, temples, etc. – these groups are community focused and offer tremendous opportunity for volunteer recruitment!
- Community bulletin boards found in places like: colleges, universities, coffee shops, libraries, Craigslist, places of worship, and other free online classified sites
- Exhibit at local festivals (Fourth of July celebrations, music fests, parades, farmer’s market, etc. – people that love animals have a wide variety of backgrounds and interest, so consider every opportunity to meet your next group of new, passionate volunteers)
- Local service organizations (Kiwanis, Lions, Rotary clubs); they have monthly meetings. Prepare a presentation and ask if you can speak to create awareness for the need (many of these groups also hold fundraisers for local non-profit community groups)!
- Friends, family, and coworkers – ask them, and ask them to tell their friends, family, and coworkers; cast a wide net!
- Local media – when you share your mission to save lives and how people can help, there’s a good chance the local media will share your story. To learn more, watch this video presentation from a PR expert: Get Your Paws on More Media
- College and university service organizations (Circle K, Greek organizations, areas of study such as photography, marketing, social media, advertising, public relations, etc.). Have a need? There are talented college students in need of practical, hands-on experience!
- High school organizations (Key Club, service clubs, ag program, writing, photography etc.)
- Student community service organizations such as Scout Troops or Circle K; from pet food drives to building kennel runs and more, these student service organizations offer many opportunities to serve their community!
- Post your volunteer needs/opportunities on Get Involved a government sponsored national database of volunteer opportunities): http://www.getinvolved.gov
- Volunteer Match: http://www.volunteermatch.org
- Volunteer Solutions: http://volunteer.truist.com
- Idealist http://www.idealist.org
Building a Volunteer / Foster Program:
The Austin Pets Alive! organization has a large and dedicated volunteer program; learn more about it by watching this video with APA! director Dr. Ellen Jefferson: How to Recruit, Build, and Maintain a Large Volunteer/Foster Progra
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