What Should You Look for in an Animal Shelter Director & Officer

April 30, 2013

Directors and officers who work for an animal shelter must have a unique skill set. There are many shelters that have suffered from the effects of poor leadership simply because the director had insufficient experience with animals. This not only results in poor leadership, but also gives the shelter a poor public image.

One of the most important qualities to look for in a shelter director is proven experience with animals. The ideal candidate should currently own or have owned animals in the past. Having a pet of your own provides experience that simple secondhand experience does not. When a job candidate has worked in a veterinary, kennel or shelter position in the past, this increases their level of credibility.

In addition to proven experience working with animals, a good director will also have excellent management skills. A college background in management or experience running a business will provide many of the needed skills for this sort of position. Former non-profit group directors and employees will make the easiest transition into this sort of job.

Directors and officers who work for a shelter will also need to posses certain skills that are essential for good public relations. A person in this position will have to interact with the public, as well as field questions from local reporters. It’s necessary for shelter staff to be able to patiently address any questions that members of the public may have.

Fundraising experience is an important part of managing an animal shelter. Because non-profit shelters depend on private donations and grants, it is essential to know how to keep a reasonable cash flow coming in. Job candidates who have a sense of creativity will do very well in this line of work.

Being comfortable with using the Internet, particularly social media, is another important skill to look for. A shelter director will need to perform many clerical tasks as part of their job. However, maintaining an updated website and interacting with the public and other shelters via social media is a vital part of running a successful shelter that many people overlook.

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