More organizations are chasing grants for animal shelters which means the pot of money is growing smaller. It is absolutely essential to make a good and compelling application. Times are tough and in a difficult financial climate you must prepare your grant for animal shelters careful. Below are five tips for the grant application process:

1. Have a good match

Make sure you are making an application for the right grants for animal shelters. Applying for every grant there is will not allow you to focus on the grants you have a realistic chance of securing. Make sure you have a strong match. Check the criteria carefully

2. Get help

Don’t do it all the work on your own. Involve your colleagues and stakeholder in the application process. It is important when applying for grants for animal shelters to draw as much knowledge as you can to strengthen your application and share the workload. Your trustees may have some really good ideas about finance and strategy and your volunteers have up to date on the ground knowledge which may be invaluable to your grant application.

3. Check the application process and deadlines

It is common for grants for animal shelters to be submitted late. It is important to be timely in your application submission. Applications should be prepared and submitted before the deadline date to be sure it arrives in good time. This will include all the supplementary information and anything you need to enclose to support the application. If you submit early it will save you time and problems later and increase your chances of being successful.

4. Researching the right grants specific for animal shelters

There are thousands of grants out there and it is vital to do the necessary research to pin point the grants that you are likely to have the most success if you were to apply for them. Look for things that might disqualify an application from your organization. Each and every grant will have a ridged set of rules and criteria for applicants. Unless you match these rules precisely your chances of securing funding aren’t that strong. You will need to focus on your best chances.

5. Don’t be deterred

Initial failure isn’t necessarily a sleight on your application or organization. There are grants for animal shelters available and it is important to apply for all the grants that fit your organizations criteria.

The best place to find members for your new Board of Directors is among your founders.  Anyone who helped you find a location, secure funding, or helped with marketing campaigns deserves first consideration for the Board .  These high-level volunteer best understand your animal welfare non-profit and how it runs.  They are the obvious first choices for the Board.

However, after being involved with funding and the initial set-up, many may feel burned out prefer to continue their work on lower-level volunteer duties or only as-needed.  This is understandable as a Board of Directors position is often very involved.

Consider recruiting your Board among the most dedicated volunteers who performed the grunt work—making calls, cleaning cages, etc.  They will likely be surprised and flattered that you thought them qualified.  Also, as they were not as involved in the founding activities of your organization, they may also see the opportunity as a promotion as opposed to an endless series of demands.

Many people who are qualified for the Board of Directors may not realize their own qualities.  If someone appears to be a good match for the Board, ask and explain what you believe they bring to the table.  Feeling flattered, he or she may just say yes!

It is good to have your Board be a mix of higher level and workhorse level volunteers.  This will make for a rounded membership which enhances the growth of your organization.

When running adoption events, you will need to first consider the following:

  • The atmosphere vs. the adoptable animals you feature.  A primarily outdoor event would be a great atmosphere for dogs but for cats.  Dogs enjoy the outdoors and will be at their best with potential adopters.  Cats are more fearful of change and if a cat gets loose at an outdoor event, you have a disaster on your hands.  Have animals match the atmosphere where you bring them.
  • Traffic.  Adoption volunteers will be spending quality time on adoption events and you want that time to be well-spent.  Find places where a good number of potential adopters will visit.  If you take your operation to a dog event when you deal primarily with cats, that may not be the best use of time.

With those considerations, the following make good venues for adoption events:

  • Dog Park Fairs.  Many dog parks host fundraising fairs and small competitions.  While it may seem counter intuitive to find new homes among an event where people have dogs already, you never know who may be grieving a loss or considering a companion for a single dog.
  • Pet Supply Stores.  Some pet supply stores refuse to sell dogs and cats, or any animals, for that matter.  Reward them and help them gain regular customers by introducing your organization and adoptable animals on Adoption Days held at their store sites.  These are great opportunities for cats as most stores have facilities for cages and if cats get loose, it is in a controlled area.  PetSmart is well-known for featuring various rescues at sponsored adoption events.
  • Pet Care Seminars.  Seminars for preventative care are becoming popular for pet owners or people considering pets.  Even if you do not get adoptive pet owners you may get monetary donations.  You could even run seminars alongside adoption events at your own shelter.
  • Fundraising Walks.  Fundraising walks for dogs and their owners are becoming being popular.  Have volunteers bring adoptable dogs to participate in the walk.  Maybe even have someone make special coats for the dogs that indicate they are available for adoption!

As we prepare to see the coldest temperatures in decades in this current deep freeze across the country, make sure you, your family, and your animal welfare organization are prepared in advance.

Make sure your have the following items on hand:

  1. Full tank of gas
  2. Emergency preparedness kit in your vehicle that includes warm clothing and blankets
  3. Extra food and water
  4. Filled Prescriptions

These cold temperatures can also threaten your home and/or animal shelter building. Make sure you take the following safety precautions:

  1.  Make sure your heat is turned on! If you do not have your heat on and your pipes freeze/burst, your insurance policy may not pay for any damage.
  2. Keep garage doors closed
  3. It is not safe to use a stove or oven to heat your home
  4. Do not use generators inside your home
  5. It is not safe to use grills or camp stoves indoors
  6. Insulate your windows with plastic to keep the cold air out

Don’t forget to prepare your beloved 4 legged family members for the cold weather too!

  1. Keep pets inside during extreme temperatures
  2. Make sure your pets are wearing ID tags
  3. Dry your pets off when they come in from the snow, cold rain, or sleet
  4. Do not leave your animals alone in the car!
  5. Prepare a warm place for them to sleep/get cozy

These are just a few tips to help keep you, your family, and loved ones warm during this deep freeze.  Please stay safe & warm!