How to Start a Humane Society

February 3, 2014

An animal is frightened, hungry and alone.  There is no food, shelter and what is most heart-breaking, no love.

Then something happens.   The animal is helped by kind individuals.   These people provide food, medical care and work to find the animal a permanent, loving home. As this group says their goodbyes to this animal, their attention turns to another animal in need.

One may ask; who are these people who care so much for animals.   Such groups may be called animal shelters, rescues or humane societies.

Perhaps you feel the desire to begin your own humane society.  While this is a very noble idea,  there is much work and research needed to establish such an animal welfare organization.    The following is a guideline for beginning one of these lifesaving ventures.

  • Determine the animal rescue needs of your community.  Discover if there are areas of animal welfare not being addressed by current groups in the area.
  • Consider working to help an existing group.  Such supportive groups serve a vital purpose for humane societies by fundraising, fostering and community outreach.
  • Learning as much as you can about rescue groups by volunteering with an organization, attending conferences/webinars and researching shelter management.
  • Assemble a board of directors that represents such fields such as accounting, law, business and teaching.
  • Visit shelters around the county to learn what style of humane society would be suitable for your group in terms of building structure, care system and general management.
  • Decide what specific type of humane society you would like to open.  Determine if your group will help all animals or specifically concentrate of one species or breed.
  • Decide on a clear mission statement that outlines your organization’s goals.   Develop a plan that details how you will complete your mission.
  • Plan and implement an effective fund-raising plan.  Becoming a 501C non-profit may encourage people to make tax-deductible contributions to your organization.
  • Advertise to make the community aware of your group and the services you offer.
  •  Always make the health and welfare of the animals your top priority.

Running a humane society takes hard work and dedication.    But seeing a lonely, homeless animal happily begin life with their new family can make it all worthwhile.

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