Horse and animal advocates celebrate National Help a Horse Day annually on April 26th. It’s a national celebration founded by the ASPCA to raise awareness for abused and neglected horses across the United States. The ASPCA encourages equine rescues and sanctuaries to join their efforts by hosting an event highlighting horses and the work you do.

Equine Sanctuaries just like yours host Help a Horse Day events each year. Organizing an event is a great way to connect with your local community, increase awareness, and generate more money to aid in your daily mission. We’ve put together a list of necessary tasks to assure your event goes off without a hitch.

  1. Recruit an event planning committee.

Planning an event requires time and as a Director, your time is limited. Recruit volunteers to be part of the Help a Horse Day planning committee. These individuals will be responsible for planning, researching, and keeping you up to date on the event progress. The committee also becomes the go-to group for questions from other volunteers, sponsors, and attendees.

 

Assign each member an important role like sponsors, marketing, contract negotiations, and public relations.

 

  1. Decide on your goal.

Meet with the event planning committee to determine what your goals are for the Help a Horse Day event. Do you want to recruit more volunteers? Do you want to raise money? Do you want to educate community members on certain horses in your care?

 

Each goal requires different types of events and audience members. It is important your committee sets these first to make the rest of the event planning process seamless.

 

  1. Brainstorm event ideas.

What type of event do you want to host? Possible events include tours, mini-education sessions, picnics, or an outdoor dinner and auction. If you’re looking to increase awareness of your mission, hosting mini-classes on what you do paired with tours of the sanctuary will be more valuable than a dinner/auction.

 

  1. Research costs.

Have each committee member contact caterers, rental companies, speakers, and other businesses like DJ’s and photographers for event proposals. It’s a good goal to request two to three proposals from each category so you can compare and make the best choice.

 

  1. Put together a budget.

After you know how much your plan costs, it’s time to put together a budget. Include expenses in the budget as well as sponsorship and fundraising goals associated with the event.

  1. Create a call for sponsors.

A call for sponsors is similar to a donation drive but focused on businesses in your local community. Design three to five options including costs and benefits so businesses can pick one that best matches their budget.

 

  1. Contact your insurance agent.

Call your insurance agent to make sure you have the right insurance coverage in place. Some general liability policies include event coverage while others don’t. If your insurance doesn’t, you can purchase special event insurance to protect your equine sanctuary.

 

  1. Connect with the media.

Create a press release and send to local media channels including news and radio stations. The more press you get, the greater the turnout will be.

 

  1. Advertise on social media.

Get your community excited about the event on social media. Generating a buzz online is the least expensive way to gain awareness and attendees at the event.

 

  1. Show your gratitude.

Share your success and gratitude publicly at the event and after it is complete. Publish how much you raised, how many attendees, and what good will happen at your sanctuary with the support you received.

Volunteers are the backbone of an organization and are responsible for carrying out daily activities that maintain its mission and vision. A number of organizations struggle to recruit and retain quality volunteers and suffer from the constant turnover. In addition to these struggles, equine rescues and sanctuaries face unique requirements and considerations when searching for the right volunteers.

Equine Rescue and Sanctuaries

As an equine rescue or sanctuary, you are focused on providing a safe haven for horses, ponies, and donkeys in need. These animals have unique care needs and require volunteers that have a background in equine care or knowledge to properly take care of those needs. The number of volunteers with this type of knowledge is scarce. Don’t give up hope, there are some tips you can use to recruit better long-term volunteers for your equine rescue or sanctuary.

Volunteer Tips

Putting an ad in the local newspaper or posting to your Facebook page your need won’t attract the right type of volunteers. More than likely, you’ll end up with individuals that think working with horses’ sounds like fun. Use these tips to recruit better quality volunteers that plan to stick around.

  1. Define the responsibilities. You cannot market your organization as a place for volunteering if you don’t know what responsibilities or roles need to be filled. Take the time to analyze your existing volunteer base and schedule to identify holes that need to be filled. Make a list of all the necessary activities you need help with and keep it hand for when volunteers start to apply.
  1. Be specific. Review specific details of the volunteer responsibilities with every applicant. Some applicants will only want to groom the animals, but there are usually other responsibilities on the list as well. The more they know up front about what they are required to commit to on a daily or weekly basis helps them make a well-informed decision. It is better for you if they choose to move on to another organization before they begin orientation.
  1. Use volunteer matching websites. There are a number of volunteer matching websites you can register your equine rescue or sanctuary on. Websites like Volunteer Match, Idealist, and Points of Light match organizations in need with willing volunteers in the area. These websites offer numerous free resources to guide you in your recruiting efforts.
  1. Be honest. Don’t make the available volunteering opportunities sound glamorous if they are not. Promising a potential volunteer daily time with the horses without telling them the time is spent cleaning the stalls, is misleading. Be honest with them and focus on the rewarding benefits they will experience by spending time at your equine rescue or sanctuary.
  1. Contact local veterinarians. Reach out to your local equine veterinarian to request their help in finding quality volunteers. They have personal connections with equine owners in the area and are able to actively listen for potential volunteers.
  1. Contact other equine organizations. Look for equine organizations in your community or surrounding areas. Ask these organizations if you can visit or hold a volunteer recruitment event at their location. This is a great way to meet equine knowledgeable individuals that can add value to your existing services.

Recruit better quality volunteers to help your equine rescue or sanctuary with these tips. Require every new volunteer to attend an in-depth volunteer orientation and training with other quality volunteers. Training and orientation help improve volunteer retention and provide better care to the equines in need.

Volunteers are one of the cornerstones to running your animal shelter or rescue successfully.  You rely on them to help with day to day needs, care for the animals, organize events, spread the word about your mission, and be passionate about the great work they are doing. Did you know they are one of your biggest risks?  Volunteers are human and unpredictable in their actions.  To successfully manage their actions and minimize risk, implement an official volunteer program.  Here are the categories your program requires:

Volunteer Handbook

Volunteer handbooks contain valuable information about the animal shelter or rescue.  They provide new volunteers with:

  1. Background information
  2. Mission and Vision
  3. Application process
  4. Training expectations
  5. Behavior expectations
  6. Volunteer waiver
  7. Organization policies

Require new volunteers to review the handbook prior to completing a volunteer application.  This information sets the precedence for expectations during their time volunteering for your organization.

Volunteer Waivers

Volunteer waivers are typically included as part of the handbook.  They are vital for animal shelters and rescues to have in place.  A strong waiver includes:

  1. Release of liability for injury and bites
  2. Acceptance that injuries are not covered under a worker’s compensation policy
  3. Acceptance of policies and procedures
  4. Emergency contact information
  5. Release to contact to provide medical help or attention if needed

Volunteer waivers are a safety precaution. Volunteers may still choose to file a lawsuit if they believe the animal shelter or rescue is responsible for an injury.  Waivers are part of your defense in court but should not be your only defense.  Work with your legal counsel to draft a waiver that best suits your animal shelter or rescue needs.

The Right Insurance

The best way to be proactive in protecting your animal shelter or rescue from financial loss as a result of a lawsuit is to purchase insurance.  There are many types of insurance you can purchase for your organization including:

  1. General Liability Insurance
  2. Professional Liability Insurance
  3. Accident & Health Insurance
  4. Director’s & Officer’s Insurance

Liability insurance protects your financial assets by paying defense and settlement costs of a covered lawsuit.   Take the time to research animal shelter insurance options today.  Purchasing insurance after a lawsuit is filed will not protect you.

Volunteer Training

Volunteer training is vital for new and existing volunteers.  Create a strong volunteer training program by answering these questions:

  1. What do you want the training to accomplish?
  2. What do your volunteers need to know?
  3. What do your volunteers already know?
  4. How do they learn best?

These answers will help you to create a valuable training program that is beneficial to both the volunteer and the organization.  Once training is completed, have your volunteers tell you what they learned and how they can implement this in their tasks.  Training is never complete and should be offered on a routine basis to volunteers.  The knowledge and education help make them valuable to your team.

 

How can you be a great animal shelter volunteer?  Follow these five steps and you will become one.

1) You must be dedicated to the health and welfare of the animals you take care of in the shelter by giving them your love and kindness, showing them you care by taking care of them when they are sick and feeling left out, being their friend when they have lost their friend.

2) Make sure that they are fed and watered as per the instruction for the animal.  If an animal requires a special diet make sure that they only get the food that is recommended for that animal.

3) Take the time to play and walk with the animals.  Some animals require more vigorous work outs to keep them happy, others only require some petting and attention.  Take the time to know the animals you work with.

4) Once you know the animals read what other volunteers have said about the animals in their write-ups.  Keep track of what you notice about the animals and add your own information about each and every one.  Some of the items you can keep track of are:

  • How well they respond to voice command while playing
  • How well they walk around people and other animals
  • How well they play with other animals
  • Weather or not they adapt to having animals of other species around them (cat and dogs)
  • Weather or not they are approachable by other people

5) You must always be there at your appointed time because the animals depend upon you to be there.  An exceptional volunteer will also make time in their holidays to make sure that the animals are well taken care of.

So if you are thinking of becoming an animal shelter volunteer then the five items above will give you a clear idea of what is needed.  This is really what any animal needs weather or not it is at a shelter, in the home, or a stray.  They all need love and attention.

Follow these 5 steps to be a great animal shelter volunteer:

1) You must be dedicated to the health and welfare of the animals you take care of in the shelter by giving them your love and kindness, showing them you care by taking care of them when they are sick and feeling left out, being their friend when they have lost their friend.

2) Make sure that they are fed and watered as per the instruction for the animal.  If an animal requires a special diet make sure that they only get the food that is recommended for that animal.

3) Take the time to play and walk with the animals.  Some animals require more vigorous work outs to keep them happy, others only require some petting and attention.  Take the time to know the animals you work with.

4) Once you know the animals, read what other volunteers have said about the animals in their write-ups.  Keep track of what you notice about the animals and add your own information about each and every one.  Some of the items you can keep track of are:

  • How well they respond to voice command while playing
  • How well they walk around people and other animals
  • How well they play with other animals
  • Weather or not they adapt to having animals of other species around them (cat and dogs)
  • Weather or not they are approachable by other people

5) You must always be there at your appointed time because the animals depend upon you to be there.  An exceptional volunteer will also make time in their holidays to make sure that the animals are well taken care of.

If you are thinking of becoming an animal shelter volunteer then the five items above will give you a clear idea of what is needed.  This is really what any animal needs weather or not it is at a shelter, in the home, or a stray.  They all need love and attention.

 

Animal rescue efforts cannot keep up with the number of animals needing help each day. To reach more people and spread the word about the growing need for funding and homes for animals, the networks by which word spreads need broadening. Social media remains popular with Facebook leading in popularity. Here you will find other social networking ideas to help garner interest in animal rescue efforts.

Tumblr

Tumblr allows members to post on any issue desired while including links to blogs, websites and YouTube. The website currently receives more the 80-million posts a day. Members post thoughts, interesting facts, videos and pictures. Gaining followers delivers more views of any website linked within.

NING

NING sees more than 7-million users monthly. NING allows members to create their own social website for a monthly fee. They help build the website and help promote it, depending on the package chosen. With the ability to create a unique social website just for animal rescue, the potential for growth becomes larger. Through links provided in blogs at Veterinarian websites and other animal related websites, animal rescue will reach countless people.

Café Mom

MomCafe also hosts more than 7-million users every month. Members can join existing groups or create their own group to promote on the website. Working moms and stay-at-home moms use the website to share information and provide helpful tips on a variety of subjects. Animal rescue will gain followers on MomCafe when a group forms to promote the needs of animals.

Paws Hooves and Claws

New to the social media world, Paws Hooves and Claws offer a Facebook experience to animals and their owners. Through use of the group features, animal rescue will reach more people and do so in a forum specifically dedicated to animals. The website allows links to other web pages and websites for more views.

Petbook

Petbook features a stray dog group devoted to animal rescues. However, the group only has five members so far. This site creates Facebook-like pages for pets and owners with social features like groups. The potential at Petbook to gain support from the public grows with the ability to write blogs and create interest on other sites, which will link to the stray dog group or a new animal rescue group.

Opportunities to gain support for animal rescue through social media expands with sites dedicated to pets and specific groups who share information daily.

Animal rescue has been evolving over the past several years.  Many rescue organizations are moving away from buildings lined with cages to a network of foster homes that help animals experience the full experience of living with a family in a real home.  As the transition to fostering rescue pets takes place, administrative policies also need to change.  In addition, animal shelter insurance has become more necessary than ever before. Let’s explore how the foster system works.

Many animals just entering the foster system have spent a great deal of time on the streets. Foster “parents” need to have a great deal of patience and understanding on how to train these animals to live in a home environment.  Applications need to be thoroughly checked and home visits made.  Regardless of the animal’s age, these applicants need to realize they may have to housebreak or litter train the animal.  Dogs may never have experienced walking on a leash and may exhibit signs of anxiety. They may be destructive and even bite if scared.

The overseeing organization is financially responsible for any repairs to damaged homes or medical costs associated with bites.  Without animal shelter insurance it is unlikely the overseeing agency will be able to handle costs for any period of time.  Possible lawsuits could destroy what you have set out to accomplish. This can be the case even quicker if an animal attending an adoption event becomes scares and accidentally bites someone.

By thoroughly checking out the families and homes that will foster the animals, providing training for the special needs of foster animals and being able to provide compensation for property damage or medical treatments, you can run an effective foster rescue that will increase the chances of your charges eventually moving on to permanent homes of their very own.

Pet Safety

May 7, 2013

A pet is a member of the family, and as a member of the family you might just want to bring them along on family trips and vacations. While many dog and cat owners regularly have their pets accompany them on short jaunts and long excursions, traveling with your pet is an aspect of pet ownership that involves a whole new set of rules to ensure that your pet will remain comfortable and safe. These are a few rules of pet safety when it comes to having your dog and cat as a travel companion.

  • When it comes to travel, whether or not your pet is involved, it is crucial to make sure that you bring absolutely everything that you need. This includes everything that your pet needs, including toys, treats, food, medication, crates, and license when applicable. Also bring plenty of water that you know is good and safe; your pet’s system may not be accustomed to the tap water where you will be traveling.
  • If your pet is traveling in a crate, make sure that the crate is sufficiently well-ventilated. This is particularly important for long trips.
  • Get your pet checked at the vet shortly before leaving to insure that they will be okay with traveling and there are no issues that need to be addressed.
  • Check that your accommodations will allow your pet before booking.
  • Make stops to feed your pet; do not feed them in a moving car.
  • Whether you are bringing you pet an epic cross-country trip or just a drive to the store, never under any circumstances leave your pet in a parked vehicle.

These are just a few of the most important pet safety tips when traveling.

If you have decided it is time to add a four-legged or feathered family member to your home, there is a lot to consider. After all, there are a lot of choices in pets with a variety of amount of care needed.

Perhaps the easiest pet to care for is a fish, or a few fish. Although they do not need a lot of attention, they do need daily care. At a minimum, the bowl or aquarium must be kept clean and at the proper temperature for the species you choose and they need daily feeding.

Whether choosing a pet for yourself or for the family with a child in charge of its care, it is important that an adult be able to oversee the care and make sure that your he or she has food, water, and is cleaned up after. Maybe you will choose a hamster to be kept in the kid’s room. That is great, but make sure that your child is giving your new pet fresh food and water daily as well as a clean living area.

Dogs and cats are the most popular choices in pets. Adopting from a shelter or a rescue agency is a wonderful way to add to the family while rescuing a life. But, make sure you are ready for the responsibility of this new family member. It is a long-term, important commitment that should not be taken lightly. Cats and dogs can live 15 to 20 years. They not only need proper daily care, but also companionship and attention. Shelters are full of these former pets of those who have not taken their responsibilities seriously.

It is not necessary for pets to breed. In fact, they are happier and healthier just being pets. For dogs and cats, it is best to neuter or spay. For smaller pets such as hamsters, guinea pigs and rabbits, one can be kept alone or you can get two of the same sex for their like companionship.

Before obtaining any new pets, research what will fit into your family and lifestyle best. Consider whether you may have any allergies that could be triggered by a new pet. Think about how much time you have to spend and just what you expect from a new pet. Pick wisely, and prepare to have your life enriched by your new family member.

 

Choosing a volunteer for animal shelters is very important. Many simply don’t realize the vitally important role that groups of caring, dedicated volunteers play in advocating for shelter animals. Good candidates will give the tasks associated with volunteering at a shelter their full attention and work to make things better for the animals they are in charge of. Finding the right volunteers is very important, because it takes the right attitude and a genuine sense of care to make a difference.

People who are willing to donate their time to helping shelter animals are found in many different settings. Many existing pet owners are more than willing to spend some time making a difference for animals in a shelter. Local veterinary hospitals, groomers and boarding kennels may be a good way to reach caring pet owners who might be interested.

Local breed clubs and groups that organize dog events may also be a good resource. Most of them publish their own newsletters or magazines that are supported partially by advertising. If your shelter receives large numbers of certain breeds or types, a breed club member may be able to play a major role in reaching out to potential adoptive families.

Many college students are enthusiastic about volunteering in a shelter. This is especially true of students who need an activity over the summer or who want extra credit for college. Advertising in student papers or on job sites that are geared towards students will help reach capable volunteers.

Don’t forget about the importance of advertising online. Announce that you’re looking for a volunteer for animal shelters on your website, as well as your shelter’s social media pages. Online classified ad sites are also beneficial, as well as job sites that post volunteer opportunities. An advantage of finding volunteers online is that you’re likely to find tech-savvy candidates who will be able to help your outreach efforts.