This is one of the most important questions an organization can ask itself and its management team. Every animal welfare organization, whether you are a shelter or a small rescue group IS running a business - you are in the business of saving lives (popularly phrased by Mike Arms). You are selling used animals!
Focus on making revenue, i.e. fundraising, in order for your business to grow and sustain success in its mission.
Here is a brief list of essentials that at minimum should be part of every organization.
Mission Statement: Clearly and succinctly states the purpose of your organization. Everyone associated with your organization should know your mission statement because it is clearly the goal exemplified in all activities put forth.
Board of Directors: Members of the board should comprise of leaders in the community. They should offer to the organization financial resources or connections and build associations with other influential leaders. Board members help uphold the mission statement and plan for long-term growth.
Funding: Every organization should have dedicated volunteers or employees responsible for grant writing, obtaining sponsorships, and maintaining a system for collecting donations and tracking donors to sustain regular revenue streams.
Marketing / PR: Who would know about the great work you are doing without Marketing and PR to tell your stories and put your name in front of as many people as possible? In addition, these specialists know how to present your organization in ways that gets you noticed and place your organization in the best light possible.
are not simply free labor. Volunteers believe in your mission and
maintain the structure of daily activities which result in daily
achievements. There is no growth without volunteers who bring in new
ideas and ways to accomplish your mission. Volunteers should be
empowered with responsibilities that enable them to take ownership of
their roles, in turn taking individual pride in achievements that
contribute to the greater goal. At Muttville, founder Sherri Franklin is
recognized as a great leader because she believes in empowering others,
resulting in exponential growth for Muttville.
A few great examples of animal rescue organizations that certainly successfully run like businesses:
- Best Friends Animal Society
- North Shore Animal League
- Tony LaRussa's Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF)
- Austin Pets Alive
- Muttville Senior Dog Rescue
- Fast Friends Greyhound Rescue
Are there other non profit animal rescues that you know of that we should add to this list? Send us your suggestions by leaving a comment.