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Value Added

Quantifying the results of sheltering and animal welfare programs

  • Collage: Bussolati; Images: Shutterstock.com

I love animals . Don’t we all? That’s why I’m in the field of animal sheltering. That’s why you’re reading this article. It’s our passion for animals that brings us together.

Most of us appreciate the vital role animal welfare organizations play in our communities. They help animals. They help people develop relationships with animals. They support communities. They make the world a better place.

But not everyone in our communities is an animal lover. How do we explain the importance of our programs to public officials who must account for spending decisions, or to financial institutions and granting foundations that select where to give? How do we demonstrate to people outside the sheltering sphere that programs designed to help animals will produce a tangible benefit for their community? How do we convince people who don’t have strong bonds with animals that our projects are valuable, not only socially but economically? How do we then measure and express this social value in our field?

Broadly defined, “social value” is the value that nonprofit organizations, social ventures, social enterprises, and nongovernment agencies create within their targeted communities. These ventures improve society in ways that may not be quantifiable in monetary terms. Examples include programs to help educate children, provide medications for the poor, and employ disadvantaged people.

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