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Tools and Resources > Shelter + Rescue Essentials

  • Magazine Article

    Follow the money

    Rescue groups can’t afford to ignore financial management best practices

    As a rescue group, you’ve got passion and good intentions in abundance, but your financial oversight skills might be in shorter supply. As too many animal welfare organizations have learned, a worthy mission won’t protect you from poor financial management or even embezzlement. The good news is that by implementing sound financial policies and practices, you can keep your organization in the black and your mission going strong.

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  • Magazine Article

    A lasting legacy

    Illustration by Shaina Lieberman, HSUS

    Planned gifts can ensure your organization’s future

    Ever wonder how to tap into animal lovers’ desire to leave a legacy? A veteran fundraiser explains the different forms of planned giving, including bequests, and how your organization can pave the way to what will likely be the largest donations you’ll ever receive.

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  • Magazine Article

    Peace, love, dogs

    To benefit animals, Louisiana humane society taps that ’60s spirit

    Folks in Covington, Louisiana, are feeling groovy on a yearly basis at St. Tammany Humane Society’s Woofstock festival. The free, one-day event is a nearly 30-year tradition that’s grown to include roughly 2,000 attendees, almost 40 sponsors, dog and human hippie costume contests, a DJ, collectible Woofstock T-shirts, local food and celebrities, children’s entertainment, raffles and, of course, beer.

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  • Magazine Article

    Marketing joy

    Find instructions on how to build a collapsible kissing booth at

    Nonprofit offers creative campaign ideas and free marketing materials for shelters and rescues

    You likely already know the value of adoption promotions that get your community involved and inspired, but if your creative juices are running dry or you lack design skills, Picture Me @ Home is here to help.

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  • Magazine Article

    Seeds of support

    Nurturing relationships with major donors can help grow your organization

    Major gifts can boost your organization’s fundraising from so-so to stupendous, enabling you to greatly expand the reach of your lifesaving programs. But major donors aren’t going to drop out of the sky; you’ve got to grow them from the ground up. In this issue’s “Human Element” department, experts suggest ways to cultivate and sustain those relationships.

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  • Magazine Article

    A picture perfect paw-liday

    Howling with delight to meet Santa? Humane Rescue Alliance in Washington, D.C., holds six “Holiday Photos With Your Pet” events in December.

    An annual tradition at many shelters, pet photos with Santa can be a memorable way to raise funds

    Three greyhounds, two hairless cats, a turtle, a guinea pig … and a partridge in a pear tree? Santa’s white-gloved hands are full posing for pics across the country with everyone’s furry—or not-so-furry—family members. Shelters as far apart as Wisconsin Humane Society in Milwaukee, Motley Zoo in Redmond, Washington, and Utah Humane Society in Murray offer locals and their pets face time with the big guy, often in return for a donation.

    Finding the right Santa—a volunteer who loves animals, people and posing for many, many photos—is crucial to the tradition.

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  • Magazine Article

    Climbing the mountain

    A successful capital campaign can fund a new shelter and elevate your organization to new heights

    Whether your lease was suddenly canceled or your ancient facility is a few cinderblocks away from collapse, a capital campaign can help you finance your new shelter. However, if your organization gets excited about a $1,000 donation, raising millions can understandably seem like a daunting task. Capital campaigns can be an uphill climb, but if you map out the journey carefully and follow some standard practices, you can fund a new facility and navigate your way to a new peak for your organization, with more donors and community support.

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  • Blog Post

    The rescue story: helpful fundraising message or harmful stereotype?

    An important story to tell is that a lack of access to pet services does not equate to a lack of love for a person’s companion.

    You don’t have to look far to see fairly angry language implying how generally cruel people are (hello Facebook!) Jason Schipkowski explains the importance of examining how and why we may be fanning those flames.

    It was 8 years ago when I got into animal welfare work, and I can remember the catalyst. I was at my neighborhood coffee joint when I saw it: a calendar for sale by a local rescue group. As I flipped through it, I was struck by wave after wave of pitiful before-and-after pictures—thin, crusty-skinned dogs juxtaposed with uplifting pictures of the same dogs beaming, furry and happy after rescue and rehab. I was moved to action and I signed up to help the group that had put out the calendar. Volunteering and donating turned into a marketing and development position within the organization.

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  • Store Product

    Fund-Raising for Animal Care Organizations

    This book demystifies the fund-raising process and breaks down this daunting task into practical, manageable steps. 

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  • Magazine Article

    Sharing stories, saving lives

    When puppy Bali needed lifesaving surgery, donors gave more than $20,000, far exceeding her veterinary costs.

    Raising funds and finding homes to help special-needs pets

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  • Guide


    Happy volunteers with dog

    Explore grant opportunities for municipal agencies and nonprofit organizations.

    Listings of financial assistance opportunities for a variety of animal welfare programs including spay/neuter, rescue initiatives, community cat populations and more.

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  • Training/Event

    Finding Funding in a Slow Economy: Tips for Identifying and Successfully Applying for Grants

    The Humane Society of the United States

    Learn which corporate and private grant-making organizations are out there and how to find them.

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