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Tools and Resources > Shelter + Rescue Essentials

  • 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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  • 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

    Grants

    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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  • Guide

    Rescue Group Best Practices: funding your organization

    brown and white dog

    Funding a rescue organization requires some basic business skills in marketing, fundraising, grant writing and cost containment. Plan to set aside $5,000 to $10,000 for start-up costs for your rescue group. This should cover start-up items such as food, bowls, toys, blankets, cages, carriers, collars, leashes, litter boxes, litter and veterinary funds for your first few charges. Even if you run a fosterbased organization and ask foster providers to cover the daily cost of food, it is a good idea to have back-up items on hand.

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  • Magazine Article

    Need a boost?

    His surname may be Katz, but Ethan’s heart has gone to the dogs—in this case his family’s rescue pooches Fly (left) and Brooklyn.

    T-shirt sales strengthen fundraising efforts

    Eight-year-old Ethan Katz didn’t start off wanting to rescue dogs for his ninth birthday—he wanted to be a dog. But when his parents declined his request for a $700 mascot costume, he decided that saving canines was the next best thing.

    The Stevensville, Md., native did his homework and found Booster.com, a website that helps philanthropy-minded folks design and sell custom T-shirts to raise money for a cause or organization.

    Ethan had no trouble choosing a charity. His family had recently adopted their youngest dog, Brooklyn, from City Dogs Rescue in Washington, D.C.

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  • Magazine Article

    A trip for the old block

    Block was part of a 2012 cruelty case. He and his “brother” had infected bite wounds and were tied up with chains for collars. At the shelter they both healed after many months of treatment and care and went up for adoption. Block was one of the all-time shelter staff and volunteer favorites. He was a lovable, goofy, big teddy-bear kind of a boy.

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  • Magazine Article

    Strength in funders

    Crowdfunding isn't magical, but it could work for your organization's animals

    What do you do when you’ve got a special project in mind, one that you think would do wonders for your animals, but you don’t have the budget? Or when you’ve got an amazing, adoptable animal who simply has the misfortune to have some serious (and expensive) medical issues?

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  • Magazine Article

    Fundraising's human equation

    When people get engaged with your organization’s work, their contributions will go beyond the occasional financial donation, say the authors of The Generosity Network.

    Authentic partnerships key to sustainability, success

    Rare, indeed, is the person who enjoys asking for money. Organizations’ fundraising committees are often the hardest to staff, with calls for volunteers frequently answered by symphonies of chirping crickets.

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  • Magazine Article

    A schnauzer's legacy

    Software developer Dave Duffield—shown here visiting with a pair of dachshunds—drew inspiration from his late schnauzer to co-found the grant-making powerhouse Maddie’s Fund to aid future generations of animals.

    Maddie's Fund works to end the euthanasia of healthy and treatable shelter pets

    Back in the late-1980s, when Dave Duffield was relatively poor and uncertain about the prospects for PeopleSoft, a software firm he had founded, he always had a comforting friend in his miniature schnauzer, Maddie. Duffield and his wife Cheryl vowed that if they became wealthy, they’d repay Maddie for her love and companionship during difficult times by trying to help future generations of pets.

    The business prospered, and the Duffields established a family foundation in 1994 that became Maddie’s Fund in 1999, a few years after Maddie’s death.

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  • Magazine Article

    How much is that doggie sweater in the window?

    It takes time for a shelter thrift store to establish a reputation in a community, build a customer base, and attract donors who will contribute quality items to the store. The Pick of the Litter, the thrift shop of the Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA in Burlingame, Calif., has been in business for more than 40 years.

    Thrift stores turn secondhand goods into treasure for shelters

    Customers come to the Blue Ridge Humane Society thrift stores to shop, but they may stay to dance.

    “We’re known for our crazy sales,” says Terri Thompson, director of retail and community outreach for the shelter, located in Hendersonville, N.C. One of the most popular sales they’ve had was Dare Day. Customers who wanted a discount had to reach into a basket and draw a slip that might ask them to tap dance for a minute, sing “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” or recite a tongue twister.

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  • Magazine Article

    Clunkers into cash

    Vehicles don’t even need to be in working order to be accepted for car donation programs. An old heap may still have hundreds of dollars worth of salvage value—money that shelters can put to good use.

    Car donation programs serve as successful fundraising tool for shelters

    Shelters around the country use car donation programs to generate much-needed cash to support their lifesaving efforts for animals.

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