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Volunteer management

Volunteers are an essential part of nearly every animal protection organization. Well-run volunteer programs amplify our reach and increase our capacity to care for animals and the number of lives saved. Here, we offer managers of volunteers materials and resources to design and build the volunteer program that will best support the staff in meeting the organization’s mission, and provide them with opportunities for ongoing learning and professional development.

  • Apples and oranges

    Volunteers are vital to the work of many animal welfare organizations, but when you mix an emotionally charged workplace with people who may prefer animals to their own species, it’s no surprise that tensions arise. Forestall problems from derailing your organization’s mission—learn from experts in volunteer management how an organized approach (and a dash of psychology) can keep volunteers and staff working side by side in the name of animals.

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  • Worth the risk

    Got people lining up to volunteer for your organization? They’ll bring a ton of great assistance, but they may also present some liability risks. Fear not—they’re risks you can manage with the right approach.

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Most recent Tools and Resources > Volunteer management

  • Magazine Article

    Can you hear me meow?

    Trade the silent treatment for rapid response

    So you started a small rescue, and people love your work! Your phone is ringing nonstop, you might have accidentally deleted a few voicemails, and your unread email count seems to multiply by the minute. Are you handling those calls and emails appropriately, or are you focusing on the animals ... and alienating the people who want to help save those animals? Here's how phone and email management techniques can take your rescue's customer service from zero to hero.

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  • Magazine Article

    How to get the most out of Animal Care Expo

    So does Sherbet.

    The senior director of volunteer engagement for The HSUS shares her best tips for effective networking at conferences

    Full disclosure: I hate networking. I’m not on LinkedIn, I loathe going into a room where I don’t really know someone and having to strike up a conversation (it’s so much like college: “What’s your major?”) and if “networking” is in the title of an event, I usually skip it. I know there are a million articles explaining both why networking is important and how to do it, but this is just how I am. I can’t help it.

    So, imagine my surprise when my colleague asked me to write a blog about it!

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  • Magazine Article

    Love in the time of Pokémon

    Indiana shelter capitalizes on a cultural craze

    Anyone visiting the Muncie Animal Shelter last summer was likely to hear an unprecedented sound: near-total silence in the kennel area.

    The roughly 70 dogs housed at the Indiana municipal facility at the time were either out on the town, prowling for Bulbasaurs, Charmanders, Squirtles and Pikachus, or they were fast asleep, exhausted after a day of tracking Pokémon.

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  • Magazine Article

    Apples and oranges

    When organizations are at odds with their volunteers, a fruitful outcome requires a firm hand

    Volunteers are vital to the work of many animal welfare organizations, but when you mix an emotionally charged workplace with people who may prefer animals to their own species, it’s no surprise that tensions arise. Forestall problems from derailing your organization’s mission—learn from experts in volunteer management how an organized approach (and a dash of psychology) can keep volunteers and staff working side by side in the name of animals.

    Read More

  • Guide

    Managing volunteers

    Photo by Corey Roscoe/The HSUS

    With volunteers on board and working in their roles, the focus shifts to ongoing management, retention and the "care and feeding" of volunteers. Here we offer you information and resources for ongoing engagement, evaluation and recognition of volunteers.

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  • Guide

    Bringing volunteers on board

    Photo by Chuck Cook/AP Images for The HSUS

    The HSUS offers a variety tools to increase understanding of key principles in volunteer management, and ways to connect individual coordinators with the larger community of volunteers managers willing to share their secrets to success.

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