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Old 12-08-2012, 07:26 PM
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Airn Airn is offline
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Lightbulb Rescue Event Ideas

I am involved in a non-profict organization that works with my local shelter. I am looking forward to the new year and what we can do for the animals and shelter. I've come up with quite a bit of ideas on events for the dogs, some are reasonable, some are long-shots. What are your ideas (crazy or not) for events benefiting the shelter?

An example would be having a weekend at the local dog park for people to interact with shelter dogs as well as bringing their own dogs. (This is just an idea.) Or having someone be a speaker for seminar and have people pay a small fee to attend. (This was mainly for the bully breeds as we have a lot of pit mixes at the shelter. I love to educate and be educated.)

Our 'leader' has recently moved and is passing the reigns. It's a pity because she seems like a great, passionate person. (She moved to Chicago 6 months ago and I joined this group less than 6 months ago.) I feel like this is a great opportunity for our group, though.

On a side note, the shelter's staff kind of sucks. Apart from a couple of people they are lazy and difficult to communicate with. (The pay isn't great, but still.) The main people don't 'do' social media, so the PetFinder and Facebook site are all run by volunteers (only when they let us). This is going to be a huge obstacle, but I believe it will be worth it.

Any other advice/comments/whatever is welcome and appreciated. This is pretty new to me.
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Old 12-08-2012, 07:30 PM
JessLough JessLough is offline
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Believe me when I say I suck at stuff like this

But I will be watching this thread I am one of the head volunteers for a local rescue, and we really need to get into the public more.
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Old 12-08-2012, 09:21 PM
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AllieMackie AllieMackie is online now
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I'm the Events/Communications Manager for two pet food stores, which means working directly with rescues for events. A lot. While my experience is mostly from the business side of it, I've also helped Jess coordinate ferret events and have coordinated directly with rescues countless times. Plus I actively volunteer for two rescues (FRSO and Sit With Me) so I have experience on both sides!

Also, because of above credentials, this may be a novel. Haha. I'm sorry.

Remember to think of the rescue almost like a business. Always think WIFM (What's Innit For Me) because you want the rescue to profit from whatever event you hold. Yes, you want people to meet fosters, encourage fostering/adoption, and get the rescue's name out there, but money coming in is the bread and butter of any rescue. It keeps them alive.

First things first, talk to local pet businesses. Training academies, pet food stores, veterinarians, groomers, etc. Send them emails, introduce your rescue. Talk about potential event ideas and what the events will do to benefit THEM as a business. Mutual backscratching within the pet industry is what keeps our local rescues thriving. Lots of cross-promotional opportunities exist for both you, the rescue, and whatever business(es) you work with.

Some stores and other venues like to choose one rescue to continually work with. Some others (like my store) tend to spread the love across rescues citywide. Either way, you can benefit.

In terms of your ideas, they're good and can be worked with, but they need expansion.

For instance, Sure people will come to a playdate in the park, but how does that benefit the rescue? Will their be rescue-related products for sale? Perhaps a bake sale with human AND doggy treats? A park training session in exchange for a donation? Remember to find ways to profit that will also encourage the public to come. People usually won't come for just a playdate, but a playdate, a bake sale, and a mostly-free session on doggy focus at the park? Sold!

Seminars, IME, don't draw people. People don't generally care about seminars unless they're happening as part of a bigger event, like the dogpark playdate above.

I'll share a few ideas that have worked for the rescues we've worked with, as well as for us as a business.

See if you can get involved with some folks who are savvy with nail trimming and microchips. Hold a clinic where people can get both, half of proceeds go to the rescue. A local Giant Breed rescue holds one of these events annually and it's a HUGE success. A lot of money brought in for them.

See if you guys can get into any local pet events or trade shows with a booth. Hefty discounts are usually given to rescues for these events and it's an amazing way to get your name out there. Make some goodies to sell, like homemade tugs, greeting cards, trinkets or other things. Baked goods work if you're allowed to sell food, too. Bring some of the more bombproof adoptable dogs to these events.

Make holidays work to your benefit! A bit late to get on the winter-holiday train this year, but for next year, doing a "photos with Santa" event and Giving Trees for Christmas are huge. We're doing both this year - the Santa photos are benefitting a single rescue and our Giving Tree is helping one to three dogs from fifteen rescues total! Find out if anyone local does these and jump on board with your shelter. I can give you more info on Giving Trees if you want. A lot of stores do them for Easter as well. Do a Halloween Trick Or Treat event at a pet store. St. Patrick's Day Lucky Draw. Options are endless around the holidays because you have a built-in theme.

Our biggest smash hit event this year so far has been our Dog Movie Night. The neighbourhood my store is in is very tight-knit, and the local community association had been doing outdoor movie nights for families, so we contacted them about doing a Dog Movie Night in the same park. Normally dogs aren't allowed, but we got a bylaw exemption for one evening. We chose Birch Haven (the rescue I linked above) as our benefactor, and in turn chose Marmaduke for the film since it features a Great Dane. :P

The event started an hour before dusk. We sold plain popcorn coated in liver sprinkle for the dogs to munch on, and offered nail trims on site before the movie started (all towards the rescue). There were a ton of dogs there, and most of them were existing customers so we gave everyone a coupon for the store. It's all our customers talked about for weeks afterwards. Here's an article about the event that I did with Ottawa West EMC and here's my Chaz thread with photos from the event.

I have a head full of ideas so if you want more, I can share!

(Jess, we still need to talk about me moving from Secretary to Communications within the board. haha.)
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  #4  
Old 12-08-2012, 10:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AllieMackie View Post
I'm the Events/Communications Manager for two pet food stores, which means working directly with rescues for events. A lot. While my experience is mostly from the business side of it, I've also helped Jess coordinate ferret events and have coordinated directly with rescues countless times. Plus I actively volunteer for two rescues (FRSO and Sit With Me) so I have experience on both sides!

Also, because of above credentials, this may be a novel. Haha. I'm sorry.

Remember to think of the rescue almost like a business. Always think WIFM (What's Innit For Me) because you want the rescue to profit from whatever event you hold. Yes, you want people to meet fosters, encourage fostering/adoption, and get the rescue's name out there, but money coming in is the bread and butter of any rescue. It keeps them alive.

First things first, talk to local pet businesses. Training academies, pet food stores, veterinarians, groomers, etc. Send them emails, introduce your rescue. Talk about potential event ideas and what the events will do to benefit THEM as a business. Mutual backscratching within the pet industry is what keeps our local rescues thriving. Lots of cross-promotional opportunities exist for both you, the rescue, and whatever business(es) you work with.

Some stores and other venues like to choose one rescue to continually work with. Some others (like my store) tend to spread the love across rescues citywide. Either way, you can benefit.

In terms of your ideas, they're good and can be worked with, but they need expansion.

For instance, Sure people will come to a playdate in the park, but how does that benefit the rescue? Will their be rescue-related products for sale? Perhaps a bake sale with human AND doggy treats? A park training session in exchange for a donation? Remember to find ways to profit that will also encourage the public to come. People usually won't come for just a playdate, but a playdate, a bake sale, and a mostly-free session on doggy focus at the park? Sold!

Seminars, IME, don't draw people. People don't generally care about seminars unless they're happening as part of a bigger event, like the dogpark playdate above.

I'll share a few ideas that have worked for the rescues we've worked with, as well as for us as a business.

See if you can get involved with some folks who are savvy with nail trimming and microchips. Hold a clinic where people can get both, half of proceeds go to the rescue. A local Giant Breed rescue holds one of these events annually and it's a HUGE success. A lot of money brought in for them.

See if you guys can get into any local pet events or trade shows with a booth. Hefty discounts are usually given to rescues for these events and it's an amazing way to get your name out there. Make some goodies to sell, like homemade tugs, greeting cards, trinkets or other things. Baked goods work if you're allowed to sell food, too. Bring some of the more bombproof adoptable dogs to these events.

Make holidays work to your benefit! A bit late to get on the winter-holiday train this year, but for next year, doing a "photos with Santa" event and Giving Trees for Christmas are huge. We're doing both this year - the Santa photos are benefitting a single rescue and our Giving Tree is helping one to three dogs from fifteen rescues total! Find out if anyone local does these and jump on board with your shelter. I can give you more info on Giving Trees if you want. A lot of stores do them for Easter as well. Do a Halloween Trick Or Treat event at a pet store. St. Patrick's Day Lucky Draw. Options are endless around the holidays because you have a built-in theme.

Our biggest smash hit event this year so far has been our Dog Movie Night. The neighbourhood my store is in is very tight-knit, and the local community association had been doing outdoor movie nights for families, so we contacted them about doing a Dog Movie Night in the same park. Normally dogs aren't allowed, but we got a bylaw exemption for one evening. We chose Birch Haven (the rescue I linked above) as our benefactor, and in turn chose Marmaduke for the film since it features a Great Dane. :P

The event started an hour before dusk. We sold plain popcorn coated in liver sprinkle for the dogs to munch on, and offered nail trims on site before the movie started (all towards the rescue). There were a ton of dogs there, and most of them were existing customers so we gave everyone a coupon for the store. It's all our customers talked about for weeks afterwards. Here's an article about the event that I did with Ottawa West EMC and here's my Chaz thread with photos from the event.

I have a head full of ideas so if you want more, I can share!

(Jess, we still need to talk about me moving from Secretary to Communications within the board. haha.)
I'll try to keep this in order. Mine will also be ridiculously long.

First off THANK YOU!! I get so frustrated with some of the volunteers. They show favoritism for the dogs which means the SAME GROUP OF DOGS go to ALL the events. I've heard someone say that's because that's who the shelter wants to send, and that probably has a bit to do with it. We try to get dogs that are ready to go. (Spayed/neutered, sometimes paid for, shots, etc.) I have mixed feelings on bringing the old, weak, disabled, sad, and other similar types of dogs to these events. At least to every single one. I want us to get the dogs adopted out. At events, I feel, that people will be more willing to adopt a puppy or young dog or otherwise appealing dog rather than a blind, deaf, shy and old dog. (Cue the spaniel mix that went to at least two adoption events.) I don't know how to make these people realize the goal is to adopt the dogs out. Hopefully this can be addressed soon.

Our shelter has a deal with PetSmart. I would like to get more involved in a couple of local places, more animal relevant. The current leaders are doing fairly well at finding events but they all seen very random to me. We went to a car lot one weekend and a furniture store the next. I know it's good advertising and any chance to adopt out a dog is a good one, but.... it doesn't work for us.

We actually just did a pictures with Santa gig. I personally don't think it went well and here's why: this area, in general, sucks at advertising any animal events. Whether it's a benefit for the Humane Society, a dog park event or a disc competition, I have to go to several places to get information. Forget social media. I am, again, hoping this can be remedied since another girl and I have recently joined the group and are 'younger'. A lot of the volunteers are 'older'; they have families and careers and this is an extra thing for them.

This is what I need. For someone to say "Hey your ideas will/will not work and here's why." Currently the volunteers are very disjointed. I see the leader being disrespected constantly by other members. Some people feed the dogs 'human food'. Some people don't agree with using prong collars. It's hard when you have 5-10 dogs and every handler is doing something different for the dog. I don't really like to give the dogs hot dogs or whatever, but the dogs have been 'trained' to just lunge at any food that comes into contact with the ground. And I feel like it's not 'fair' to my dog to not allow them to eat something while the others get a treat. At the recent Santa event, one person didn't want to use a prong collar because she said it makes the dog look less adoptable. (Which I completely agree with. Unless YOU use prongs on YOUR dogs, you probably won't be interested in a dog that has one on. They're scary.) I personally like to make the dog's gender as obvious as possible. If I have a boy dog, I don't want a flowery, pink leash. This may seem silly but when I was looking a dog, it made it easy for me to know if I was interested. If you're looking for a male (and you're set on that) you don't really want to look at a female. Plus I'm just a matchy freak.

I am definitely excited to bring these ideas and concerns to the next meeting. I want to do so much but I'm not experienced enough. I don't want to be the leader, but I want someone to step up and take control of the situation. The communication is just terrible. We need some rules and dependable people. It's nice that people want to help but sometimes they're more trouble than they're worth.

I have so many questions but I'll stop for now. I don't want to scare everyone away. I just really care about this. I've been wanting to get involved in my community and with my recent stress problems, this is really helping me cope.

Thanks a lot Allie for your advice : ) You are welcome to give me as much as you want! I would never say no to information. I am more than willing to admit my ignorance. (I also love your artwork, by the way. I felt a bit stalker-y watching you but it was a neat experience.) Why are you cool people in Canada?
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