Volunteers are one of the many things that seem to run on short supply for rescues. Here are some ideas of where you may want to look that you may not have thought of before.
- At any and every event you attend, be sure to have some brochures about your group, a listing of the volunteering opportunities you have, as well as a sign-up form letting people know that you need volunteers as well as donations to help the animals!
- Be sure to sign your group up with Volunteer Match at www.volunteermatch.com Many shelters/ rescues have had great luck with finding volunteers through this site. Be sure to list ALL the various jobs you need help with, from answering phones and replying to e-mails to building new enclosures and directly handling the animals. Some people may love animals but are just not able to commit to fostering or regularly scheduled jobs. Be sure to include one-time things such as painting a mural as well as long distance jobs, like help designing a website or producing a newsletter/ brochure.
- Stay at Home Moms, Retirees and others who aren’t working for whatever reason can usually spend a few hours helping a rescue group. Be sure to let them know that there are opportunities for regular involvement (like every Tuesday you’ll need help with bathing animals), or just once in a while activities, like crafting, tabling events, baking for bake sales and more!
- Contact Building Associations and other companies if you need help with some plumbing, electrical work or repairs for your structures. The association may help you as part of a good deed for their members. Or, they may let you place information in their newsletters asking for assistance from any of their members on their own time.
- Contact your Chamber of Commerce or other Welcoming Committee sorts of groups to let them know you are always looking for volunteers. New comers to an area may be looking for a fast way to meet people and make friends. If they are animal lovers, then they will quickly find some great company as soon as they move to your town. Ask the chamber if you can include a brochure for volunteering in the welcome packets.
- Also contact real estate agencies and ask if you can have your volunteering brochures placed in their welcome packets. Again, new comers need a group of people to make them feel welcome and part of the community… you can be that group!
- Make a Difference Day is held at the end of October. Make sure your community knows you have some one-time volunteer opportunities that groups of people can help you with as part of this nationwide effort to make a difference in the community. Helping animals is a great way to make a difference!
- Community Service requirements ordered by courts: Many times, the court systems order people to do some sort of community service. These can be young teens who were caught for minor infractions and working with animals may be JUST the thing to turn them around. Be sure to contact your local court systems, Family Services office, or parole offices to ask about this sort of partnership.
- The United Way can also steer volunteers to your group. Make sure they have your update information, a few brochures and business cards that they can hand out to people.
- Libraries allow various groups to set up displays in their front windows and also conduct story times for younger children. Contact your public and school libraries and ask if you can set up a display with animal related books and your brochures to attract some new blood into your group!
In the schools or clubs:
- Many high schools and colleges require students to do community service before they are able to graduate. Make sure your local school systems know that you are in need of lots of young hands. Kids can help with the grounds keeping, moving boxes and files around, painting fences, maintaining Petfinder websites and more. Our next generation of rescuers is very tech savvy kids so use them wisely!
- School groups such as Future Farmers of America can help with the direct care of animals and designing/ maintaining animal enclosures, grooming, etc. Your local 4-H groups that focus on animal raising or kindness to the Earth can also be very helpful to a rescue group!
- Future Business Leaders of America and other groups similar to that can assist your group with creating brochures, marketing, and more.
- Art classes/ clubs can help you design logos, create letterheads, paint murals, design t-shirts and more.
- Computer clubs or other tech savvy students can help create and maintain websites, Petfinder sites, take digital photos for your sites, and create databases for your health records and adoption information.
- Many Colleges and high schools have environmental clubs or groups of students that are true animal lovers. Perhaps they can be used as one-time volunteers!
- Fraternities and Sororities generally adopt a charity and raise funds for that group all year long. Be sure to talk to any local colleges and see if there might be a Greek group willing to raise funds for you!
- Any science clubs, environmental clubs might like to help protect animals and assist with building enclosures, cleaning up, etc.
- Home school Associations can be a great place to make some friends! These students tend to have more flexible school schedules and are able to take more field trips since their parents are already their own chaperones and they don’t need to worry about school budgets. 😀 These students are able to focus on unit studies and incorporate animals in every aspect of their schoolwork if they so choose. And, because their schedules are more flexible, they may be able to help you during the day, help with bake sales, design websites and more. This could be a mutually beneficial relationship where the students learn about the animals while helping your organization!
These are only a few ideas of where to look for volunteers. What are some of your ideas?