5 Tips on Community Outreach for Animal Shelters & Rescues
5 TIPS ON COMMUNITY OUTREACH
BY KIM WOLF
Community outreach can make all the difference for animal shelters & rescues. Follow these 5 simple tips to connect with your local community and share your resources and information with the people that need them.
1. MAKE IT ACCESSIBLE
Resources are only useful if people can access them. Help clients overcome barriers such as transportation or language.
2. EMPOWER INFORMAL RESCUERS
Even the most under-resourced communities have good Samaritans taking in homeless pets, outside the formal shelter system. Empower these “informal rescuers” by proactively sharing resources to support their good deeds.
3. TARGET NEEDS, NOT BREEDS
Programs open to all dogs are most effective and eliminate stigma based on breed labels or appearances.
4. ASK, LISTEN & ENGAGE
Effective outreach isn’t about fixing things for people. It’s about asking what they need, listening, and engaging with them to find solutions.
5. HELP CLIENTS SPREAD THE WORD
Your clients are your best marketing tool for reaching the community. Help them advertise your resources through word of mouth—and show them your appreciation!
KIM WOLF | Community Outreach Coordinator, ARL of Iowa
Kim is the Founder/Director of Beyond Breed (www.beyondbreed.com), a nonprofit supporting the bond between people and pets. Kim has more than a decade of professional experience in social work and animal welfare, including her current role as the Community Outreach Coordinator at the Animal Rescue League of Iowa. Her previous experience includes positions at the Pennsylvania SPCA, Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program, and numerous social service agencies. In addition to presenting frequently at animal welfare conferences, Kim has trained dozens of human services agencies on integrating pet care topics into their programs. Kim lives in Des Moines with her three dogs, Mary Todd Lincoln, Cappy and Snickers, and her cat, Miss Kitty.