An animal welfare professional’s typical day includes unparalleled joy and heart-wrenching despair, often in equal measure. The burnout is real but it’s the hard-won progress that sustains us.
The Best Friends Podcast brings you stories from the front lines of lifesaving. You’ll hear from leading experts on topics that impact all of us. These are stories that matter to shelters, rescue groups, and the animal welfare organizations that enable their service to a community and its animals. These are stories for all of us.
The art of storytelling for year end fundraising
As the calendar year begins to wind down, one group of people in animal welfare are just getting warmed up - the fundraisers.
Roughly one-third of all donations to nonprofits come in the last 31 days of the year. For some organizations, December's donations amount to more than half of their overall fundraising for the entire year, so it's a critical time.
At the core of every good end-of-year campaign is a good story, and every single day the work we do presents us with countless stories as we impact the lives of people and pets. So which stories are the best ones to use for your end-of-year fundraising campaigns?
Who you're talking to, what you're asking for, how you're asking it, and where you're asking are all big questions, so we thought that we'd sit down with Trish Tolbert, the senior development strategist for the national embed team at Best Friends.
Check out this piece on the Best Friends Network about telling your story: https://network.bestfriends.org/tools-and-information/program-spotlights/harnessing-power-story-benefit-your-bottom-line (Harnessing the Power of Story to Benefit your Bottom Line)
Interested in speaking at the 2022 Best Friends National Conference? The submission period for proposals is now open! https://bestfriends.org/events/best-friends-national-conference/speaking-proposals (Click here to learn more.)
Keeping ourselves whole (rebroadcast)
We all know how important the work being done in the animal welfare field is right now. But dealing with the pandemic and other serious issues such as the growing staffing crisis - on top of all the demands associated with living in this moment in time - has certainly not made working in the field any easier. These challenges are driving people away from the field at what seems like a higher rate than ever.
But as you’ll hear from today’s guest, certified professional coach Meryl Schwarz, even the smallest of actions you do for yourself can make a world of difference in your day-to-day work.
The period to submit session proposals to speak at the 2022 Best Friends National Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina opens October 11th. To learn more, https://bestfriends.org/events/best-friends-national-conference (click here to visit the conference website.)
Expanding our reach with multilingual marketing
For decades, the lack of positive outreach into bilingual communities has left generations of people unaware of animal shelters, what is happening at them, and how they, as pet lovers, can help save lives. And it truly is millions of pet owners. The Hispanic community alone accounts for more than 22-million pet owners.
The focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion across the industry has brought visibility to the untapped potential for more pet lovers in our communities, ready to help us achieve our goal of ending the killing of pets in shelters by 2025. But multilingual marketing is a specific skill and an area where you must act with intention if you are going to reach this untapped market effectively.
This week we talked with Mia Navedo-Williams, the manager of multicultural marketing at Best Friends. We learned more about the history of animal welfare’s involvement in the Hispanic community (or lack thereof). We also learn about setting ourselves up for success as we all do more to support all pet owners across the nation.
To learn more about Mia and the multilingual efforts of Best Friends, and to access the resources mentioned in the episode, check out the website: https://network.bestfriends.org/tools-and-information/best-friends-podcast/best-friends-podcast-ep-82 (Episode 82 - Expanding our reach with multilingual marketing)
"I just trust people"
Have you ever owned a pet you acquired for free as a stray? Do you love that pet any less than others you’ve had in your life?
For decades the conventional wisdom was that charging adoption fees was the right thing to do. It would dissuade anyone from a spur-of-the-moment decision that might end in a return, and not charging a fee would devalue the pet, and in turn, adopters wouldn’t love the pet the same. If you can get it for free, why care for it? After more than twenty years of this research, there is no evidence that reducing or eliminating adoption fees does either of those things. So why do we still see so much resistance to it?
This week we talk with Dr. Karen Sheppard, the director of Huntsville Animal Services in Alabama, who shares how adoption promotions played a role in taking Huntsville to where it is today - a no-kill model for the entire nation.
Professionalizing the profession
Animal welfare is more professional than it’s ever been. Across the country, collectively, we’re saving more lives on any given day than some ever thought possible. We have a greater understanding of the role pets play in our individual lives and within our communities. More than ever, our industry strives to preserve the human-animal bond and keep families together.
So why are we still fighting to have animal welfare recognized as a critical community service?
Today’s guest, Tawny Hammond from Best Friends, identified this disconnect and leaned into her background in training and development in municipal government to launch the Best Friends Executive Leadership Certification Program. The first in an ever-growing suite of educational opportunities designed to continue what she calls “professionalizing the profession.”
Animal welfare feeling the effects of the nationwide staffing crisis
The United States is suffering from a severe labor shortage, and just about every industry is feeling it. From hospitality to healthcare, transportation, banking, agriculture — and yes, animal welfare is also finding it challenging to hire new staff and retain the staff they already have.
Best Friends recently surveyed our Network partners and nearly nine out of every ten organizations that responded said their staffing is below where it should be. They cited numerous reasons, but an inability to recruit and budget freezes were at the top.
This week, we hear from two people dealing with this crisis. One is a shelter director in the panhandle of Florida, and the other is the founder of a national recruiting firm that helps municipal governments and nonprofits recruit and retain talent.
No kill shelters
I would prefer to have no kill shelters.
My tortie of 10 years passed two weeks ago from cancer.
We rescued her from a shelter and I didn’t know at the time that she was scheduled to be put down in the next week because she had almost been there for the designated amount of weeks allowed before they had to put them down.
The lady even said that she was very used to people and was very kind. She wasn’t wrong. Which brings me back to why I don’t like kill shelters.
Kim was a perfect cat and the fact that she was in the center that long and no one else considered taking her isn’t fair in my eyes.
Many people are probably missing out on the opportunity to be a guardian for amazing cats like Kim.
I guess it’s like my mom says,
“She was meant for me. That’s why she was there for all that time.”
I want others to be able to find the perfect one for them and give them all a fighting chance to do so.
Which is why I am going to adopt another cat in the next few weeks. I just still need to grieve a bit more.
Great podcast for animal lovers
These people do amazing work and everyone should support them!
Great podcast. The host is also there (KIDDING, he’s great!)
Long time first time. I was turned on to this pod by a friend who said I’d love it. I was definitely skeptical at first but it’s really great. The host does a great job of moving the conversation along and he really makes some of these not-at-first-compelling topics really interesting and relatable.
As someone who loves animals but isn’t in the industry I think it’s a great entree into the sometimes wonky world of the professional animal welfare movement.
I’m a fan boy and I’ve now listened to every episode. I only wish there were more stars I could give it