The Three Ts of Volunteering
I often find myself in conversations with people about volunteering at their local shelter or for a rescue. They want to help, but find that the more obvious things like fostering or walking dogs are not possible for them. Rather than thinking there is nothing you can do to help, let’s explore some of the other ways in which you can make a big impact with just a bit of effort. Time, talent and treasure are the three things that any organization needs, so let’s just delve into what that might entail.
Time is a commodity that we all have to varying degrees and is always appreciated by any organization that relies on the skills of a committed volunteer
base. If you are able to spare a block of time, but not able to walk and interact with dogs, there are many other tasks that need to be done on a nearly daily basis which may or may not involve having a special talent.
If you are especially good at cleaning, there’s no shortage of bedding to be laundered, kennels, cages, bowls and toys to be cleaned or sanitized. If you prefer a more outdoorsy type of task, mowing, weeding, snow removal, and any other general building maintenance will always be appreciated. Any time a volunteer can do a task, the rescue will save a few more dollars and that could add up to a few more lives saved. If you have any office skills like typing, filing, or dialing, your shelter may want to put you to work updating info gathered during an adoption. Many organizations make regular follow-up calls to ensure all went well with the adoption process, so lending a hand with this will free up the staff’s time to do more adoptions. Some other office related tasks may involve stuffing envelopes, “go-home bags,” or even stuffing Kongs to be frozen and enjoyed by the pups at a later time.
Do you have a special talent that wasn’t mentioned above? Are you an artist? A crafter? A baker? Often people with a special talent donate a portion of their sales to a shelter or rescue, or perhaps you have a special recipe and would like to treat your hard working shelter team to a lunch to express how much you appreciate what they do for the animals of your community. Perhaps you have a yummy, nutritious recipe for dog treats and decide to whip up a batch for your neighborhood shelter. Certainly those lucky canines would appreciate that special talent. Any number of things can be accomplished once you decide to use your talents for the cause of your choice.
Finally, a never ending need for funds is the norm for all rescue or shelter organizations. Combining talent and treasure by having a bake sale or organizing a fundraiser or even a “friend raiser” can add to the coffers of any shelter or rescue. Some organizations list links on their websites that allow for donations whether they be a one-time donation or a repetitive one and usually even provide documentation for tax deductions.
Still not finding your niche? Just ask. Your local shelter may have a long wish list of tasks they would love to have completed. Finally, if any of the above is still out of your reach, just use your voice or keyboard and spread the word to volunteer, foster, donate, or adopt!