Aug 11, 201202:54 PMRyan Writes
Ryan Rice, Editor-in-Chief
Reflect. Refocus. Renew.
Often I am asked what the best groups to work with are and in the past I always had one standard answer. In recent months, my perspective—and with that, my passion—has led me to re-think and rediscover some of the groups that I think make a huge impact. Not only in our community, but in our society. This reflection was not something I was expecting or prepared for, but it has been so liberating to me. I now feel like I have the opportunity to help a wider range of organizations and, most of all, smaller groups that need and appreciate what I can bring to the table. Turns out, that even after supporting and dedicating myself to one group for six years, that I find myself in the position that many volunteers, animal advocates and donors find themselves—a position of feeling unappreciated, unneeded and unhappy with the way in which an organization is run. How many others have this same feeling after spending so much of their own time and money to help an organization? Unfortunately, I think many do, which saddens me. We all get involved because we care about the animals and people we are helping. We gather our resources, involve ALL of our friends and contacts and shell out our own money to help and when we discover that these things are not appreciated by the group’s leadership it not only leaves a bad taste in our mouth, it can lead us to the point where we don’t want to do anything. . . for any group.
Rather than get caught up in that, I am moving on! I want to shift my focus to groups that “get it” and ones that have a board comprised of people who truly “step it up” for the organization every day. When a volunteer is needed, they are the first to offer. When money is needed, they are the first to find it. When an event needs to be executed, they are there early to set up and stay late to clean up. They don’t just show up to drink the free booze and pick apart the tiny things. They understand the pressures on the organization's staff and, more importantly, understand the value of a volunteer’s time and network. If a board member doesn’t do these things, why are they even involved? They are not helping the organization or the community by simply taking up space at a table in a meeting every few months and looking a gift horse in the mouth. Those horses will eventually see this and move on to greener pastures. . . along with their ideas, friends and contacts. So to those organizations, I say good luck and I sincerely hope—for the sake of those you serve—that you can get your act together.
Fortunately, there are so many great organizations that understand these key aspects of retaining a solid base of active supporters and donors...and these are the groups I feel a renewed sense of passion to help and promote. I am also finding that I am extremely passionate about groups that are truly making a difference in our world by assisting and teaching humans valuable lessons with the help of rescue and service animals. Groups like Healing Species that are showing at-risk youth that they are valuable and they can overcome diversity to be whatever they dream. The therapeutic benefits of animals to us humans is fascinating to me, not only because of the connection we can have with animals, but because it is changing lives. Lives that were given up on, lives that were devalued and lives that will now be able to make a difference down the road thanks to the love and insight of our four-legged companions. I will always try my hardest to get the word out about adoptables and events, but I cannot, in good conscience, promote or advocate support for a group that does not value the people I am trying to send them. What kind of friend would I be? My hope is that this post will serve as motivation for all groups to assess their practices and ensure that there is a priority on everyone doing their part, including not taking anyone or anything for granted. I also encourage everyone to talk about groups that are doing it right so that we may all have an idea of the array of activities where we could make an impact, “big” and small. Let’s highlight the positive rather than focus on the negative. If you know of an animal welfare organization or animal-centric charity led by true leaders and worthy of support let me know and I will feature them on LIFE+DOG’s website and our additional network pages as applicable. Just answer the few short questions below and email to email@example.com and I will check it out and get back to you for more information. Here is to moving forward and making a difference!
Tell us about an organization you would love to support!
- Name/Location of organization:
Contact at organization:
- Executive staff or board member contact info
- Website address
- Facebook page
- Why you support the group and why you think others should:
- Why you think this group is making a difference in our world:
Send your responses to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “Why I love...(insert group name)” and we will get back to you as soon as possible.