Dogs are one of the (actually, the most) most loving, compassionate, harmless, and intelligent animals. If you want to make a difference in their lives, you could think about starting a dog rescue business or a dog shelter. Starting a rescue shelter, for dogs or human beings, is definitely an honorable vision. You could convert this vision into a profession and probably earn a living out of it.
Truth be told, the numbers of dogs being abandoned or given up have increased surprisingly in the last few years. Most often, dogs that don’t find homes are euthanized by communities every year.
You can help these caring and homeless fur buddies by starting a rescue farm for them. If you are determined to save these canines, you should first learn how to start a successful dog rescue business.
Today we are going to give you details about starting a rescue shelter for dogs or any other animal. This is going to be your business, although an honorable and non-profit one. Therefore, even if the purpose is a noble cause, you will have to follow the same principles that apply to establish a normal business. You have to invest sufficient time and money to achieve your business goals.
Step 1: Do Your Ground Work
This is going to be a non-profit organization, a business that runs on different rules and ethics. You have to learn the basics of managing a non-profit organization. Your best bet would be visiting a successful non-profit organization in your city or community and talking to the owner or manager. It is much better than reading through the books or the internet.
They will be able to provide you with better insights from their experience and may support you in the process as well. Some of the questions you need to ponder in your preliminary research stage are what are the problems the community is currently facing with dogs? How can we address? What are the factors causing the problems? How can we control them? What other rescue shelters are undertaking? How can we make everything better?
Learn as much as you can from different sources, including from veterinarians, behaviorists, and other related experts.
Step 2: Identify Your Vision and Mission
Non-profit organizations run on their mission statement. That’s why you need to have a solid vision and even stronger mission statement. You have to articulate your mission statement clearly.
The mission statement is nothing but the comprehensive purpose of the business. What you are trying to do with your dog rescue business exactly? Your mission statement will guide you throughout your business tenure, in areas such as finances, future decision making, goals establishing and getting your messages across the public.
Your vision should be long term, as in what will be the future of the business? And your mission statement should be action and goal driven. It should also motivate others to work for you and contribute for your cause.
Step 3: Identify Your Business Goals
Goals are different from the mission statement. Goals are immediate, short-term, and long-term that is set to achieve your mission. Make your goals achievable and measurable.
Your goals will act as your business plans. There are financial goals, start-up goals, marketing goals, operational goals, and so many others that business revolves around. Start with your long-term goals, such as where do you see your business 10 years from now. Then continue with your short and shorter terms goals.
Each goal written down should be accomplished and should take you one step towards your intermediate goal and long-range goal.
The shorter goals, which are achievable in days and weeks, will keep you on track. Make sure you set your financial goals and people goals ahead of time. Financial goals will include how much start-up funds would require to commence the business, how are you going to gather the amount, within how many months can you breakeven, how are you going to get your monthly operational funds, and how can you save for the greater good.
In order to achieve the goals for your non-profit organization, you need inspirational, reliable, and supportive people who would like to volunteer for your cause in several ways.
Step 4: Bring in Your Board of Directors
Board of directors is the main entity that escorts the organization and its entire management activities towards the right direction. When you are putting together the board for your noble-cause organization, you have to take into consideration two important elements: skills and passion.
You need a group of people who are skilled in different business sectors, including law, accounting, veterinary, marketing, public relationship, construction, and business management. You will want to connect with and hire individuals who cater to these skills. They should be able to work with others cordially.
Being the owner of a non-profit organization, you may or may not earn anything from the business. Therefore, you should bring in only those people into the board who are passionate about animals, and who are willing to commit without any expectation. The size of the board will depend on the state requirements and your bylaws. You can have a board with members between three and eight.
Step 5: Incorporate Your Non-Profit Organization
If you incorporate your charitable organization, you will enjoy several benefits, in terms of company policies, tax-exempt, and tax deductibles. Additionally, it lends credibility to your organization, withholds your personal liabilities, and gives your care facility a brand value. All of these will enhance the status of the dogs under your care.
You should obtain 501(c) (3) non-profit status from your state’s IRS. However, once you incorporate your organization as a non-profit under 501(c) (3), you will have to make sure that you comply with IRS codes and laws related to charitable businesses. Failure to meet the obligations can create problems and even lead to heavy fines. Steps you need to follow for incorporation:
- Register your organization’s name
- Gather paperwork from Corporate Commission or Secretary of State
- Fill form for 501(c)(3) available on the IRS website
- Apply for a certificate to solicit donations and for tax exemption
- Ask for information on any other permits and licenses required for charitable non-profit organizations
Your next step should be writing down your Bylaws. Bylaws are frameworks that govern the organization. Your bylaws should comply with both your state and federal government requirements.
If you find all of these confusing and overwhelming, consider consulting an attorney for clarity.
When it comes to selecting a name for your organization, make sure your name is descriptive and distinctive. Don’t use common or complicated names. People should immediately recognize what your organization is all about from the name.
Step 6: Establish an Accounting System and Determine Your Budget
You will need to establish a solid accounting system, most probably an automated one, to document all your incomes and expenses accurately. Hire an accountant or a bookkeeper. You can also outsource to a third-party expert for managing and recording your finances.
Moving on, you have to shift your concentration on planning your budget. Budgeting is very important in a charitable trust, as you will be consciously spending your money. You will be able to project your budget based on your track of spending and acquiring funds. If you are just starting out, use your goals to plan your budget. With time, you will improve in strategizing.
A budget and financial management will give you and your board of directors a clear understanding of your resources. It will also give your company credibility in front of large donors, such as popular foundations and businesses. Most would like to check your budget before funding you. The budget will also give you clarity on how much funds you need to raise each month.
Step 7: Decide Your Organizational Policies
Policies and standards change as the business grows. But, in order to review them, you will have to put down the initial policies upon which the organization will thrive. You need to establish policies and share them with everyone involved. Policies are nothing but a written environment where people work collaboratively toward a common goal. Unlike bylaws that address the governance of a given organization, policies are detailed procedures that address daily operations. While bylaws cannot be changed, policies can be reviewed every year.
Your policies must include information like:
- Services you provide to the public
- Veterinary care principles
- People with special authority, such as who can perform veterinary care
- Guidelines for service quality, nature of work, and ethics
Step 8: Open Your Non-Profit Organization for Public
You must cultivate support from the community and public to run a successful dog rescue shelter. You will need continuous support from many people, in terms of money, labor, and care services. Your first step should be holding a public meeting that can talk about your group, its goals, nature, and how the group plans to accomplish its goals.
Holding a public meeting does not mean you have to spend lavishly in an inaugural function. You just need to do the needful staying within your budget.
First, you need to find out the individuals who love animals and are compassionate towards them. Ask your board members, volunteers, friends, and relatives to compile their list of animal –loving friends. Once this is done, create a mailing list with names and addresses.
Establish a meeting invitation and send it across to all the individuals from the mailing list. Make sure everything about your organization is mentioned in bold. Make the event notice fun, interesting and friendly. If food is served, mention it. If a local celebrity is gracing the event, mention it.
Next, put up a poster about your campaign initiative. Make it bright and simple. It should attract people’s eye easily. Vet clinics, pet’s supply store, grocery store, church bulletin, hypermarkets, dog groomers,and other local businesses are great places to put up the poster notice.
When this is done, let the media know about your start-up venture. Use newspaper and radio to make announcements.
Step 9: Conduct Your First Meeting
First impressions always create a lasting impression. In your first meeting, make it your goal to enhance credibility amongst the audience and explain your program, plan, and value explicitly. Create a positive awareness about the cause you are fighting for. You must convince people about the seriousness of dogs being abandoned and euthanized. You have to convince them that they are the only people who can make a difference in these dogs’ lives.
Your meeting should be interactive and productive. You could circulate handouts that people can take home. Handouts are a good way to pass on the words to more people. Make sure the handout consists of everything that evokes interest and compassion. Include stories about abandoned dogs, information about different care services and programs you will be launching in future, account details where people can donate, website details, and volunteer forms to give people an opportunity to help in more ways than money.
After the meeting concludes, take time to meet and know people one on one. You will be surprised to see how many valuable connections you will end up making informally. It is also crucial that you follow up and remind each one of them personally about the action taken, next meeting, future events, successful projects, and other activities.
Step 10: Kick Start Your Dog Rescue Shelter
Quantity and quality should both go hand in hand. Quality should be achieved at any given level. You have to provide good care to the dogs. Recruit efficient people for your key volunteer staffs. Train them adequately to perform their roles effectively. Your volunteers should be comfortable with dogs.
You have to collect correct information and share accurate information with the public. Do not expand services unless you are capable to do so. If your resources cannot support, do not take in more numbers of dogs. You cannot adopt many kids and disrupt the quality of care.
If you need any assistance, such as vets and clinics do not hesitate to connect with national animal health care center. For the USA, you can connect with SPAY/USA (800-248 SPAY) and Friends for Animals. This is a richly rewarding venture. You are going to do good. Just stay compassionate and motivating. And focus on growing.