We put the spotlight on award Category 4, ‘Innovation in Rescue’. Rehoming organisations are innovative! Every day you face many challenges such as animal intake, fundraising, unclaimed pets, rehabilitating animals, managing volunteers, and rehoming pets into a loving home. These challenges drive innovation, that is, introducing new ways to address issues and improve outcomes for animals.
This award category is for Rehoming organisations (not for profit Rescue Groups, Animal Shelters or Council Animal Shelters/Pounds) who have made an impact on animal welfare outcomes in the community as a result of implementing a new program, policy or process. Outcomes could be – reduced euthanasia, improved animal well-being, increased pet adoptions, and ensuring the sustainability of your organisation. The judging criteria cover program aims, program methods, and program outcomes.
Examples of Innovation
Here are just a few examples of initiatives your Rehoming organisation may have undertaken.
- Introduced a new payment method that helps low-income families to pay for their adopted pet over a period of time.
- Implemented a de-sexing program to address a high number of unwanted kittens
- Collaborated with veterinarians to provide affordable vet care
- Provide training to address animal behaviour issues at your shelter
- Improved the way your organisation conducts behaviour assessments
- Implemented health management protocols to reduce canine parvovirus/other infectious diseases
- Taken steps to increase reclaims
- Provided information for the community about missing cat and dog behaviour
- Improved your customer service to ensure all enquiries are handled within a certain time frame
- Changed the way your organisation provide enrichment for animals in your care
- Improved the process of matching potential adopters and animals
- Collaborated with the commercial pet industry to provide free or low-cost animal products and services for foster carers and low-income families who have adopted a pet
- Changed the way you train your staff and volunteers
- Introduced a special offer for hard to adopt pets such as seniors
- Implemented a new way of marketing and fundraising to ensure the longevity of your organisation
Entry is by Rehoming organisation self-nomination. The person submitting the nomination should be a manager or senior employee/volunteer from the Rehoming organisation who has sufficient knowledge on its operations.
#1 Identify why your Rehoming organisation introduced the initiative. For example – your rehoming organisation may have experienced a high number of unclaimed animals or received large numbers of unwanted litters or needed funds to pay for veterinary treatments.
#2 Include the specific goals and measures you put in place for your program. For example – reduce euthanasia of healthy and treatable animals, increase adoptions, reduce animal intake, fundraising for a particular program. Include the specific measures and time frames of your program.
#3 Simply explain the methods/policies and processes your organisation implemented to undertake the initiative. Briefly cover: who, what, when and how you executed the initiative. Perhaps your organisation collaborated with other stakeholders such as Councils, Rescue Groups, Animal Shelters, veterinary clinics, and schools to achieve your goals.
#4 Briefly cover the key outcomes/impact of your initiative including any challenges you had to overcome. Explain how your program impacted on animal welfare outcomes in relation to your program’s specific goals.
#5 Overall operations – explain how this initiative fits within the overall operations and strategic direction of your Rehoming organisation.
So, get started and submit a self-nomination for Category 4, Innovation in Rescue.
Photo: Jo Lyons Photography