How Pennsylvania animal shelter made it through superstorm Sandy

Published: Thursday, Nov. 1 2012 12:02 p.m. MDT

Don’t sacrifice good for perfect. While officials will tell you that ongoing foster families are what they really need, the bond between pet and person during the storm will likely result in 30-40 permanent adoptions. For the animals saved and the families who now parent them, that is a wonderful outcome. Year round, DCSPCA fosters adopt 1-2 animals each week. That is still an additional 50-100 animals saved each year.

Connect donors and volunteers with anecdote, not data. From a managerial perspective, metrics are critical. The DCSPCA exceeded its goal of placing 2,800 animals in permanent homes last year and is chasing a goal of 3,100 this year. That is a powerful impact. But for contributors of time, talent or treasure, the numbers are too big and success in the abstract can work against your goals. The most gut wrenching stories of abuse, neglect, survival and perseverance are what the organization promotes through all media outlets. As Calgiano said, “Each story is an animal right here in their community that they can help, and the number and volume of gifts we receive for one animal based on their story and photo can be overwhelming … these gifts include cash, toys, even handmade blankets!” It is these individual stories that volunteers rush to save and support during an emergency.

Partner with other nonprofits and businesses. While DCSPCA pays veterinarians, it receives volunteer care from local schools with veterinary tech programs and also boosts its success by working with a local pet supply store in placing up to ten cats per week in permanent homes through off-site adoption.

John J. Brady is the Chief Operating Officer of HigherNext, Inc. With 20 years in the education sector, he writes on matters of higher education, transitions into college and career, non-profit management and standardized testing. JB@highernext.com

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