If you have watched the news lately, you may have seen the stories about the staffing issues many businesses and organizations face due to the pandemic’s effects. As a non-profit organization, animal shelters, in general, have always had challenges attracting people to become staff members. Non-profits typically do not pay as well as other for-profit businesses but knowing that you are doing something that matters is very rewarding. I used to work in the video game publishing business. Although I was paid many times over what I am paid now working for a non-profit, my only satisfaction was winning an award for best profit increase three quarters in a row. Now, I can look over my week and count how many animals I helped find new homes. Saving a life is far more rewarding than winning an award for a sales accomplishment.
If you are retired or semi-retired and would like to put your talents to work while supporting a great cause, look into volunteering your time at a non-profit organization. I may be biased, but my choice would be the Halifax Humane Society. We are in desperate need of staff, and until we can secure new employees, we need volunteers who are ready, willing, and able to help us care for the animals.
If you can’t come to the shelter due to transportation issues or lack of mobility, consider becoming a foster parent for one of the homeless animals. We have many cats that need a loving home, if only for a few weeks until they can find their forever home.
Many people ask, “What type of tasks would I be doing as a volunteer?” There is quite a list, but some opportunities include cleaning kennels, washing bowls, doing laundry, socializing cats, dog walking, and administrative tasks like filing, shredding, stuffing, etc. We receive lots of donations each week, and we are so thankful for the kindness of our supporters, but we need help sorting through the donations and then getting the items to the proper areas. Cans of dog food sitting in an unopened box don’t do any good for the hungry dogs or us. Staff will get to opening the boxes, but the process would be much faster if a volunteer could provide some assistance.
Some people take home the collateral items needed for adoption folders and stuff the folders at home while watching television or visiting with neighbors. If a volunteer can stuff 100 folders, that is 100 less an adoption counselor needs to stuff while also trying to assist 10-20 customers wanting to adopt.
Volunteers are vital to our operation. We could never survive without our volunteers, and we thank them for their support. Recently, a volunteer helping in the cat room decided to quit because she felt the organization didn’t appreciate her. She was thanked publicly on social media several times, yet she thought she deserved more recognition. If you want to volunteer, please do so for the animals, not for the glory. You will be very much appreciated even if no one tells you that regularly. If you want to volunteer to be recognized, then you are volunteering for the wrong reason. We do have an annual Volunteer Appreciate Dinner, and that is when we show our thanks and praise our volunteers. To volunteer for Halifax Humane Society, visit our website at www.halifaxhumane society.org and click on the Get Involved tab at the top of the home page. Complete the volunteer application, and we will be in contact. Or, just come in and say, “I want to help! Where do you want me?” We will be happy for your assistance.
Lastly, remember, adopt, don’t shop.
Barry KuKes is the Community Outreach Director for the Halifax Humane Society. You can reach Barry at 386. 274.4703, ext. 320, or BarryK@halifax humanesociety.org