A lot of public safety agencies have difficulties when it comes to resources and must find ways to make things work. In between the lack of funds, needed equipment, and manpower, volunteers provide the assistance required to ease these challenges.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Animal Control’s Lori Todd joins Justice Clearinghouse to discuss working with animal services volunteers. Lori has been with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Animal Control since 1996. She started as an Animal Control Officer and is currently serving as the Volunteer and Event Supervisor.
Details of this webinar include:
- Volunteers: Their varied backgrounds and their value for many public sector organizations.
- The volunteer supervisor’s roles in terms of bridging the volunteers and the agency, guiding the volunteers through application, and overseeing their work.
- Getting to know the two types of volunteers that tend to exist in the animal services environment.
- The tame volunteers who are participative, dedicated, and passionate about animal welfare and volunteering.
- The feral volunteers who aren’t as involved but consistently show up and get the job done.
- The strengths of each type and how they can work within the organization.
- Planning volunteer operations while also being prepared should the plan be derailed and immediately adapting and changing the course as needed.
- The importance of picking the right person for the job.
- The value of sense of humor in an industry that deals with unfortunate incidents and ideas to integrate sense of humor while also commending volunteers’ contributions.
- Communication: Its importance to get volunteers on the same page, and the multiple channels to use to ensure that everyone receives these.
- The volunteer supervisor’s duty to motivate the volunteers while also remaining motivated him/herself.
- Practicing patience when working with volunteers and how an FAQ page or handout that answers the most common questions from the volunteers can help with maintaining one’s patience.
- The importance of giving the volunteers attention and showing appreciation which are free and effective ways to keep them engaged with the organization.
- Tips on where to find and how to recruit volunteers for your agency.
- Best practice when handling volunteers that may not necessarily be a fit with your agency.
- More tips when working in the animal service profession highlighting the importance of optimism, confidence, being self-motivated, having fun, and constantly learning.
Topics raised during the Q&A were about:
- Mistakes and lessons learned when managing volunteers.
- Handling and ending gossip.
- The feedback loop between the organization and the volunteers.
- The number of volunteers Lori works with and the onboarding process.
- Ensuring that everyone is recognized, and no one feels left out.
- Supervising burnt-out volunteers and the length of time that they’re allowed to have a break.
- Managing volunteers amidst COVID restrictions.
- Volunteer tracking software being used.
- Conditions for individuals who must do volunteer work as community service through the court system.
Other Webinars in this Series Include:
- Recruiting the Next Generation to Your Agency
- Staycations and Daycations – Building Short Term Foster Programs
- Building and Maintaining a Productive, High Volume Fostering Program
- The Care, Nurturing and Enrichment of Tame & Feral Volunteers (this webinar)
Resources and Handouts
- Youtube Video (Planning)
- The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement Learning Center
- Association of Leaders in Volunteer Engagement
- Handout: Cat Volunteer Interaction Sheet
- Handout: Introducing a New Dog into Your Household
- Handout: Reading Canine Body Language
- Handout: Staycation Waiver
- Handout: Staycation “Postcard”/Report card
- Handout: Dogs on the Run Guidelines
- Handout: Adoption Cat/Kitten Upfront Ad
- Handout: Volunteer Character Reference Worksheet
- Handout: Volunteer Employment History Check
- Handout: Volunteer Group Visits
- Handout: Fostering Application
- “People return to where they are appreciated!” Reinforcing the value of volunteer appreciation.” — Lisa
- “Lori is fantastic! She is a wonderful presenter; I hung onto her every word and the time flew by. I could have been engaged for another two hours! I really learned a lot…” — Susan D.
- “Entertaining and informative. Good job.” — Susan