Saturday, August 16, 2008

SPCA Saturday - Volunteering at the SPCA

Hi, everyone! I've been inspired to do an "SPCA Saturday" by Wally (, who generously allows his ma ape to go to the local SPCA on Saturdays and post photos/descriptions of dogs there waiting for their furever home.

I'm not going to do it exactly the way Wally does it, but I really love the idea of a weekly post about the SPCA, rescue issues, etc. So here's the first one!

This is Volunteering at the SPCA. It is aimed at our local community, but a lot of what I write holds true wherever a dog is.

Volunteering at the SPCA isn't necessarily what people think. Or at least, it's not all that people think.

The usual picture that people have is cleaning kennels and walking dogs. It's true, those are important jobs that volunteers do. However, there are many, very different ways to contribute and help the animals.

Obviously, raising money is another crucial role. The BCSPCA gets no money from either the federal or provincial governments to fulfil the responsibilities we have been given (by the provincial government!) under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. The City of Kamloops has provided $30,000 to us for the past three years, but this is just a small proportion of the cost of caring for, and acting on behalf of, the animals. (The need to raise money is always an issue, wherever your non-profit, humane organization is located.)

So we need people to help us fundraise. People who can "ask" for donations are always needed! But there is a LOT more to it!

We need people to help plan special events, as well as to volunteer at those events. This includes working at information booths, helping at registration, taking care of VIPs, and every other role you can imagine.

But the opportunities don't stop there! There is often data entry to do, telephone calls to make, volunteers to orient, animals to foster in your home, and LAUNDRY to do!

We also have different working groups that take on special projects. These can include planning public relations campaigns, speaking to stakeholders and community members, putting together informational display boards, organizing shelter tours and classroom visits, humane education, and recruiting new volunteers.

You can write an article or story for our newsletter, or help us put the whole thing together. You can serve on our Community Council, which oversees all of the volunteer and program aspects of our branch, making plans and putting them into action.

As you can see, there are roles at the SPCA for everyone! Many people tell me that they "couldn't" volunteer at the SPCA because they would be too sad and hurt to see all the animals we care for. But the beautiful thing is that you can give in ways to help the animals, without having to be on the front lines. Every role is important -- we all work together, each in our own special way, to improve the lives of animals in our community. Everyone can contribute, and the animals benefit from it all!

So, like I said above, a lot of these roles are going to exist in any non-profit, humane organization. I'm familiar with all of them, so if any of you are wondering what "humane education" is or something else I've referred to, let me know and I'll explain more!

I think the most important thing to realize is that you *can* help, no matter what your skills are. Even if you need to protect your heart from working with the animals (which I completely understand), there are tons of ways to volunteer that never involves actually going in to the shelter. And like I wrote, the animals get the benefit of all of our individual contributions!

1 comment:

wally said...

Hi Dannan and the Girl! It is very nice of you to share your human. Our SPCA used to be run by a guy who didn't want to have volunteers for logistical/liability reasons--crazy! But the new director is really cool and they are getting tons of volunteers that help with office stuff and walking dogs and things. My ma ape loves walking them but she wants to bring them ALL home! So far only one has followed her...

wally t.