Take Advantage of the Recession: Empty Storefronts and Underemployed Professionals Can Help Homeless Pets

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As the recession drags on, animal shelters and rescues are looking for new fundraising and adoption ideas. Try taking advantage of the recession to help homeless pets. Here are a few ideas on ways to do this:

Do you see vacant storefronts all over your community? Talk to the landlord/owner of these buildings about using these vacant spaces for a reduced cost or maybe even free.

Set up a pet food bank in these spaces
Conduct weekend pet adoption events
Use the facility as a temporary kennel / boarding area for overflowing shelters
Set up a thrift store to sell donated items to benefit local shelters and rescue groups
Conduct weekend garage sales and / or flea markets

Several animal shelters or rescues could work together in approaching these landlords and setting up events. Any landlord offering space to help homeless pets would get a public relations boost. Ask your local newspaper to write a news story about it.

Note: You will need to check out licensing / permit requirements before proceeding with using empty storefronts for these purposes.

Many professionals, such as accountants, web design companies, graphic arts professionals, advertising firms, lawyers, marketing consultants, etc., have a reduced workload due to the economy. Animal shelters and rescue groups can take advantage of this downtime by asking for volunteer help. So how could you reach them?

If your local newspaper publishes a “volunteers needed” section, ask for help there. Ask a feature writer of your local paper, perhaps one who writes about pets, to write an article about the help you need. Contact professional organizations, such as the local bar association, about placing a small ad in their newsletter.

Be specific in asking for the help you need. If you need help from a website designer, do you need a whole new design or just help setting up an online store? If you’re specific, possible volunteers will understand how much time is needed.

Volunteering for nonprofits can often lead to compensated work when the volunteers start to network with other people. I’ve seen news stories detailing how volunteers have found full time work after networking with the board members or friends group of a nonprofit.

If someone does pro bono work for your shelter or rescue, acknowledge that contribution in your newsletter, your website, etc., so other animal lovers know who helped and may pay these professionals for those services when needed.

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