You know what really grinds my gears? After explaining the needs and struggles of the animal rescue world, people will respond saying, “I wish I could help.” Like what the heck is that? You wish you could help? It bothers me because there is no “wishing” when it comes to helping out – you either help or you don’t – it’s that simple.
Sure, you may not be in a financial spot to donate dollars but that doesn’t mean you can’t contribute. Trying to lose weight? Skip the gym and walk a rescue dog in your area. Have some free time on your hands? Offer to run errands. Need to wear out your own dog? Invite a dog up for adoption over for a puppy play date. Trying to declutter your home? Donate all of your old towels and sheets.
Another way people can contribute to animal rescues and other non-profits, is to use your connections. Does your company offer grants for 501c3 organizations? If so, let us know and send the contact information as well as the application. Is your mom a vet? GET US A DISCOUNT (even if it’s just a one-time thing!). Is your best friend a marketing wiz? Help us spread the word of our cause.
Some people even use their skill set to help us out. Professional photographers can take pictures so that the dogs look more “adoptable.” Local businesses can donate their services to be used as prizes in a silent auction fundraiser. Web designers can help us with the rescue website. Seriously, the list goes on and on.
I would definitely like to point out that volunteer work isn’t usually all that “fun.” It’s an inconvenience, it’s out of your daily routine, and a lot of times you’re just not in the mood. I get it, really, I do. However, if you take a step back and look at the whole picture, you’ll realize that YOU are making things happen; because of YOU, animals are being saved. Not to mention that you can invite a friend/child/significant other to help out with the good doing. How will you set the example?
Another pet peeve of mine are the people that point out problems, yet do not help with the solution. “All you have to do is blah blah blah blah and you’ll be way more successful.” “You know what you should do? [Insert task here that takes tons of money, time, and energy here.]” I usually just nod my head and smile at these remarks. If you genuinely believe that you have a brilliant idea for the rescue – then do it all yourself and pass along the proceeds, ok? Just a heads up for those who “think” they know how to operate things, I can assure you that you don’t. There is no business plan with non-profits, specifically animal rescue. You can plan and plan and plan and plan, and I guarantee you’ll end up doing the opposite of whatever you originally thought you were going to do; everyone you were depending on won’t show up and the credit card you brought will be declined. So the next time you want to offer a non-profit a suggestion, make sure you have the tools, time, leadership skills, and cash flow to see the project through.
I have to admit, to those of you who truly help, I thank you. Thank you for putting up with the most disgusting, overwhelming, and ugliest of tasks. I find it so odd that the people that seem to help the most are students in school, people juggling more than one job, and those facing financial challenges. The people who already have a hectic schedule are generally repeat helper-outers; these are the ones that don’t complain, the ones that bend over backwards, the ones that are truly invested, the ones that want to see change. Not once do these volunteers “wish” they could do something, they just do it.
I hope this rant opens a few pairs of eyes. Yes, my goal here is to spark animal advocacy within our society instead of just waiting around for someone else to do it. Believe it or not though, I hope you can pick up on the bigger picture. Not trying to sound cliché, but if you “wish away” the problems, they never really disappear. So start doing something now.
Written by Alicia Williams, Founder of Eunoia Rescue