Making an impact in animal welfare requires wishful thinking, clearly defined action steps, evaluation of results and a whole lot of passion! It’s best to have a yearly objective with monthly goals and specific action steps you and your team are accountable to.
This month's "At A Glance" calendar.
This month's "To Do" lists with weekly tasks to ensure efficient time management and schedule streamlining.
This comprehensive 45+ page pdf workbook is a 3 step outline to help evaluate, discuss, implement and track quantifiable goals. It is broken down into workbook sections to encourage a dedication to each before jumping ahead. You will get the best use of this workbook completing the parts as they are directed, however, as part of yearly planning, if you are looking to address key parts of your organization, you can work through single sections. Read more about each strategy planning section below!
Your BRANDING is your promise to your support community. It explains to them visually, verbally and physically what standard of care they can expect to experience from your organization. Branding is often associated with tangible items - your brand is your service to the community, your adoptables, your mission plus the actions you take to align with it and most importantly, the way outsiders feel welcomed into and valued as a part of your community.
Brand Strategy is critical as the public's awareness of Animal Rescue is associated with large scale brand messaging of extremely sad, abused and the most extreme neglect cases combined with a plea for money. This is not EVERY organization's brand and it's important to determine if this aligns with you and if it does not, proactive steps need to be taken to differentiate yourself.
Your SOCIAL MEDIA strategy is a plan, a mix of ideas, a purpose and a valuable tool to help you track goal momentum and achievement.
Social Media marketing requires a well defined understanding of your audience (your potential supporters), what they are looking for on your platform, how their needs align with your mission and how you ultimately attract them to become loyal supporters that take action to help your overall goals.
For Animal Rescue organizations, social media platforms serve as a Virtual Facility where everyone has easy access to see, interact with and feel connected to the animals in your care. This connectedness creates dedication and ignites others aligned with your organization to adopt, volunteer, donate and/or create a conversation that draws new supporters your way.
Your RETENTION STRATEGY is the plan you have in place specifically intended to reduce turnover of volunteers, adopters, donors and social sharing followers by maintaining an engaging and mutually beneficial relationship with your support community.
Not for Profit organizations normally focus heavily on "Donor Stewardship." This is generally the act or actions of maintaining high-quality relationships with high-quality donors. This is an extremely important factor for Corporate or Philanthropic supporters as you want to foster a long-term relationship with them. Donor Stewardship is important and is deserving of attention.
By comparison, "Retention" focuses on EVERY person that contributes to the growth and success of your organization in every other way (volunteering, social sharing, small scale financial donations, fostering, adopting, etc). It also focuses on continual, non-invasive recruitment to motivate those who have not yet or are on the cusp of becoming a loyal supporter.
Consider this as an example: A one time donation of $5,000 is just as valuable as several donors contributing a total of $400 a month for 12 months. As an organization, you do not want to lose the large scale, one time donor or those giving what they can every month and/or often. In addition, a volunteer that is not able to contribute financially that offers herself to the care of your animals 20 hours a week, every week should feel just as valued as a large scale, one time donor. The bottom line is, the goal is to keep EVERYONE feeling valued and appreciated equally so they all feel compelled to continue offering their value to your organization.
Your GOALS STRATEGY involves a very specific action plan designed to motivate and guide leaders and volunteers to achieve that goal. Goal Setting is a major component of personal growth and organizational development.
Especially in Animal Rescue, often the "goal" is too vague and volunteers, donors, leaders - they tap out emotionally feeling there is never an end in sight and their efforts are futile. "Saving every animal" or "stopping animal abuse" is far from achievable in the next year. Everyone in animal rescue is passionate to make a change - but that passion runs out and can actually become harmful to mental/emotional health when actions are not appearing to be yielding results. It is critical for goals to be broken down into quantifiable, actionable and achievable results.
Goal Strategies consider every facet of your organization, what you want to result from them, comparing it to what you are resulting currently and determining how, exactly, to close the gap between the two.
Your ACTION PLAN is the focus of closing the "gap" discussing in Goal Strategies. This is the critical thinking and brainstorming part of the strategic planning process.
The "Action Plan" is where most get lost/frustrated/give up - and that makes sense because this is the part that forces everyone to put their ego and grievances aside and relearn how to work together to achieve goals. It often requires "restructuring" which is hard for an organization if EVERYONE isn't willing to accept the new policies and procedures and align with the goal plan.
The Action Plan takes "where you want to be" from the Goal Strategies and focus on what immediate action steps can be taken to get you closer to where you want to be. The focus will be on action steps that can be implemented immediately vs. longer term. There will not be a "in 5 years" - you will focus solely on what you can accomplish in the next month, reevaluating every month to have you 100% more successful within a year. And every single year, you re-evaluate.
Your PROGRESS TRACKING is one of the most critical pieces for leaders. Progress tracking forces accountability - it looks at who is responsible for which action and what was the result of that action effort.
In addition, Progress Tracking and Reporting offers motivation and sparks intrinsic value and self worth for volunteers especially if used as a teambuilding tool (it should NEVER be used as a means to devalue or demean.)
Every month, progress tracking asks the following:
1. Was each player completing the tasks they were assigned? If not, are they replaced or is the action re-evaluated.
2. Where did (specific action) start, what was the result - did this meet the goal? If yes, up the effort, if no, why SPECIFICALLY not?
3. What NEW actions need to be taken for the following month to make reaching a goal successful?
4. What NEW actions need to be taken for the following month to make re-evaluated/new goals successful?
5. How will you show appreciation for goals achieved to your team?