Speaker at Best Friends National Conference with slide featuring a map of the United States

Learn more during Deep-Dive Day

Join us before the conference for Deep-Dive Day to learn from some of the top leaders and professionals in animal welfare. When you register for Deep-Dive Day, you’ll choose one topic from a list of six and attend a full day of intensives focused on your chosen topic. You don’t have to attend the conference to attend Deep-Dive Day, but conference attendees do get a discount.

  • Date: Wednesday, July 6
  • Time: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. EST with a 12:40 –1:30 p.m. break for lunch. (Please be prepared to provide your own lunch.)
  • Location: Raleigh Convention Center (All sessions on your chosen topic will be presented in the same room at the convention center.)
  • Registration fee: $50 for conference attendees, $75 for non-conference attendees
  • Check-in: 8–9 a.m. (If you’re attending the conference, you’ll receive your conference badge upon check-in.)

Conference attendees can add Deep-Dive Day at the time of conference registration or sign up later. If you are not attending the conference but would like to attend Deep-Dive Day, please choose “Deep-Dive Day only” at the beginning of the registration process. The Deep-Dive Day sessions have limited capacity, so we encourage you to sign up soon if you’re interested in attending. 

All sessions in this agenda have been approved for NACA CEUs. Best Friends is also an approved provider of content which enhances professional competence and aligns with the CAWA Exam specifications.

Register for Deep-Dive Day

Deep-Dive Day topics and sessions

Business Side of Saving Animals
Dynamic Rescue Solutions
Essential Field Services (in partnership with NACA)
Executive Leadership
High-Impact Community Engagement
Sustainable Fundraising

Business Side of Saving Animals

Whether you’re leading a small nonprofit or managing a large government-run shelter, running a business is part of your job. Need a better sense of smart accounting practices, legal compliance and liability? Want to know how successful shelters and rescue groups approach workplace culture? From implementing and evaluating new programs to shaping staff recruitment and retention, this Deep-Dive Day is designed for managers and leaders who want to sharpen operations at any type of animal welfare organization.

9:00 a.m. – 9:10 a.m.

Welcome

9:10 a.m. – 9:55 a.m.

Business Side of Saving Animals: 9:10 a.m. – 9:55 a.m.

Simply appealing to someone’s passion for animals and commitment to saving them is not enough to attract and retain staff and volunteers. If we want to foster a better environment and quality of life for animals in our care, we have to do the same for the people who care for them. This session walks you through how to create a positive workplace culture for your organization and touches on a range of steps you can take and ideas you can use, including team huddles, robust orientations, and clear paths for career development and advancement.

Speaker(s):
Lawrence Nicolas

10:05 a.m. – 10:50 a.m.

Business Side of Saving Animals: 10:05 a.m. – 10:50 a.m.

Using resources more effectively and cutting organizational costs may not be as fun to talk about as big-dog marketing strategies or newborn kitten care, but being good at both is exactly what helps you do more of those fun, lifesaving things. In this session, we’ll look at the how and why behind everything we do as a way of assessing how efficiently we’re working. We’ll discuss how to reduce waste and do more with less, plus we’ll highlight how to improve fundraising by carefully examining the costs associated with supporting it. Come spend some time digging into an often overlooked but essential component of the work we’re doing to save more pets.

Speaker(s):
Sheryl Blancato

11:00 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.

Business Side of Saving Animals: 11:00 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.

People who dedicate themselves to saving pets in need and managing animal rescue organizations rarely have time on their hands, so it’s no surprise if you also rarely have time to think about pesky responsibilities like bookkeeping and tax returns. But you really do need to, and there’s a simple and efficient way to do it. This session provides a user-friendly seven-point accounting checklist that management teams of any size can use to keep their organizations on track and in the clear financially. We’ll talk about fraud, independent contractors, sales tax, donations, audits and more.

Speaker(s):
Joshua Pollack

11:55 a.m. – 12:40 p.m.

Business Side of Saving Animals: 11:55 a.m. – 12:40 p.m.

When you work with animals, safety should be a key component of everything you do. Damage and injuries, whether they are physical, emotional or financial, can negatively impact an organization, individual staff and volunteers, and individual animals. In this session, we’ll discuss how to develop organizational safety awareness, understand the cost of an injury, use data to make improvements, perform a root cause analysis and create a safety mission statement. You’ll walk away with simple, successful approaches to creating a culture of safety while increasing your lifesaving impact.

Speaker(s):
Donna Done

1:30 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.

Business Side of Saving Animals: 1:30 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.

Have you ever been told (or said), “We can"t do that because of liability”? Liability for organizations that care for and adopt out animals is a legitimate concern, but it’s often misunderstood and misused to the detriment of programming and lifesaving. In this session, we’ll develop your liability savvy by covering the key components of waivers, disclosures, contracts and contract language. We’ll talk about what you should consider including or excluding and answer frequently asked questions about liability in animal welfare. Come learn how to find and use professional help to protect your organization while still increasing adoptions, expanding your foster network and opportunities, and boosting your community engagement.

Speaker(s):
Susan Cosby, Rebecca Huss

2:25 p.m. – 3:10 p.m.

Business Side of Saving Animals: 2:25 p.m. – 3:10 p.m.

Loss and grief are inherent to sharing our lives with pets and working in animal welfare. So, it’s critical to learn how to anticipate and manage those emotional experiences and cultivate a healthy space for our passion. PAWS Pathway represents our path through pet love and loss, and through it we can better understand our emotions and actions and learn to accept and embrace our grief. In this session, we’ll talk about ways to offer better grief support for both staff and clients, anticipatory pet-loss approaches for senior pet and hospice-oriented groups, how to monitor quality of life for aging pets, and more.

Speaker(s):
Anna McClain

3:20 p.m. – 4:05 p.m.

Business Side of Saving Animals: 3:20 p.m. – 4:05 p.m.

Recruiting and retaining great employees can make or break your organization. And it’s becoming increasingly challenging for nonprofits, especially for animal welfare groups that are experiencing staff burnout and shortages in record numbers. In this session, we’ll discuss quick, creative, low-cost strategies to attract and hire quality applicants and ensure legal compliance. Plus, you’ll learn key retention strategies that can improve staff morale and engagement while limiting attrition and managing costs.

Speaker(s):
Mary Beth Hartleb

4:15 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Business Side of Saving Animals: 4:15 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

This might sound a little obvious, but let’s say it anyway: The animals can’t save themselves; people are the ones who do that. And yet so much of our busy workday involves intense focus on the animals in our care, with little thought or time devoted to the various groups of people in our organizations and communities who make saving those animals possible. This session is a deep dive into the concept of organizational culture. We’ll introduce tools for maximizing the passion and potential of our people, and we’ll connect the dots between culture and lifesaving to explore their interdependent nature. You’ll leave inspired to begin your own journey toward creating a sustainable, healthy work environment and a blueprint for maximizing culture where you are.

Speaker(s):
Jose Ocano, Erika Westbay

Dynamic Rescue Solutions

When it comes to animal rescue organizations, two things will always be true: (1) They’re essential to our communities and (2) the roles they need to play are constantly changing. Whether you’re leading an established organization with a brick-and-mortar facility in a major city, operating a scrappy mobile spay/neuter group in a rural county with no animal services, or anything in between, it’s critical to understand what successful rescue groups are doing and how they stay nimble and responsive to lifesaving needs. This Deep-Dive Day is crafted for decision-makers at animal rescue organizations of all sizes and types, and in any location.

9:00 a.m. – 9:10 a.m.

Welcome

9:10 a.m. – 9:55 a.m.

Dynamic Rescue Solutions: 9:10 a.m. – 9:55 a.m.

Over the last decade, animal shelters around the country have transformed many (and in some cases, all) of their programs and policies to save more lives. Alongside those transformations, rescue groups and other lifesaving organizations seized new opportunities to collaborate with their local shelters and support more pets in their communities. In this rescue-minded session, you’ll learn how to evaluate your community’s current needs, look for new opportunities for partnership, and engage with shelters and others to expedite foster and adoption placement. We’ll discuss how to work with your local shelter’s intake diversion and pet retention programs, how to gather helpful information from pet owners considering surrender, and how to engage in effective adoption counseling for harder-to-place pets.

Speaker(s):
Angela Rovetto, Karen Parker

10:05 a.m. – 10:50 a.m.

Dynamic Rescue Solutions: 10:05 a.m. – 10:50 a.m.

One of the impactful things you can do as a lifesaving organization is to realize that you are crafting a lifesaving narrative. Every decision you make, every email or social media post you write, every moment of engagement that you have with the public, every animal you help: All of these things work together to shape your organizational story and how the public feels about it. Using the lyrics of Belle and Sebastian’s song “Storytelling” as a framework, we’ll talk about how much weight and consequence our day-to-day actions can have, how to appeal to both the head and heart through our work, and how to effectively connect our audience to our lifesaving goals.

Speaker(s):
Jeani Derrough, Gia Perrett

11:00 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.

Dynamic Rescue Solutions: 11:00 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.

Our rescue organizations are all about the animals, but people are our greatest asset. The purpose of this session is to highlight the skills needed to identify and correct any unconscious bias that could be undermining our lifesaving success. When we acknowledge and account for unconscious bias, we can facilitate stronger relationships among staff and volunteers as well as between our organizations and the communities we serve. In this session, we’ll work together to identify our organizations’ strengths and opportunities and learn techniques to help mitigate the influence of unconscious bias.

Speaker(s):
Katherine Sandberg

11:55 a.m. – 12:40 p.m.

Dynamic Rescue Solutions: 11:55 a.m. – 12:40 p.m.

Developing and implementing a marketing strategy is an essential part of any organization’s success, but creating a thoughtful, cohesive marketing plan often eludes nonprofits. While strategic planning can feel overwhelming, there are some very simple techniques and tips you can use to map out an effective plan and create some marketing magic. In this session, we’ll discuss how to identify your organization’s marketing assets and how to incorporate your board and volunteers into marketing efforts. Plus, we’ll walk through some exercises to help you focus your time, ideas and budget to increase engagement and donations.

Speaker(s):
Nicole Krug

1:30 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.

Dynamic Rescue Solutions: 1:30 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.

Over the past decade, the number of community-based rescue organizations operating in British Columbia has increased from around 70 groups to nearly 300. And while more organizations working to save and support pets is a good thing, the sharp uptick in groups combined with an increasing number of negative interactions with the public has resulted in some not-so-great media coverage and poor public trust in rescue groups overall. In response, Paws for Hope Animal Foundation initiated the development of the Animal Welfare Advisory Network of BC. In this session, we’ll talk about the creation of the Rescue Standards of Practice and Accreditation Program and see how other regions can use this model to increase professionalism and public confidence in the animal rescue industry.   

Speaker(s):
Kathy Powelson

2:25 p.m. – 3:10 p.m.

Dynamic Rescue Solutions: 2:25 p.m. – 3:10 p.m.

The adoption process is the part of our lifesaving work that tugs at our heartstrings and keeps us up at night at the same time. It’s critical to connect with potential adopters and get pets in need into homes, but it can be easy to assign so much weight to the process that we undermine our own efforts. In this session, we’ll outline how to create an efficient, effective adoption process that increases our lifesaving capacity, fosters strong relationships with the community and helps more pets. We’ll zoom in on adoption applications and the applicant review process, look at common barriers that we unintentionally create, and explore underlying fears that might be stifling the process and doing a disservice to the pets in our care (e.g., fear of a pet being returned). We’ll also touch on implementing an annual review process and getting volunteers excited about change. 

Speaker(s):
Jackie Roach

3:20 p.m. – 4:05 p.m.

Dynamic Rescue Solutions: 3:20 p.m. – 4:05 p.m.

What happens when a small rural community shelter with no brick-and-mortar facility recruits more than 170 new foster homes and rolls out large-scale transports to get at-risk cats and dogs to them? A whole lotta lifesaving magic! This deep-dive session highlights Souris Valley Animal Shelter’s innovative strategies for building a robust foster program that includes critical foster-to-adopt and transport-to-adopt components. The lessons learned from this lifesaving effort will be useful to shelters and rescue groups of any type and size. 

Speaker(s):
Shelbi Waters

4:15 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Dynamic Rescue Solutions: 4:15 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

We all want to build big, fabulous foster programs that help double our lifesaving capacity and engage more members of our community. So, how exactly do we do that while supporting and retaining our foster volunteers throughout the year? This deep-dive session provides tools and resources to help you grow and maintain your foster network while increasing the number of animals you can help. Learn how to use engagement and transparency to cultivate a sense of community and get a simple step-by-step process for implementing your own program. 

Speaker(s):
Julie Lessard, Juli Olson

Essential Field Services (in partnership with NACA)

Serving as an animal services officer means one thing: Be prepared for everything. From recovering hard-to-catch dogs and cats in the field and handling horses to providing good customer service and responding to emergencies, today’s animal control officers must be ready for any encounter, either the animal or the human kind. This Deep-Dive Day is designed for animal services officers and leaders who want to sharpen their skills, develop their professional expertise and be effective representatives of their departments’ work in the communities they serve.

9:00 a.m. – 9:10 a.m.

Welcome

9:10 a.m. – 9:55 a.m.

Essential Field Services (in partnership with NACA): 9:10 a.m. – 9:55 a.m.

Officer safety is a top priority for every animal services department, and equipping officers with effective animal handling techniques is one of the primary ways to ensure their safety. In this practical session, you’ll learn the knowledge and skills you need as an officer to safely and humanely capture and transport animals you encounter while on duty. We’ll review body language (both our own and the animals’), field equipment and proper use, appropriate techniques for challenging situations such as multiple confined dogs and specific examples of aggression, the correct technique for loading a dog on a catch pole into a vehicle, and more.

Speaker(s):
Nick Walton

10:05 a.m. – 10:50 a.m.

Essential Field Services (in partnership with NACA): 10:05 a.m. – 10:50 a.m.

Traditionally, animal control dispatch has been treated as a simple two-step process: Collect some information over the phone and send an officer into the field. In today’s modern dispatch programs, the work is seen as more complex and multi-dimensional, focusing on proactive problem-solving and a more strategic approach to handling call volume and shelter intake. It’s an approach that acknowledges the lifesaving and community engagement potential left untapped by the more traditional process. Designed for anyone taking or managing calls in field services, this deep-dive session will cover best practices for customer service, radio use and priorities, information collection and problem-solving via dispatch, and tips and tricks for handling common complaint calls.  

Speaker(s):
Anna Walton

11:00 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.

Essential Field Services (in partnership with NACA): 11:00 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.

Today, animal control officers are playing a major role in reducing shelter intake by identifying lost and stray dogs in the field and returning them to their homes rather than bringing them to the shelter. But too often, officers stop looking for the owner once they’ve determined that the animal has no ID tag or microchip, when in fact there’s much more they can do. In this session, we’ll highlight successful cases from animal services agencies across the country that have significantly increased their field return-to-owner (RTO) rate for animals without obvious identification. Come learn everything you need to know to implement an aggressive and effective field RTO program at your own agency.  

Speaker(s):
Nick Walton

11:55 a.m. – 12:40 p.m.

Essential Field Services (in partnership with NACA): 11:55 a.m. – 12:40 p.m.

Although horses are considered livestock, they are at the same risk for experiencing neglect and cruelty as the dogs and cats in our communities. As animal services officers, we’re often not equipped with the knowledge and experience needed to address equine cases confidently and effectively when they arise. In this session, we’ll review equine handling and husbandry, feeding, farrier care and basic veterinary care to empower you to identify potential neglect. You’ll learn how to spot red flags when assessing or entering a property and get tips for handling these cases in ways that do not require removing the horses from their homes.  

Speaker(s):
Jennifer Federico

1:30 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.

Essential Field Services (in partnership with NACA): 1:30 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.

Every day, our animal services departments are collecting tons of related data, such as service call types and details, locations, ZIP codes, number of available officers and shift schedules. However, we rarely use all that information to our advantage. This deep-dive session tackles how to identify your community’s animal services hot spots and needs using data visualization tools and techniques. We’ll cover available data platforms and software, including no-cost options; walk attendees through a live demonstration; and explain how to use that data strategically to implement lifesaving solutions in the communities we serve.  

Speaker(s):
Tom Pierre, Scott Giacoppo

2:25 p.m. – 3:10 p.m.

Essential Field Services (in partnership with NACA): 2:25 p.m. – 3:10 p.m.

While most of us who work in animal welfare happily call ourselves “animal people,” many of us struggle with the equally important “people people” component of our work. The reality is that working well with and helping people is how we help more animals. This session will tackle the people-centric elements of our work and will provide concrete tools and techniques to help animal welfare professionals hone their people skills and achieve their lifesaving goals. You’ll leave with an understanding of the direct and unmistakable connection between better customer service and the mission of helping animals, plus action steps for how to prioritize that as an organization.

Speaker(s):
Inga Fricke

3:20 p.m. – 4:05 p.m.

Essential Field Services (in partnership with NACA): 3:20 p.m. – 4:05 p.m.

It’s a familiar story: Too few officers, scarce resources, limited training opportunities and an endless call log. Historically and unfortunately, animal services as a field has been defined by the imbalance between its resources and responsibilities coupled with the feeling that nothing will ever change for the better as a result. In this deep-dive session, we’ll show you that things can change, even with minimal resources, when we apply effective problem-solving techniques to our daily field work. You’ll learn how to move away from simply reacting to individual calls and instead pursue innovative, proactive solutions to common problems related to pets and other animals in the community.  

Speaker(s):
Scott Giacoppo, April Moore

4:15 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Essential Field Services (in partnership with NACA): 4:15 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Emergency preparedness should be a cornerstone of any animal services operational plan. In this session, we’ll provide an overview of the basics of emergency preparedness for animal welfare organizations and review the structure for Community Animal Response Teams (CART). You’ll learn how to identify potential threats and the resources needed for community and personal preparedness, taking into consideration the COVID-19 environment, and review the Incident Command System (ICS) and what to include in local emergency operation plans. This is a great session for anyone new to preparing for disasters.

Speaker(s):
Jennifer Toussaint

Executive Leadership

Leading an animal welfare organization today requires phenomenal leaders who love new challenges, think strategically and embrace change. Using your organizational mission as your guiding star and pushing the envelope on policy issues are a must. Effectively implementing and assessing new programming while creating a safe work environment for staff is essential. Working successfully with your board members and thinking about how to set up your organization for success if you move on are also critical. All these things require professional knowledge, skill and a hefty dose of scrappiness. This Deep-Dive Day is designed for both current and aspiring animal welfare leaders.

9:00 a.m. – 9:10 a.m.

Welcome

9:10 a.m. – 9:55 a.m.

Executive Leadership: 9:10 a.m. – 9:55 a.m.

The last two years have left many shelters with staffing shortages, budget challenges and some rather difficult decisions to make. So, when we need to find ways to do more with less, how do we decide what to scale down or cut out and how to address the resulting gaps? In this session, we’ll discuss how to use your organizational mission and data to guide thoughtful decision-making in tough times. We’ll walk through how to analyze your programs with the goal of determining what to keep, what to hit “pause” on and what to cut. You’ll also learn how to engage potential partners in your community to help fill some of those gaps.

Speaker(s):
Denise Deisler

10:05 a.m. – 10:50 a.m.

Executive Leadership: 10:05 a.m. – 10:50 a.m.

Laws and policies related to community cats can differ dramatically from one state to the next, from one county to the next, and even from one city to the next. This session provides an overview of potential legal barriers and workarounds for implementing successful cat lifesaving programs in your community. Learn how to identify and resolve any potential issues in an effective, community-minded manner, no matter what area of the country you live in.

Speaker(s):
Richard Angelo

11:00 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.

Executive Leadership: 11:00 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.

Have you ever thought about what might happen if and when you decide to step down from your current leadership role? Have you built a solid foundation for the organization to stand on when you’re gone, or is it a house of cards that only you can keep in place? The survival of a nonprofit organization should not be dependent on current senior leadership. Despite this fact, many shelter directors and similar leaders in animal welfare become indispensable to the point of unintentionally putting the organization’s advancement at risk. In this session, we’ll talk about what it means to future-proof your organization and the steps you should be taking now to ensure that your nonprofit will survive and thrive long after you’re gone (even if you think you’ll never leave).

Speaker(s):
Stephanie Muller-Simpson

11:55 a.m. – 12:40 p.m.

Executive Leadership: 11:55 a.m. – 12:40 p.m.

One of the most damaging impediments to progress for any organization is this oh-so-familiar refrain: “It’s how we’ve always done it.” Our natural inclination to stay with what is safe and familiar is understandable, but it’s also likely to destroy any hope for creating necessary change. When we become complacent, we stop learning, we stop being curious, we stop innovating and, ultimately, we stop succeeding. In this session, we’ll look at how shelters can take big risks safely in order to reap big rewards for their organizations and the animals relying on them

Speaker(s):
Stacy Rogers

1:30 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.

Executive Leadership: 1:30 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.

Strong organizational morale. Creative thinking and problem-solving. High staff engagement and job satisfaction. Increased productivity. These are things we all want for our organizations and can easily cultivate by establishing psychologically safe work environments for our people. In this session, we’ll discuss the importance of valuing different team members’ opinions equally, thinking outside the box to overcome staff- and volunteer-related challenges, and how trust, motivation and engagement are affected negatively in unsafe work environments. You’ll get a chance to outline the steps you can take in your own shelter to build safe spaces for increased productivity, equality and diversity.

Speaker(s):
Janis Cooper

2:25 p.m. – 3:10 p.m.

Executive Leadership: 2:25 p.m. – 3:10 p.m.

While exploring and implementing new programs can be intimidating for a lot of us, the good news is that many in our field already know a lot about which programs really work and how to roll them out in a community. Whether you work for a shelter, rescue or outreach group, or a field services agency, you’ll gain relevant knowledge in this session about proven community-driven programs and approaches, including intake-to-placement, intake diversion, finder-to-foster and ways to keep pets with their families. We’ll discuss the roles that different individuals and groups play in these programs and how different types of services and resources contribute to their impact. 

Speaker(s):
Faith Wright, Mike Wheeler, Crystal Reyes

3:20 p.m. – 4:05 p.m.

Executive Leadership: 3:20 p.m. – 4:05 p.m.

Working in animal welfare is rewarding, but it can also be emotionally taxing, filled with endless highs and lows. Most of us are pretty good at learning the practical and professional skills needed to work in this field and deal with its challenges. Many of us, however, continue to struggle with incorporating those harder-to-define but equally important skills that help us acknowledge and work through our emotions in healthy ways. This session will highlight the concept of courageous conversations with the goal of providing animal welfare staff and volunteers with the tools they need to navigate an emotionally complex working environment.

Speaker(s):
Laura Maloney

4:15 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Executive Leadership: 4:15 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Managing a board can be difficult. Those of us who’ve done it have stories of struggle and triumph to share. This deep-dive session offers expert insight into board development, management and engagement. Learn the essential do’s and don’ts, how to cultivate strong relationships that lead to collaboration, and how to turn things around when they’re not going the right way. You’ll leave with your own board-oriented playbook and a better outlook on how to tackle one of the most challenging aspects of animal welfare leadership.

Speaker(s):
Makena Yarbrough

High-Impact Community Engagement

As animal welfare professionals, we’re always striving to understand more about the animals we save, their unique needs and how best to help them thrive. To do that, we need to understand just as much about the communities in which we work, the resources they need, and how best to support the people and pets in them. From volunteer engagement strategies and effective advocacy techniques to educational programs and affordable veterinary services, you’ll learn how to help more animals and increase your daily impact in the context of your community. This Deep-Dive Day is designed for animal welfare staff and volunteers interested in developing and sustaining their organizations’ relationships with their communities.

9:00 a.m. – 9:10 a.m.

Welcome

9:10 a.m. – 9:55 a.m.

High-Impact Community Engagement: 9:10 a.m. – 9:55 a.m.

Volunteer programs are an essential part of our lifesaving work, but we often think of them as a standalone program rather than an integrated part of a larger whole. In this session, we’ll walk through how to transform your volunteer engagement into a mission-centric strategy. Learn how to incorporate volunteer engagement into your strategic plan, assess volunteer needs based on organizational goals and develop new roles for volunteers to help achieve them. Participants will leave with sample engagement plans, a formal needs-assessment process and a template for creating new volunteer roles.

Speaker(s):
Pat Guerrero

10:05 a.m. – 10:50 a.m.

High-Impact Community Engagement: 10:05 a.m. – 10:50 a.m.

In what ways do the animal welfare field and human services sector share a similar vision for the future? In what ways might they serve as resources for one another and partner to create and sustain positive change? In this session, we’ll use these questions to guide us through a discussion about how we could apply a more holistic approach to supporting both people and pets in our communities. We’ll highlight the unique partnership between Dorcas Ministries and several regional animal welfare organizations in North Carolina and work together to generate a blueprint for future strategic partnerships among animal welfare and human services organizations.

Speaker(s):
Jill Straight, Patti Clayton

11:00 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.

High-Impact Community Engagement: 11:00 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.

Creating impactful services and programs for the people and pets in our communities can be remarkably easy to do when we start with what we know and build from there. And to guide our work, we need comprehensive data. This session will illustrate how Neighborhood Pets serves the needs of people and pets in Cleveland, Ohio, by using a wide range of data sources, identifying existing resources and programs, and then developing an outreach model to fill the gaps. From examining poverty statistics and shelter intake data to partnering with social service agencies and community development groups, you’ll learn how to design and implement your own community-based pet retention program.  

Speaker(s):
Becca Britton

11:55 a.m. – 12:40 p.m.

High-Impact Community Engagement: 11:55 a.m. – 12:40 p.m.

Recent surveys suggest that most people consider themselves spiritual to some extent and engage in some sort of spiritual practice at least once a week, whether it’s prayer, yoga, meditation, spiritual reading or connection to nature. So, how might that help efforts to foster better mental, emotional and physical health for people who work with animals? Learn how research on mindfulness and related practices can inform and elevate the work of animal advocates, veterinary teams and other animal welfare professionals, as well as the animals themselves.

Speaker(s):
Sarah Bowen

1:30 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.

High-Impact Community Engagement: 1:30 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.

Human Animal Support Services (HASS) and community-supported sheltering are not independent approaches to animal sheltering, but rather parts of a lifesaving continuum rooted in the idea that pets are an important part of people’s lives and deserve the chance to thrive in our communities. In this session, we’ll explore how pet lifesaving fits into community-centered care, consider the human rights issues faced by animal shelters, and examine the ways in which the sheltering industry needs to adapt in order to meet the needs of people as part of efforts to save pets. 

Speaker(s):
Ellen Jefferson

2:25 p.m. – 3:10 p.m.

High-Impact Community Engagement: 2:25 p.m. – 3:10 p.m.

Recent research shows that hope is one of the single best predictors of well-being across the life span. Hope is not just wishful thinking. It’s about setting goals and focusing on the mental pathways to achieving those goals. Hope is also one of our most powerful tools for understanding and addressing trauma in order to heal and grow. In this session, we’ll be focusing on the needs and experiences of the human component of animal welfare. We’ll touch on the role of trauma in our lives, the impact it has on us and why it’s not something that can be ignored. We’ll then dig into the role that hope plays in helping us to move forward and empowering us to support and motivate the people around us.

Speaker(s):
Janel Griffieth

3:20 p.m. – 4:05 p.m.

High-Impact Community Engagement: 3:20 p.m. – 4:05 p.m.

Creating safety nets for essential services in our communities is how we ensure the health and well-being of both pets and people. Since February 2019, the Humane Society of Sonoma County has been operating a low-cost community veterinary clinic that focuses on filling the need for urgent and chronic medical care, critical surgery and dentistry for pets. In this deep-dive session, the presenters will discuss Humane Society of Sonoma County’s approach to these types of services and make the case for why more humane societies can solve longstanding pet health and shelter intake problems by offering them. The session will also cover various protocols, how to negotiate meeting service needs despite staff and budget limitations, and how to pilot similar programs with the goal of implementing them on a larger scale. 

Speaker(s):
Ada Norris, Melina Stambolis, Lindsay McCall

4:15 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

High-Impact Community Engagement: 4:15 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

“My Pit Bull is Family” is more than words on a bumper sticker. As a nonprofit organization, My Pit Bull is Family manages the nation’s largest database of dog-inclusive rentals along with a robust database of community partners designed to help people and pets in need and keep them together. And we want to empower more people like you to do the same thing where you live. In this deep-dive session focused on building community relationships and keeping families together, you’ll learn how to complete a rental research project with us and use our rental research dashboard and database to support local families and create lasting change.

Speaker(s):
Shannon Glenn, Tiffany Wu

Sustainable Fundraising

It’s a simple question that affects everything you do: Can your organization raise more money and sustain that growth over time, even in challenging circumstances? Development experts at Best Friends have learned a lot about the most effective individual, corporate and foundation fundraising channels, especially during these last two volatile years. From cultivating partnerships to elevating digital fundraising, you’ll learn how to maximize revenue streams with minimal stress. This Deep-Dive Day is designed for staff or volunteer leaders at organizations with established fundraising job roles who already know the basics and want to take their fundraising to the next level.

9:10 a.m. – 9:15 a.m.

Welcome

9:15 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.

Sustainable Fundraising: 9:15 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.

How has the COVID-19 pandemic changed the state of philanthropy in the United States? Short answer: dramatically. Take a funding-focused ride with us in this deep-dive session as we chart the course of fundraising in our field over the last couple of years and into the foreseeable future. We’ll discuss big-picture perspectives offered by major donors, funders and national consultants and share what we’ve learned from the fundraising experiences of Best Friends and our thousands of network partners. You’ll learn where to focus your energy and resources to ensure that you’re investing in the most productive fundraising channels for lifesaving and how to continue generating the revenue you need in a sustainable way.

Speaker(s):
Sue Citro

10:25 a.m. – 12:40 p.m.

Sustainable Fundraising: 10:25 a.m. – 12:40 p.m.

In the face of the ongoing pandemic over the last two years, donors and supporters have rallied around the causes closest to their hearts. So, what have we learned during this time and how can we use the giving activity and trends of recent years to sustain and further grow our revenue? In this deep-dive session, we’ll explore proven tactics for inviting donors to engage more deeply and increase their giving. We’ll talk about identifying untapped opportunities and harnessing the power of social proof, match challenges and impact sharing. You’ll learn how to plan true multi-channel campaigns that inspire higher levels of giving and more.

Speaker(s):
Barbara Camick, Kate Moore

12:40 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Lunch on your own

1:30 p.m. – 3:05 p.m.

Sustainable Fundraising: 1:30 p.m. – 3:05 p.m.

Effectively using all of your internal resources to maximize your fundraising potential is important for any size or type of nonprofit organization. Whether you have a large development team or one person managing it all, there’s an infinite number of ways to get creative and collaborative with engaging donors and increasing your gifts. In this deep-dive session, we’ll talk about playing to different team members’ strengths, fostering organizational awareness of development needs and activities, focusing your time and energy effectively, and exploring different types of giving, including non-cash assets, planned gifts and capital gifts.

Speaker(s):
Beth Wolfer, Elizabeth Jensen, Susan Schroeter

3:15 p.m. – 4:50 p.m.

Sustainable Fundraising: 3:15 p.m. – 4:50 p.m.

“Diversify your revenue streams” is common advice in the nonprofit sector, but what exactly does it mean? Most development teams are familiar with different types of individual giving and family foundation grants. So, how do we diversify beyond those? In this deep-dive session, foundation and corporate giving experts will discuss complex funding streams like community foundations, donor-advised funds (DAF) and corporate partnerships. Learn when and how to engage with these different funding sources to maximize your revenue, whether you’re doing long-term, proactive planning or raising funds in response to a crisis.

Speaker(s):
Brittany Fondren, Gina Barker, Candi Maciel, Jennifer Gerdon

4:50 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Wrap up