Capacity for Care: Maximizing Lifesaving by Understanding Your Limits
Dr. Emily Purvis
How do you decide whether to say yes, no or not now when around every corner lurks another box full of little fuzz balls in need? The sheer volume of incoming animals we face at any given time can be overwhelming. So, it’s critical to learn how to evaluate your shelter’s programs with a focus on identifying bottlenecks and defining your capacity for care. In this session, Dr. Emily Purvis will talk about strategies to maximize efficiency, decrease length of stay and increase lifesaving capacity.
Caring for the Caregivers: A Comprehensive Approach to Compassion Fatigue
Dr. Linda Harper, Faith Maloney
Taking care of ourselves while taking care of animals can seem counterintuitive. And yet it’s every bit as important as the more practical aspects of our work, like promoting adoptions or providing spay/neuter services. Compassion and kindness drive everything we do, but the challenging nature of this lifesaving work can undermine our application of those guiding principles to ourselves and other humans. Burnout and compassion fatigue are serious issues with long-term consequences for us and this work we care so deeply about. In this restorative session, you’ll find tools and guidance to help you and your organization care for yourselves while caring for others.
Classic Community Cats: Comprehensive Cat Programs and Partnerships
Lisa Barrett, Desiree Triste-Aragon
When it comes to community cat programs, there are two fundamental truths: (1) trap-neuter-return (TNR) is the only proven, effective and humane way to reduce the number of cats on the streets and (2) programs are most successful when public and private organizations work together. Join Lisa Barrett and Desiree Triste-Aragon for a discussion about what makes community cat programs successful and how to customize TNR programs to support cats in your own community.
Enlightened Lifesaving: Engaging Your Whole Community in Solutions
The word “community” gets thrown around a lot in animal welfare. Community programs. Community-based. Community support. Community engagement. But how often are we truly engaging our whole communities in the lifesaving work we do? And how many more lives could we save if we made the idea of true community engagement more central to our work? Join Karen Sheppard for an enlightening discussion about how to save more homeless pets by incorporating all community members into your mission and efforts.
Diversion Programs: Innovative Approaches that Keep Animals Out of Shelters
Bethany Colonnese, Lisa Norwood
You know what’s even better than saving the lives of animals in shelters? Preventing them from entering shelters in the first place. In this session, you’ll closely examine the concept of diversion and explore the benefits of finding alternatives to pets entering shelters. The speakers will walk you through both shelter-based diversion programs and community-based ones, and help you identify ways to successfully implement diversion tactics for animals in your community.
Lifesaving En Route: Best Practices in Delivering Our Best Friends to Safety
Kimberly Elman, Linda Gage
If two vans with four volunteer drivers leave L.A. with 10 kittens and four dogs on Friday at noon, driving at an average speed of 65 miles per hour, what day will they arrive at the shelter in Portland? OK, we promise we won’t make you do the math. But getting adoptable pets from point A to point B is a huge part of the lifesaving equation. In this session, Best Friends’ Kimberly Elman and Linda Gage will share best practices for delivering adoptable pets to lifesaving organizations around the country. Come learn the ins and outs of safely moving our four-legged friends to open arms in areas that are desperate to have them.
Kitten Mania: Creative Programs for Saving More Tiny Lives
Sheila McLalin, Christi Metropole
Kittens are sweet and adorable — and arriving by the thousands at rescue organizations around the country. Finding ways to help these babies is essential to saving more lives and achieving no-kill. In this session, you’ll hear Sheila McLalin from Best Friends and Christi Metropole from Stray Cat Alliance discuss an exciting new program, operated through Best Friends’ NKLA initiative, that is saving kittens in Los Angeles. Based out of the south L.A. city shelter, this program is providing lifesaving support for newborn kittens in a creative and collaborative way. Get ready to learn about the power of community empowerment.
ESSENTIALS FOR NO-KILL COMMUNITIES
A Dog by Any Other Name: Innovative Approaches to Marketing Pets
Kristen Auerbach, Liz Finch
All dogs are individuals. That is, until you label them otherwise. This session delves into the history of breed labels and explores why they matter and what many shelters and animal advocates are doing to change the role they play in saving homeless pets. The presenters will also discuss the pitfalls of shelter software and the problem with the “pit bull” label. You’ll learn how to rethink your approach to talking about dog breeds and tackle common concerns about ditching the breed label altogether and helping dogs as individuals.
Common Ground: The Essential Roles of Collaboration and Coalition-Building
Collaboration or competition? Coalition or conflict? Can’t we all just get along, and save more lives in the process? Human history has demonstrated that we accomplish more when we work together. This session focuses on creating social change and solving problems by harnessing the power of collaboration. Using successful case studies, the presenter will offer tips and tools for starting and sustaining a true coalition, and explain how to avoid some of the risks inherent in doing so. You’ll leave feeling like a true champion of collective impact.
Please Step Away from the Cat: Knowing When and When Not to Rescue
Destiny Haney, Christie Rogero
Am I really helping this cat? Is this cat really in need, or in danger? Are we using our organizational resources effectively by bringing this cat to the shelter? Why do we have a different set of rules for dogs than we have for cats? If you’ve found yourself asking these or similar questions, this session can help you take a serious look at the complexities involved in helping cats in our communities. You’ll be presented with some key statistics and asked to critically examine personal perspectives on how we help our feline friends.
Data-Driven: Understanding the Vital Role of Data on Our Path to No-Kill
Vicki Kilmer, Shelly Thompson
This session will mark the beginning of your lifelong love affair with data. Understanding the vital roles of data and transparency is fundamental to our efforts to save homeless pets. You’ll hear about different types of data points, tracking and reporting, and the Shelter Animals Count tool. You’ll also see illustrative case studies of communities that have used data and transparency to increase lifesaving impact. Get on board the data love train!
Cultivating Culture: Laying the Groundwork for Progressive Lifesaving
Scott Giacoppo, Scott Trebatoski
You know all that annoying stuff our parents said to us when we were young? (Be patient. Do your homework. Don’t be so dramatic. Listen more. Be courteous and respectful.) Well, turns out it’s the key to cultivating a true lifesaving culture and creating change for homeless pets in our communities. From learning to focus on sustainability and celebrate small victories, to doing our research and keeping a cool head, this session will take you through effective methods for systematically changing the animal welfare culture in your community to save more lives in the long run.
Lifesaving Legislation: Advocacy Efforts Related to Cats, Pit Bull Terriers and Puppy Mills
Richard Angelo Jr., Lee Greenwood, Elizabeth Oreck
Saving more lives means focusing energy on the most vulnerable animals in our communities. That’s why Best Friends’ legislative work on behalf of homeless pets is a key component of our progress toward no-kill. In this three-part session, you’ll hear Best Friends advocacy team members discuss their work to stop puppy mills, prevent breed discrimination and support community cats. They’ll discuss federal, state and local efforts to promote animal welfare and provide you with proven strategies for helping the animals most in need in your community.
No-Kill Resolutions: Committing to No-Kill at the Local Level
Jamie Case, Ledy VanKavage
Frustrated with the status quo? Feel like achieving no-kill in your community is just a pipe dream? The presenters in this session are here to help. Pursuing a no-kill resolution at the local level can be a game changer for cats and dogs in need, but knowing where and how to begin is critical to success. Come find out how to work effectively with lawmakers and other key stakeholders in your community and ultimately pass a no-kill resolution that will pave the way for all future lifesaving progress.
Language Matters: Unpacking the Term “No-Kill”
Judah Battista, Jon Dunn
Some people are comfortable with the term “no-kill” and some aren’t. Some understand the inherent complexity of the term, but many don’t. Why has such a seemingly simple term, one so central to our mission, become so problematic? In this fishbowl-style session, we’ll unpack the meaning and usage of the term “no-kill” and examine how certain communities are embracing it and systematically changing public perception of it. If you’re ready to think critically and dig into a higher-level discussion of a concept fundamental to everything we do, then this session will be of interest to you.
Behavior Bites: Tackling Your Most Common Behavior Challenges Together
Marla Browne, Michelle Weaver
How can you coax a shy cat to come to the front of the kennel? What’s the best way to quiet down a room full of noisy dogs? What are some good tricks to teach pets to attract adopters? In this session, Best Friends’ Michelle Weaver and Marla Browne will facilitate discussion about common behavior issues that contribute to animals being surrendered and struggling to find homes. We’ll then break into smaller groups to talk about a number of common scenarios. This session uses collective expertise and problem-solving to increase your lifesaving power.
It’s Raining Community Cats: Coordinating Effective Community Cat Programs
Arlyn Bradshaw, Scott Giacoppo, Holly Sizemore, Peter Wolf
Calling all trapping ninjas, rock-star grant writers, ace advocates and community cat fanatics! This interactive session is your chance to exchange bright ideas and best practices on a range of topics related to community cats. Best Friends staff will facilitate smaller working groups around topics such as trapping, caregiving, marketing and fundraising, public policy and conflict resolution. Then we’ll reconvene as a larger group to share and discuss. You’ll walk out the door with a hefty supply of new ideas for saving nine lives, and the knowledge that you’ve contributed to this rapidly growing field of feline know-how.
Lifesaving in 20 Images: Exploring Lifesaving Impact and Innovation from Around the Country, Powered by PechaKucha
This ain’t your average conference session. PechaKucha is a presentation style in which 20 slides are shown for 20 seconds each (six minutes and 40 seconds total). This format keeps presentations concise and fast-paced, and allows for multiple speakers. In this session, Best Friends’ Marc Peralta will introduce five presenters, selected from a submission pool earlier in the summer, who will present back-to-back PechaKucha-style talks on a range of topics. Once all five presentations are complete, you’ll get a chance to break up into groups and sit down for individual discussions with your favorite presenters. Get ready to expand your mind.
Expertise Exchange: Let's Share Lifesaving Successes and Learn from Each Other
You have lifesaving expertise, and we want you to share it. People like you are the creative thinkers, problem solvers and trailblazers of the animal welfare world. Adoptions, fostering, enrichment, fundraising, marketing, volunteer engagement, coalition-building, outreach and diversion: Our collective expertise in these areas, and others, is what will save more lives and get us to no-kill by 2025. Join us for a truly interactive session in which you can share your success and hear from others. Make sure to come prepared with your best tips, tools and tantalizing ideas. And to wrap things up, we’ll unveil an exciting new tool to keep the exchange going.
A New Lifesaving Paradigm: Transitioning from Shelters to Community Resource Centers
Jon Dunn, Tawny Hammond, José Ocaño
What should the shelters of the future look like? More important, should they even be called “shelters”? As more and more communities across the 90 percent lifesaving threshold, they’ll be faced with a whole new set of challenges in order to sustain that success. Redefining the shelter model in terms of design, function and identity will be one of those challenges. Join us for a lively and interactive session as we do some brainstorming about not just what the shelters of the future could be, but what they should be.
Success, Measured: Employing Metrics and Community Data to Save More Lives
Arlyn Bradshaw, Marla Browne, Nikki Kelley
It’s time to discover your inner data nerd — because good data saves lives. From measuring your lifesaving impact to identifying the animals and neighborhoods most in need, data is critical to success. And we want you to know how to find and use it to save more lives in your community. Before the session, you’ll be asked to do a little homework. Then, armed with a list of your community’s needs and relevant statistics, you’ll join us to do some brainstorming about solutions, set some goals and identify opportunities to collaborate within your community on behalf of homeless pets.
Advanced Digital Tactics: Evaluating the Effectiveness of Your Digital Game
Even with an established, advanced digital program, there’s always more you can do. Whether you want to boost fundraising or increase engagement, there are tools and data available to help you drive that oh-so-important return on investment (ROI). In this session, Best Friends’ chief digital officer will present industry-wide benchmarks and share free tools and research to help you with your digital program. Come to the session with an idea of what you hope to improve and we’ll tackle it together.
Big-Impact Boards: Recruiting, Managing and Utilizing Effective Boards
A great board can make or break your lifesaving progress. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon to have a board full of nice people with good intentions who aren’t always productive or effective. What if you could target and recruit the exact people your organization needs, and keep them engaged once they’ve signed on? In this session, Sandy Rees will demystify the process of recruiting and managing the board of your dreams.
Keeping Up with the 90 Percent: Sustaining No-Kill Status
Judah Battista, Scott Giacoppo, Tawny Hammond, Brent Toellner
What will your organization’s role be once your community achieves no-kill? How will you sustain that progress? Whether your organization is a shelter or a rescue group, what will you need to do and think about differently? These are some of the “big picture” questions, along with many others, that no-kill leaders across the country are tackling now. This session will interest folks who’ve been involved in animal welfare for a while and are ready to dig into some of the most complex and critical questions our field is facing.
Leading the Way to No-Kill: Strategic Challenges Facing No-Kill Leaders
Bonney Brown, Rebecca Guinn, José Ocaño, Holly Sizemore
The path to no-kill is rocky yet well-traveled. In this moderated panel session, experienced leaders of the no-kill movement will answer questions and discuss some of the greatest strategic challenges they’ve faced. From creating sustainable organizations with effective team members to driving community-wide action and transformational change, the stories you’ll hear in this session will enlighten, inspire and empower you in your efforts to Save Them All.
Major Fundraising Campaigns: Scaling Campaigns for Maximum Impact
In 2010, Lynchburg Humane Society launched a capital fundraising campaign to build a new facility, something that would be critical to achieving no-kill community-wide. As a result of that campaign, the humane society replaced their 6,000-square-foot building with a state-of-the-art 25,000-square-foot facility. Makena Yarbrough, the executive director, will walk you through the successful capital campaign (their first ever) that raised $5.2 million. You’ll leave with concrete ideas on ways to get started and then engage your own community in both capital campaigns and large fundraising initiatives.
Service Enterprise: How to Powerfully and Effectively Leverage Volunteers
Pat Guerrero, José Ocaño
Organizations that are great at saving lives are also great at effectively engaging volunteers. The speakers in this session will introduce you to the Points of Light service enterprise initiative, a framework that helps transform organizations and build effective, sustainable and comprehensive volunteer engagement programs. You’ll hear all about best practices in volunteer program development and find out how these speakers took their volunteer programs to a new level using the 10 characteristics of a service enterprise.
Strategy vs. Clairvoyance: Evaluating the Impact of Strategic Programming
Saving more lives and achieving no-kill requires strategic thinking and planning. But how do you sift through the sea of information available to you in order to find and use the stuff that matters? In this session, Marc Peralta, executive director for Best Friends in Los Angeles, will talk about the gap analysis process that informs Best Friends’ work in L.A. You’ll learn how to find useful statistics and resources, identify gaps in lifesaving and develop a strategic plan for your community.
BEST PRACTICES IN ANIMAL CARE
Cat Pawsitive: Behavioral and Environmental Enrichment for Adoptable Cats
We love cats with “mojo.” And so do adopters. But the sudden transitions that cats experience while moving through shelters, rescue groups and foster homes can cause considerable stress and shake their confidence. The Cat Pawsitive program has proven wildly successful in addressing that stress and helping cats to reclaim, and maintain, their feline mojo. With minimal resources, the program employs clicker training to provide environmental enrichment and increase adoptable cats’ well-being, all while empowering staff and volunteers. Join the legendary Jackson Galaxy for a fun, fabulous session and find out how you can do the same.
Fostering Behavior: Innovative Foster Programs for Animals with Behavior Challenges
We finally have data to confirm what many of us have known for some time: Behaviors displayed by animals in shelter environments (cowering, growling, resource guarding, etc.) are not necessarily the same behaviors they’ll display in their homes. So, it’s critical to find ways to ensure that the behaviors shown in the shelter don’t prevent a cat or dog from being adopted. In this session, you’ll hear about innovative foster programs for adult animals designed specifically to change undesirable behaviors and increase lifesaving. From overnight outings to foster-to-adopt options, fostering is becoming the gateway to sending more pets home.
Just Shy: Understanding and Working with Fearful and Shy Dogs
There’s nothing quite as heartbreaking as a dog getting overlooked repeatedly by adopters because he’s too scared or shy to interact with them, or you. This session highlights several case studies of Best Friends dogs and demonstrates how caregivers helped them build confidence and progress toward behavioral goals. You’ll learn how to use operant and classical conditioning to elicit positive emotional responses in dogs and you’ll receive practical tips for helping the dogs (and cats) in your care.
Litter Box Lowdown: Addressing Non-medical Litter Box Issues
If you want to set cats up for success in their new homes and prevent relinquishment to shelters, look no further than the litter box. This seemingly simple box can be the key to maintaining harmony in the household, and is quite often a major source of misunderstanding between cats and their people. This session will help you better educate families with cats on how to prevent and address litter box issues, as well as advise new adopters about ideal litter-box setup. We’ll delve into everything from understanding the cat’s point of view to addressing marking behaviors in multiple-cat households.
The Power of Play: Using Play Groups to Understand and Support the Dogs in Your Care
Ed Jamison, Krystal McGough
Think you don’t have the money or resources to provide enrichment for the dogs in your care? Neither did these presenters. Despite limited resources, their organizations — an animal control division and a humane society — decided to get creative to support and save more dogs. After receiving specialized training for their staff and volunteers, these organizations now run lifesaving play groups that help them better assess dogs, decrease length of stay and increase quality of life at the shelter. In this session, you’ll hear all about how they do it and how you can do it, too.
Soothing the Bouncy Beast: Managing Mouthy, Jumpy Dogs
We’ve all seen them: those bouncing bundles of canine energy who are all mouth and no impulse control. They’re often the most challenging dogs to handle, and you’re hesitant to send them home with just any adopter. In this session, the presenter will take you through Best Friends’ full repertoire of tips and strategies for helping mouthy, jumpy dogs succeed in the shelter environment while they wait for the homes of their dreams. We’ll also discuss these dogs as individuals and explore why they struggle with these behaviors.
More Purrs, Less Stress: Effective Stress-Reduction Techniques for Cats
Dr. Sara Bennett
We talk about stress in relation to animals quite a bit. But how much do we really understand when it comes to stress and its impact on the well-being of pets? In this session, we’ll examine the effects of stress on cats, including how it affects immunity and susceptibility to disease. We’ll also dig into how to recognize body language and physical indicators of stress along with enrichment strategies for creating a stress-reducing environment. You’ll leave armed with ways to help you monitor and diminish stress for cats in both shelter and home environments.
SHOW ME THE MONEY
Digital Dollars and Sense: Digital Fundraising 101
Kate Moore, Amy Starnes
Having a digital fundraising program is essential to your organization’s success, whatever its size and budget. This session will feature tools and strategies for raising money through email, web and social media; examples of successful digital stewardship; and guidelines for creating program benchmarks. Whether you’re building your program from scratch or looking to take it to the next level, this session has something for you.
Speaking 'Donor': How to Attract and Keep Big Donors
Major gifts. That phrase has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? Last year, Americans gave more than $370 billion in charitable gifts, and a sizable portion was in the form of major gifts. In this session, you’ll learn how to create and execute a relevant major gifts strategy to help your organization woo and keep big donors. You’ll get tips and tools for identifying and cultivating major donors, and guidelines for crafting customized donor engagement plans. Big gifts do big things for the animals you’re trying to help. Hop aboard the major gifts train.
Purposeful Fundraising: Getting Proactive with Your Fundraising Plan
Believe it or not, fundraising on behalf of homeless pets doesn’t have to feel like you’re always asking for urgent help or selling something. And the difference can be as simple as putting something in writing. That’s right, we’re talking about planning. A written plan shifts you from being reactive (dealing with the crisis of the day) to being proactive, and working purposefully toward your desired result. In this session, you’ll learn seven steps for tackling your fundraising plan. Goal setting, action plans, helpful worksheets and checklists — you’ll get it all here.
What a Partner Wants: What Funders Are Looking for in a Partnership
Kelly Clardy, Sue Cosby, Stephanie Macgill
Meaningful partnerships can be transformative for an organization and its ability to save animals. And that includes partnerships with funders. Ever wonder who’s reading your grant applications and what they want to see? Know what it takes to create an authentic partnership with a funder? In this interactive workshop, you’ll hear from some of the nation’s leading animal welfare funders about the realities of being a decision maker, what your proposal is really up against and how to deliver a winning application.
Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way: Unleashing the Power of Planned Giving
Many nonprofits underestimate how much loyal donors want to give to causes close to their hearts after their lifetime, as well as during it. Enter planned giving. But where do you start with building a planned giving program and how do you convince your organization to devote time and resources to it? In this session, Best Friends’ director of planned giving will discuss how planned gifts through a will, trust or other financial plans can mean big things for your organization’s fundraising potential.
Writing with Appeal: How to Write an Effective Fundraising Appeal Both Online and Off-line
A good one brings in more money than a bad one. And writing a great fundraising appeal, whether for postal mail or email, is both a science and an art. In this session, you’ll learn a basic formula and some simple tips for creating a strong appeal. But even more important, you’ll learn how to open yourself up at the keyboard, choose which story to tell, find the right internal narrator and build a relationship with a reader you can’t see. So come to this session with an open mind and a smile. Because if writing fundraising appeals isn’t any fun, then you’re not doing it right.
Your Wish Is Granted: How to Find and Manage Grant Funds
Kelly Cramer, Stephanie Macgill
For many of us, grants can feel like a black box. Should you be applying for grants? If so, which ones? What should you include in your grant proposal? How do you build better relationships with the funders offering them? In this session, members of the Best Friends foundations team will demystify the grant process and give you tips and tools for securing grant money for your organization. Whether you’re just now deciding to add grants to your revenue stream or looking to improve upon your current grant game, we’ve got you covered.
MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS UNLEASHED
Crisis Managed: Managing the Occasional Public Relations Crisis
The lifesaving work we all do can be challenging and complex. As a result, our relationship with the public and the media can be, too. In our roles as animal welfare advocates, we work very hard to engage our communities in efforts to save and support homeless pets. But what happens when something goes wrong and that engagement turns into fingers pointing at us? Whether you’re with a large or small animal welfare organization, you’ll benefit from learning how a solid crisis communications plan can keep you and your staff moving forward productively in the face of any potential media relations challenge or disaster.
Digital Marketing 101: Digital Marketing Strategies, Big and Small
Kate Moore, Amy Starnes
Yes, we are officially living in the digital age. And if you don’t already have a digital marketing strategy, now’s the time to get one. In this session, two Best Friends digital team members will highlight 10 ways to develop your digital marketing game from scratch, and tell you how to take your current one to the next level. You’ll learn how to use social media, email, video, blogging, ads and more to engage supporters, generate revenue and promote adoptions. Real-world examples of successful digital engagement will be presented.
Organizational Character: Understanding and Developing Your Brand
Julie Castle, Kari Hartkorn
What makes a brand successful, transformative, iconic? And why should you care? As tough as it might be to accept, your brand matters, even in animal welfare (perhaps especially in animal welfare). While we’re all in this to help homeless pets, communicating your brand effectively to people is a fundamental part of this work. Join Best Friends’ Julie Castle and Kari Hartkorn for an in-depth discussion on why your brand experience matters so much and how to shape it into a lifesaving, fundraising powerhouse.
Grassroots Marketing: Getting that 'Big Group' Look for a Lot Less Money
Erin Miner, Becca Morris
Think your organization is too small or too strapped for resources to execute special events and promotions? Think again. Even small groups with limited budgets can pull off that “big group” marketing feel and help more animals in the process. The speakers in this session will show you how to transform an initial idea into marketing success and how to use Best Friends’ free customizable resources as a starting point. You’ll learn how to tailor your promotional plan to your needs — whether your goal is to increase senior pet adoptions or survive kitten season — and manage any bumps in the road along the way.
Powerful Imagery: Getting Great Photos with a Smartphone Budget
An image doesn’t just affect how someone sees a particular animal; it affects how someone sees your organization. Imagery helps to shape your brand, which means that being thoughtful about the photos and videos you produce is essential to lifesaving success. And any organization, regardless of size or budget, is capable of producing high-quality imagery. Join Best Friends’ senior manager of imagery for a discussion on how to get great photos, even on a small budget, and which kinds of photos will best serve your organization and the animals in your care.
Social Savvy: Crafting Your Social Media Voice and Budget
Facebook. Instagram. Twitter. What social media channels are you on, and where should you be? Join Melissa Miller, Best Friends’ manager of social communities and content, for a deep dive into the perpetually shifting social media waters. From building your voice to growing your audience on a budget, this session will put your social media strategy on solid ground and teach you how to measure your program’s success.
Making the News: Harnessing the Power of Traditional Media in a Digital Media World
Do television, print and radio still matter? Yes, they most certainly do. We may be living in a digital world, but traditional media still plays a vital role in communicating your message and getting the public’s attention. This workshop will provide the nuts and bolts of working with traditional media and offer participants a chance to examine critically some actual press releases. You’ll explore what reporters are looking for, how to craft an effective message and how you can use traditional media to increase your social media footprint.