How can you be part of the virtual Best Friends National Conference this June?


As anyone who’s attended a Best Friends National Conference can attest, it’s an exciting event. There are more than a thousand participants from the animal welfare world — ranging from volunteers to high-level staff — all with the same goals in mind: learn the newest, most innovative ways to save the lives of homeless pets and forge connections with like-minded people who will help to make the entire country no-kill.

Personally, it’s one of my favorite times of the year. I love meeting with passionate advocates and doing things like having lunch with and listening to the stories of volunteers, who are the backbone of our movement. I love the energy of people cheering for the milestones achieved by shelters and rescue groups as we pass out lifesaving awards. I love the questions from people new to animal welfare who want to make a big impact in their communities, as well as those from shelter officials looking to save more lives.

From our humble beginnings in Virginia in 1991, when we had a little over 300 participants, to the 1,800 people who attended the 2019 event in Dallas, the Best Friends National Conference has always been a conduit for great ideas from amazing people to be shared with the largest possible audience.

While COVID-19 has taken away the ability to meet in person, the pandemic has done something we didn’t expect. We now have the opportunity to invite people from all over the country to participate in a conference that maybe they couldn’t attend before because of travel time and cost restraints.

That’s why we’re thrilled to announce that the Best Friends National Conference has gone virtual for 2021, taking place online on June 23 and 24.

Since the sky is the limit for speakers, we’re looking for superstars from both inside and outside the industry to share their expertise on topics ranging from communications to operations to fundraising and coalition-building.

Why would we want people from outside the animal welfare space? Well, a good idea from your field could potentially create a groundbreaking new way to help save animals in ours. For example, if you are an architect who has a vision of the shelter of the future, we want to hear from you. Or if you’re in development and have had solid success with recruiting corporate sponsors, we want to hear from you.

Of course, we’re also looking for experts in animal welfare to speak about subjects such as animal care, community cats, dog play groups and shelter medicine.

If this sounds like you, please submit your speaker proposal by February 3. Or if you’re interested in attending, sponsoring or exhibiting, sign up here for the latest updates and make sure to visit our conference website.

Excited yet? I am. Hope to “see” you at the Best Friends National Conference this summer!

Julie Castle


Best Friends Animal Society