Every person that is involved in non-profit work knows one thing… There are never enough people willing to help push your organization further, and accomplish your mission.
My plan when I arrived in Australia was to get involved with rescues, sanctuaries, or other nonprofits I cared about. The plan is to learn from them and use this information to push pet homelessness further to extinction. Being in a new place I was forced to see things from “the other side.” I am now an outsider in a world I know so much about, so much that I dedicate my life to it.
I have already learned a very important lesson from simply attempting what I came here to do…
I started off by following some Australian Animal Rescue Facebook groups. There I posted what I am doing and the three things I am looking for.
- Someone willing to talk with me about the animal related issues in their community.
- An organization needing or wanting volunteer help.
- A paying job in the field. (I have a year long working holiday visa)
The number of responses I received… ZERO.
Unless zero animals are in need of being saved, you need more help in my opinion, but everyone simply skipped over my post and not a single person directed me to an organization or gave me any piece of information.
Plan B… Google search. It is the most common way to obtain information you’re searching for. I spent hours clicking on websites that led to one unhelpful page after another.
I finally came up with a whopping list of TWO nonprofits that looked like they may be interested in having volunteers… Yes, TWO.
This isn’t some weird Australian quality, in fact it’s something that I have heard of and seen before. I remember quite vividly hearing a story from an amazing fundraising coach I have used before. I heard her speak at the National Best Friends Animal Sanctuary’s Conference telling a story about how she got in contact with her local animal shelter to offer free fundraising services! If you know Sandy Rees, you’d know that to pass up that opportunity would be INSANE! If Sandy wrote me offering fundraising help as a volunteer, I would fly her to where I was and put her on a throne. Well guess what, the shelter didn’t take advantage of the opportunity. She tried on more than one occasion and never heard from them!
The point is you never know who may be willing to help further your mission. Let’s be honest here, we need all the help we can get! This prompted me to take a look at my own website and see if we even got this one right! I wasn’t too disappointed to find that we have a big “How To Help” tab and the first thing listed is Volunteering. There we have a description and volunteer application. However, the current volunteer opportunities were outdated by months. I already have someone working on updating them ;).
If you are part of an organization, strive to make it easy for people to join you. If I didn’t fly to the other side of the world to learn and get involved I would’ve given up on finding an organization to volunteer for a long time ago. Don’t let your organization miss out on inviting awesome volunteers to help push your organization forward. Make it easy and clear how they can get involved, the types of things you need help with and what steps they should take to start volunteering for you.
If you’re reading this as an animal lover, know you always have a place with us!