Innovation Grant Categories and Definitions

Following is a complete list of the categories for Maddie's Fund® Innovation Grants, including definitions and examples.  Please note that not all categories may be available for each Innovation Grant Cycle.

Alternatives to Intake – Providing positive options to keep pets in their homes or communities when admission to a shelter is not the best choice, or rehome the pet without it entering a shelter. Providing assistance or resources to pet owners so they can keep their pets instead of surrendering them to a shelter or rescue. Implementing a Pets for Life program or similar, in your community. See the Million Cat Challenge website for more details. *This category includes the former categories Keeping Pets in Their Homes and Community Outreach (Pets for Life).

Capacity for Care – Using the Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare, meeting the needs of each animal admitted to your organization and providing humane care, regardless of how the animal came in, whether feral or friendly, stray or owner surrendered, young or old.For more information, see the Million Cat Challenge website and this article from ASPCApro about calculating your Capacity for Care.

Engaging the Public – Reaching out, engaging and embracing your community members for marketing or education purposes or to create transparency, buy-in, support or general awareness of your organization. Increasing public participation in the support of your organization. Key members of the public may include, but should not be limited to: elected or appointed officials, law enforcement, private veterinary clinics or the general public.

Engaging Volunteers – Interacting and connecting with your existing volunteer base to improve engagement and retention. Increasing your overall number of volunteers or volunteer hours. Decreasing volunteer turnover.

Innovative Foster Care – Utilizing your organization's foster care program in a new way to advance lifesaving. Recruiting new foster families (increasing your organization's total number of foster caregivers). Supporting your foster families in an innovative and creative manner.

Innovative Marketing and PR – Finding or utilizing new and different ways to market or advertise your organization, animals or events.

Innovative Partnerships – Collaborating with private businesses, educational institutions, government agencies, law enforcement, elected or appointed officials, or other animal welfare or non-profit organizations in your community in an effort to boost adoptions, donors, volunteers, fosters or increase awareness of your organization.Partnerships may be ongoing or for a set amount of time.

Innovative Shelter Behavior – Working with animals that may need specific behavior training – either while still in your organization to help the animal become adopted more quickly, or after adoption to help the animal adjust to his/her new home. Training staff to work with animals who need additional help behaviorally.

Innovative Shelter Medicine – Implementing new medical or veterinary policies and procedures within your organization to improve animal health and well-being. Implementing best practices as defined by the Association of Shelter Veterinarians in your organization.Starting a program or purchasing medical equipment for a specific special needs group.

Innovative Technology, Data and Metrics – Utilizing new technology in your organization to help advance lifesaving.Capturing, reporting and using your animal data and statistics to advance lifesaving. See the Shelter Animals Count website for more information about data and statistics.

Innovative Training, Development and Leadership Growth – Offering new and different educational and training opportunities to staff and volunteers. Creating leaders and fostering leadership growth within your organization. *This category includes the former category Innovative, Creative and Sustainable Leadership.

Managed Admissions – Scheduling your intake of animals according to your organization's ability to assure humane care through your organization to an appropriate outcome for each animal.See the Million Cat Challenge website for more details.

Removing Barriers to Adoption (Adoption Ambassadors, Adopters Welcome, Open Adoptions, etc.) - Expanding your pool of adopters by removing barriers to adoption such as cost, process or location. See the Million Cat Challenge website for more details, or visit the following links for information about specific programs:

Return to Field – Programs designed to return healthy feral/community cats back to their colonies/homes, including:

Sustainability (Innovative Fundraising, Fund Development, Strategic Planning, etc.) – Creating and implementing plans for your organization to become/stay financially sustainable. Organizing new and innovative fundraising events. Implementing programs and systems to better connect with and track your donors. Creating or updating your organization's strategic plan.