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).
- The Humane Society of the United States article, "A Home Before Home"
- Million Cat Challenge Webinar, "How a Telephone Can Keep Cats in Their Homes and Out of Your Shelter"
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.
- Million Cat Challenge Webinar, "One Shelter's Journey to Save More Feline Lives"
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.
- Maddie's Fund Webcast, "Turning Your 'Surrender-ers' into Foster Homes"
- Maddie's Fund Maddie Talk Video, "Engaging Community Members"
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.
- Maddie's Fund Webcast, "Integrating Volunteers into Your Animal Shelter Programs and Culture"
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.
- Chew On This blog post, "Use Social Media to get More Foster Homes for Big Dogs"
- Chew On This blog post, "Engaging Teens to Help Expand Your Current Foster Program"
- Maddie's Fund Webcast, "Innovative Fostering: Saving More Dogs with Behavioral Challenges"
- Maddie's Fund Webcast Series, "Go All-in for Pet Foster Care"
Innovative Marketing and PR
Finding or utilizing new and different ways to market or advertise your organization, animals or events.
- American Pets Alive! 2015 No-Kill Conference Recording, "Cat Marketing"
- Maddie's Fund Maddie Talk Video, "Photos of Shelter Pets are Their Voices"
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.
- Chew On This blog post, "How Cleveland's Informal Coalition is Saving Animals' Lives"
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.
- Dogs Playing for Life website
- Chew On This blog post, "Embracing Kennel Enrichment at Your Shelter Can Save Lives"
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.
- Maddie's Fund Webcast, "Outpatient Parvo Treatment for Dogs"
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.
- Maddie's Fund Article, "Using Data to Make Austin a No Kill City"
- American Pets Alive! 2016 Conference Recording, "Data: Why it is Critical to Success and How to Keep Up With it – Part 1"
- Chew on This blog post, "Increase Pet Foster Placement by 50 Percent in Six Months?Yes, You Can!"
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.
- Chew On This blog post, "Recruiting and Training Volunteers to Rescue Cats From a Shelter's Euthanasia List"
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.
- Million Cat Challenge Webinar, "Starting and Running a Shelter Intervention Program"
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:
- ASPCA's Adoption Ambassadors Program
- ASPCA article and video about Open Adoptions
- The Humane Society of the United States' Adopters Welcome Program
- Maddie's Fund Maddie Talk Video, "Reducing Cat Adoption Fees Can Save Lives AND Expenses"
Return to Field
Programs designed to return healthy feral/community cats back to their colonies/homes, including:
- Shelter-Neuter-Return (SNR) – healthy feral/community cats that have entered the shelter can be spayed/neutered, vaccinated and returned to their location of origin (colony). See the Million Cat Challenge website for more details.
- Targeted TNR – Trap-Neuter-Return program focused on a very specific location (colony, neighborhood, ZIP code).
- Maddie's Fund Webcast, "Return to Field: Animal Shelters and a New Approach to Healthy, Unowned Cats"
- Maddie's Fund Webcast, "Shelter Crowd Control – Keeping Community Cats Out of Shelters"
(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.
- 2015 Best Friends National Conference recording, "Fundraising's Hidden Power: Making Every Donor Count"
- American Pets Alive! 2015 No-Kill Conference recording, "Fundraising 1: Grass Roots Fundraising"
- American Pets Alive! 2015 No-Kill Conference recording, "Fundraising 2: From Grass Roots to a Multi-Million Dollar Organization"