1. Boosts adoptions. Staff in adoption guarantee (no-kill) shelters hear it every day. "I came to your facility to adopt because you don't kill animals here." Just as a growing number of people buy only organic produce or cage free chicken, there is a growing segment of society that wants to express deeply held values and beliefs by focusing the search for a companion animal on adoption guarantee shelters only. Other people go only to adoption guarantee shelters because traditional shelters make them feel guilty and depressed. "It really troubles me to see all of those sad eyes and know that if I don't adop, the animal will probably die."
2. Attracts and retains more volunteers. In an impersonal world where people feel more and more isolated, there is a greater longing for connection. The love given to volunteers by shelter cats and dogs can provide that connection. But it's a devastating blow to fall in love with an animal only to find out he didn't make it to a loving home. Severing attachments is never easy and to voluntarily go through it over and over is not something most people are willing to do. adoption guarantee shelters are able to attract and retain a high volume of volunteers because people know that the animals they fall in love with will be adopted and cherished for life.
3. Improves staff morale. Imagine a working environment in which 50% of those around you die every day. In wartime, that may be inevitable. But an animal shelter isn't a war zone and animals aren't dying for a noble or just cause. Killing healthy and treatable animals is debilitating and demoralizing for the people who have to do it. The real irony is that people chose to work at shelters because they love animals and want to help them. To then have to kill them is devastating. Killing creates stressed out employees and high turnover among the rest of the staff as well.
4. Generates greater community support. Just as our society is no longer willing to abide by racial discrimination and gender inequality, we're also becoming far less tolerant of the mass killing of our best friends and family members. In many communities, there is a very real bias in support of life-saving programs and policies. This translates into greater political, corporate, philanthropic, business and volunteer support of no-kill programs.
5. Creates better alignment with charitable mission. In general, animal welfare organizations want to improve the health and well-being of companion animals. Articles are written on pet safety (keep the cat indoors), pet health (vaccinations and spay/neuter) and pet identification. Pet legislation is advocated, animal cruelty prosecuted. Efforts are made to save lives. But when humane societies and SPCA's kill healthy and treatable animals, there's a troubling disconnect between what the organizations want to do and what they actually do in practice. By saving all of the healthy and treatable cats and dogs, adoption guarantee shelters are able to fulfill their lifesaving mission. The next step is to reach out beyond their own facilities to help other community shelters save lives to create a no-kill community.
6. Enhances image. Remember the commercial that said, "Image is everything"? In the not-for-profit sector, there is a lot of truth to the statement. A positive image helps attract donations, volunteers and community support. A good image is not just built on the accomplishment of good works but on how well the accomplishment lines up with the charitable mission. Once again, by saving all of their healthy and treatable cats and dogs, adoption guarantee shelters are able to demonstrate to their communities that they are achieving their lifesaving mission and goals which then enhances the organization's reputation of worthiness and success.
7. Sharpens and increases management skills. When killing is not an option, creative solutions simply must be found to find a home for a 14-year-old canine or a shy kitty that hides when adopters come to see her. Solving these problems builds staff communication, camaraderie and cohesiveness since everyone from the executive director to shelter operations manager, the kennel attendant to the dog trainers must work together to find a way to get the animal a loving home.
8. Generates more funding. People who love animals want to donate their money to agencies that save animals. Those who can clearly articulate their mission, demonstrate they're saving lives, and effectively tell their story to the entire community will find a reservoir of caring individuals willing to commit financial resources to help.
9. More income = more organizational options. As donations increase, shelters have more options. They can add groomers and behaviorists to boost adoptions. They can add spay/neuter, adoption or public awareness outreach. The list goes on and on. And as more programs and services are added and more lives are saved, a track record of success is proven and revenue increases even more.
10. Creates more opportunities for a Maddie's Fund grant. Maddie's Fund primarily supports adoption guarantee shelters, those agencies that find homes for and provide comprehensive medial and behavioral care to all healthy and treatable animals in their care. Maddie's Fund grants are designed to help adoption guarantee organizations create a delivery system of programs and services that will eliminate the deaths of healthy and treatable cats and dogs community-wide, within ten years.
Click here to explore some of the communities in which Maddie's Fund is providing financial support to rescue groups working with local animal control shelters, traditional shelters, and private practice veterinarians to end the killing of healthy and treatable shelter dogs and cats.