The world of volunteering in animal rescue is large, and there is always help needed at a shelter; where do you start? Getting started can be intimidating for some, as it was for me, a 22-year-old college student who had never been involved in animal rescue before. I wasn’t sure where to start, who to ask, and where to go! I will explain how I got involved in volunteering and how you can get started as well.
The first step is to find a rescue in your area where you feel you align with their values and their overall atmosphere. A great website to utilize is https://www.adoptapet.com/animal-shelters – enter your location, how far away you are willing to travel, and what type of animals you would like to volunteer with. It will then give you a list of rescues in your area. Then, I would recommend looking into a few different rescues and find out if they have social media platforms. You will want to research each of these animal rescues, as some organizations are solely foster-based and will not have any shelter needs.
Most rescue organizations will have a website where you can find adoptable pets, ways to donate, and volunteer opportunities. Most of the time, you will sign up for an orientation to get started. With COVID, things have changed a lot in rescues, and they are doing forms of online training, one-on-one training, or other methods. Programs will vary based on the organization you choose, so you will have to check in with their volunteering team to move forward.
The Nevada Humane Society has a very user-friendly portal that you will use to sign up to volunteer once you have gone through orientation. You can find all of the volunteer activities in one spot and sign up for a time slot that works best for you. Fun fact: If the rescue you are volunteering for is a 501(C) not-for-profit organization, they will receive grant money based on the number of volunteer hours they receive on an annual basis. Your time volunteered can also equate to more money for the shelters – it’s a double win!
There are so many amazing animal rescues out there, and I am definitely not an expert at all of them. But, I do have methods which may help you look for the best organization which fits your values and skills. Some people will only work with no-kill shelters and some people will volunteer with any organization that needs their help. If you are not sure where to start, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I would be more than happy to help guide you in the right direction. If you are a current volunteer, drop a comment down below and let me know which organization you volunteer with!